Operating an Unlicensed Marihuana Facility Now a Crime in Michigan

Operating an Unlicensed Marihuana Facility Now a Crime in Michigan

Effective January 1, 2019, it is now a crime to operate a marihuana facility in Michigan without a license.  The new law was signed by Governor Snyder on December 28, 2019 and was part of a host of changes made to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Act (MMMLA) just prior to the Governor leaving office. The new section is found at MCL 333.27407a, and provides that, depending on the type of violation, the person who unlawfully operates a marihuana facility is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Act creates five different kinds of marihuana licenses.  The term “marihuana facility” is defined as a location at which a licensee is licensed to operate under this act. This term therefore includes a facility where marihuana is grown, processed, tested or sold (provisioned). This term could also theoretically apply to a facility used to house trucks or otherwise used to do business as a marihuana transporter.

According to this new law, it is a now a crime for a person, including a corporation, to hold itself out as a marihuana facility if the person does not hold a license to operate that marihuana facility or if the person’s license to operate that marihuana facility is suspended, revoked, lapsed, or void, or was fraudulently obtained or transferred to the person.

Prior to the creation of this new crime the only sanction applicable to a licensee who failed to comply with section 407 of the MMMLA was the imposition of a fine. Now however, a first offense violation of section 407a is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to 93 days.  A second offense is punishable by up to a year of imprisonment, and if the violation causes serious or injury or death, by imprisonment of up to four years.  Additionally, all violations are subject to fines of between $10,000.00 and $25,000.00 per violation.

As this area of law continues to advance, look for new crimes to be created.  This is especially true with the passage of the recreational marihuana law in 2018.

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