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How Not to Obtain a Commercial Medical Marijuana Permit in Michigan!

May 31st, 2017 Marijuana Laws How Not to Obtain a Commercial Medical Marijuana Permit in Michigan!

Last year Michigan passed sweeping legislation ushering in the age of commercial medical marijuana.  There are five different kinds of commercial licenses available, including those needed to commercially grow, transport and sell marijuana.  The administrative rules have yet to be written, so it’s not clear exactly how many licenses will be available.  However, entrepreneurs hoping to cash on the “gold rush” are already starting to lay the groundwork for their future business enterprises.

Once such entrepreneur was a restaurant owner who allegedly attempted to bribe Garden City workers into guaranteeing him a commercial marijuana license. Apparently, he gave an envelope filled with $15,000.00 in cash to a Garden City official.  He didn’t know at the time that he was actually handing the money over to an FBI agent.

In addition to whatever federal crimes this person may have broken, he also violated state law.  According to Michigan’s Penal Code, section 750.117, it is unlawful to give things of value to public officials, the intent or purpose of which is to influence the act, vote, opinion, decision or judgment of such public officer.  This would include a medical marijuana permit.  A violation of this law is a felony.

It is not clear exactly what the restaurant owner thought he was “buying.”  Licenses can only be obtained through LARA, and are not available through Garden City.  On the other hand, it appears he was attempting to purchase a permit, as set forth in Garden City Ordinances § 124.05.  This section covers applications for permits, and according to this section such requests “shall be made upon forms provided by the Clerk, which shall be signed and verified under oath by the applicant, if an individual, or by the authorized agent for any firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization and shall set forth the following: (Partial list).

  1. Individual or businesses name and address, along with owner/shareholder ‘s computerized criminal history (CCH) and master driving record;
  2. Also, written credentials setting forth the exact nature of his employment, including, where applicable, a copy of the employee’s medical license;
  3. The length of time for which the right to do business is sought;
  4. A history of the applicant’s ordinance and state law license and permit revocations and ordinance violations.
  5. The application shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee to be established by resolution of the City Council and made part of the Comprehensive Fee Schedule.

Interestingly, there is no mention of bribes anywhere in the ordinance.  Unless of course, the unwitting restaurant owner thought he was paying the “nonrefundable application fee.”  He was right about one thing, the $15,000.00 will be nonrefundable!  The Feds will undoubtedly be seeking forfeiture of the money paid, even if no  drug charges are ever brought!