The Ultimate Guide on How To Open A Dispensary in Michigan

Feb 10, 2021 | Cannabis Laws & News, Small Cannabis Business

With the boom in bud businesses, you’ve probably thought to yourself – I should open a recreational retail store. Leaving the thought behind with the time, effort and investment it would take. But, what if we told you – your dream could come true more easily than you may think.

While there is a process that takes some blood, sweat, and tears to complete, when you learn actually how to open your own recreational store, you might not be as hesitant. So take the time to dive deep with our ultimate guide to getting your recreational cannabis retail store, here in Michigan.

Step 1 – Confirm Your Eligibility

The first question you need to ask yourself when considering opening a recreational cannabis retail store in Michigan is, are you eligible? Currently, to become licensed for a rec retail storefront you’ll have to meet the following requirements right off the bat:

  • No felony within 10 years
  • No misdemeanors involving controlled substances within five years
  • No local ordinance violations within five years
  • Must be 21 years old
  • Any past issue with law enforcement or legal violations (except for traffic violations)

Making sure you aren’t disqualified by any of the requirements, is the first step towards your dream of opening a recreational retail store. Then, you can get into the nitty-gritty of building your business for licensing.

Step 2 – Develop Your Plan

Developing your plan is a two-fold process. You’ll want to do the research to know just how and where you can build your business, and also start putting together the building blocks for success. It can help to secure a cannabis business attorney at this stage if you can afford it, to help you through the legalities of each step of the process.

  • On average, putting an attorney on retainer will cost you anywhere from $1,000 – $20,000 which helps ensure you don’t hit any bumps in the road along the way.

In your research, seek out competitors, their successes and failures, and exactly how to structure your business to stand out from the crowd. To get licensed, you’ll need a comprehensive SOP or business plan, so learn more in-depth on how to compile one here.

Last, but not least, on this step, you will also be responsible for securing capital. For all the tips to do so successfully, here’s an in-depth guide to cannabis funding to brush up on.

In addition to retaining an Attorney, a cannabis savvy accountant can be just as helpful. Due to the federal consideration of Marijuana as a ‘Schedule 1’ drug, taxes can be tricky. Tracking all expenses professionally from the start will help set you up for success down the road.

  • Accounting or CPA services will range in cost, but tend to vary from $30 – $300/hour.

Step 3 – Secure A Location

Location, location, location. It’s a common phrase that means even more in the cannabis industry. Especially considering there are often restrictions to where a recreational cannabis retail store can be located.
In Michigan, cannabis recreational retail stores can’t be in areas zoned exclusively for residential use or within 1,000 feet of any school for grades K-12. But some local municipalities have or may reduce the distance requirement, or even impose more. In fact, some municipalities have banned recreational retail stores altogether, so thorough research will have to be done when considering renting or purchasing a storefront.

Step 4 – Get Licensed

Once you have your detailed SOP, and business plan with location secured – it’s time to get licensed. There’s a prequalification process that’s required before an actual application can be submitted, which involves:

  • Background checks of the main applicant, and supplemental applicants
  • The processing of a $6,000 non-refundable application fee
    • A 10% discount applies on the application and licensing fees for applicants who have been primary caregivers under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act between 2017-2018 for at least two years.

The fees don’t end there, as a Marihuana Retailer License in Michigan comes with a $25,000 fee once you pass prequalification. Hence, the necessity and importance of securing capital before heading into the licensing phase.
To learn more about discounts available for social equity programs, and others – learn more in our in-depth guide to licensing, here.

Step 5 – Build Your Business

After you’ve secured a license in hand – the fun really begins. Building your business to be successful for profits, and providing quality service to guests is crucial to ensuring your recreational retail store is in it for the long-haul.
From designing your interior space with the help of a professional architect, or designer, to installing high-tech security and POS systems to maintain compliance and safe business practices – you’ll have a lot to check off your list, before checking in customers.
Taking advantage of professional expertise from the beginning will help your recreational retail store differentiate itself from the competition, and ensure utmost compliance to avoid unnecessary fines and fees. In this stage of the process, keep the following average costs in mind if you employ a helpful team for a smooth grand opening:

  • Architect – $100 to $250/hourly
  • Designer – $75-$125/hourly
  • Consultant – $45 to $150/hourly

Making Your Mark in Marijuana

If you’re passionate about weed and have the drive to start your own business – it may just be time to make your mark in marijuana. Now that you have a road map to success with our guide to getting your recreational cannabis retail store – what are you waiting for? Take the first steps toward building your legacy, with your first recreational retail store.

About The Author

<a href="" target="_self">Courtney Trzos</a>

Courtney Trzos

To Courtney, it’s always 420 somewhere… After attending Michigan State University and working in communications for over 10 years, she took her passion for cannabis, professionally. In 2017, Courtney began freelancing as a writer for cannabis brands across the globe, promoting the therapeutic and recreational use of the plant, while helping her partner cultivate crops full-time, and learning more about the industry from a seed-to-sale perspective. Get in touch with her and follow her journey at