How Secure Transporters Help Michigan Cannabis Businesses Succeed

Michigan’s cannabis industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years after the legalization of cannabis for recreational adult use. Secure transporters are essential to the cannabis business infrastructure, protecting both businesses and consumers. They are responsible for safely moving cannabis products between growers, processors, storage facilities, and dispensaries. They also safeguard and transport the proceeds from cannabis-related businesses.

Why Are Secure Transporters Required?

Although cannabis is legal under state law, it remains prohibited under the federal Controlled Substances Act. A lucrative “black market” continues to operate for the sale and distribution of cannabis products, increasing the risk that transporters of cannabis products will be the victims of robberies or violent crimes.

Federal prohibition also prevents cannabis businesses from using many traditional banking services and credit cards. Thus, most cannabis sales are cash transactions. Safely transporting large amounts of cash requires significant security measures.

Michigan law requires cannabis-related businesses to use the services of a licensed, secure third-party transport service whenever cannabis products or proceeds are moved from place to place. This requirement helps protect the integrity of the cannabis products and ensure the safe transport of cash assets. The secure transporter laws help regulate who may transport cannabis products, outline standard operating procedures that everyone must follow, and require uniform documentation of the transportation process.

Who Can Become a Michigan Secure Transporter?

State licensing ensures everyone authorized to transport cannabis products and proceeds is approved by the state. Before an individual is licensed as a secure transporter, the state conducts a thorough background investigation, including examining their debts and other financial information. This verification helps prevent cannabis businesses from embezzlement and employee theft and ensures all secure transporters are qualified.

To be eligible to become a Michigan secure transporter, an individual must be a state resident and hold a Michigan-issued chauffeur’s license. They may have no ownership interest in another cannabis-related business. A secure transporter cannot be a registered medicinal marijuana patient or caregiver for a medicinal marijuana patient.

Like all other employees handling cannabis or cash from transactions, secure transporters may not have a felony conviction, a misdemeanor involving substance abuse, or have been released from incarceration in the past five years.

What Are the Procedures for Secure Transportation?

A secure transporter license holder can store and move marijuana plants and marijuana-infused products to and from various cannabis growers, processors, testing facilities, and retailers (dispensaries). They can also transport money associated with cannabis sales or purchases between these types of licensed facilities.

Michigan law outlines numerous procedures that are required when transporting cannabis-related products and cash. The rules, designed to keep the product and the individuals transporting it safe and secure, are as follows:

  • Each transport vehicle must be operated by a minimum crew of at least two people. The vehicle may never be left unattended while the transport crew has custody of a cannabis product.
  • A route plan and manifest must document every delivery and must be kept within the vehicle and available to present to law enforcement at all times. This data must also be recorded in the statewide monitoring system.
  • Cannabis must be kept in sealed containers that are not accessible while the vehicle is in motion.
  • A vehicle operating as a secure transporter may not display any visual markings or indications that it is transporting cannabis or cannabis-related proceeds.
  • A secure transporter cannot hold physical custody of cannabis or cannabis-related cash for more than 48 hours.

Security requirements vary widely between municipalities and counties, so there may be additional requirements for secure transporters in your area. As the industry evolves, state and local requirements are subject to modification. Cannabis businesses must check the codes that apply to secure transportation, implement the required standards, and stay current on any changes.

Consult a Michigan Cannabis Business Professional

All Michigan cannabis businesses, including secure transporters, must comply with state and local regulations and record-keeping requirements. Different licenses are required to transport cannabis for medical and adult recreational use. Many secure transportation service providers have both licenses, but businesses must ensure that a transporter has the correct licensure for their needs.

If you’re interested in becoming a secure transporter, confused about how to find and use a secure transportation service, or have other questions about getting your cannabis business off the ground, talk to a professional. Consulting with an experienced Michigan cannabis business attorney can help you understand the process and ensure you stay compliant.

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