In 2009, our founder, Denise Pollicella, started Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan in response to a demand for guidance in the then-nascent Michigan medical marihuana industry.

At a time when the state was still struggling with its role and the only advice was from criminal defense attorneys, CAM found its footing educating caregivers and patients on their rights and responsibilities, counseling in the pro-active and risk averse nature of business law, and helping its clients work with municipalities, lawmakers, and community leaders to affect positive change in Michigan.

A veritable roller-coaster ride of court decisions/legislation later, CAM is still working to ensure Michigan has a safe, legal, and regulated system in which local economies can thrive, communities can benefit, and above all, patients can safely access this vital medicine.

More about our founder:


  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2017 Women in the Law
  • 2019 State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section Pioneer Award
  • American Law Society American’s Top lawyers


  • Culture Magazine Legal Corner Contributor since 2013
  • Cannabis Conundrum: While Others Blow Smoke, These Experts Clear the Air. Amazon 2018, Co-Author

Memberships and Panels:

  • State Bar of Michigan, Marijuana Law Section Inaugural Member
  • State Bar of Michigan, Business Law Section
  • State Bar of Michigan, Employment Law Section
  • MiCompassion, Legal Advisory Board
  • Small Business Administration of Michigan. Marijuana Task Force 2017-2018
  • Michigan Cannabis Development Association, Founder and General Counsel, 2014-17


This is still a new industry, but our Firm has significant experience in the Michigan state and municipal marijuana licensing and permitting processes. Because the industry is still rapidly developing, it will be important to be flexible in your planning. With this in mind, It is our goal to familiarize you as much as possible with the state licensing and municipal permitting processes, as well as how our Firm fits into the picture, so that all your applications have the best chance of approval.

The State Licensing process is divided into Step 1 and Step 2, prequalification and facility licensing, respectively. Step 1 consists of a background investigation of prospective owners of the to-be licensed business, including the spouses of owners. No property, real estate, or municipal permit is required for Step 1.

While your Step 1 application(s) move through the prequalification process, we coordinate with you to find a desirable target municipality that has opted-in (via local ordinance(s)) to allow either medical or adult-use marijuana businesses, or both, and still has permits available. We then assist you in finding suitably zoned property that allows the type of marijuana business you want to apply for and work with you to obtain the municipal permit.

Step 2 in the State application process is facility licensing, and generally goes much faster at the State level. It requires a municipal permit for your marijuana business, a State inspection, and information specific to the license type sought. Step 2 approval is the issuance of your State operating license allowing you to begin operations.


  • Takes ~ 3-4 months, assuming your (investment / liquid / funding) money is all in-state, there are no more than 2 owners, and there are no major obstacles.
  • You decide on a business name and ownership structure with our Firm’s assistance
  • You gather the required application documentation and information and send it to our Firm.
  • This will consist of items such as tax documents, any professional licensures, any involvement in lawsuits, any criminal arrests/convictions, etc.
  • Our Firm prepares and assembles the State license application.
  • Our Firm files, monitors, and troubleshoots the application with the MRA, and facilitates communications between the MRA, the municipality, and you.

Once the business entity and individuals holding ≥10% ownership in the entity are prequalified, the entity and individual prequalification is valid for two (2) years.

MUNICIPAL PERMITTING (our Firm charges a separate fee for these services)

  • Takes ~ 4-6 months, and happens before the Step 2 process described below.
  • You review and approve the complete application and provide payment info for the application fee.
  • You locate property that is properly zoned for your desired license type(s) in a municipality that has opted-in (passed an ordinance) for MMFLA (medical) or MRTMA (adult-use/recreational) marijuana businesses and has available permits.
  • You let us know and send proof when you have a legal interest in the property (PA, binding LOI, land contract, lease, cash purchase – any legal interest)
  • We handle the following:

Prepare and assemble the application, the operations plan, and all exhibits to the application.

Double check and confirm the zoning and availability of permits

Create any companies as needed

Draft your lease, if applicable

  • You have your architect begin, at a minimum, a site plan and interior floor plan.

We strongly recommend that you bring your Michigan licensed architect to at least one preliminary meeting with us so that we can explain the laws, rules, and what will be required.

  • You write all checks for filings fees to the municipality and give them to us. We do not write these checks. We recommend that you pay with a check rather than a money order, so that you can prove when the check was cashed and create a paper trail.
  • We file the municipal application for you, monitor and troubleshoot it as needed, ensure that it is timely processed, confirm all dates, attend all meetings, and speak for you whenever possible. We strongly recommend that you let us deal with the municipality, which will result in a more accurate application that is processed faster.
  • The municipality schedules a plan review or a public hearing where you (applicant representative) and your architect must attend both of these. We will also attend these meetings, and usually speak and present for you with your architect.

We make any corrections or revisions required by the municipality at either of these meetings and work with the municipality on getting any conditions met or waived.

  • After the planning commission approves the application and plan review, the matter is slated on the municipality’s agenda for the next meeting. You must attend this meeting; we always attend this meeting. This is generally the conclusion or our municipal permitting services for you.
  • Upon approval, you will have between 6 and 12 months to secure a Certificate of Occupancy (“CO”) and open for business.

NOTE: Some municipalities will have “merit-based” applications, which do not follow the above procedure or timeline. They are significantly more time-consuming, document intensive, time-sensitive, and require much more input from the client. These applications are more like request for proposals, and our Firm charges a higher fee for these applications compared to non-merit-based applications. We also will accept no more than two clients per municipality for merit-based applications because of their competitive nature. Current clients have priority.


The Step 2 facility licensing merges your Step 1 Prequalification approval and your Municipal Permit.

  • Process takes ~ 4-6 months;
  • You notify us when you receive your certificate of occupancy
  • We file your Step 2 facility license application no more than 60 days prior to your proposed state licensing inspection date.
  • We coordinate the scheduling of your state building and licensing inspections.
  • You must attend the State on-site inspection. We provide your operations manual and attend the inspection with you.
  • If and when your business passes the State inspection, you will be invoiced a regulatory assessment fee, and immediately upon payment of the regulatory assessment fee invoice your license is effective and you may begin operations.


  1. Find and secure property zoned for your desired license type in a municipality that has opted-in for medical or adult-use marijuana.
  2. Get plans from your architect, while . . .
  3. We prep, assemble, and file the Municipal Permit application, and . . .
  4. We prep, assemble, and file the state license application
  5. The municipality will have at least one, possibly 2-3 meetings, and a few public hearings and you receive your Municipal Permit.
  6. You begin construction and get your certificate of occupancy
  7. The State conducts its due diligence investigation and background checks, and processes your State Step 1 application
  8. You receive a final State inspection and, if all is in order, your complete State license.