Marijuana Laws in Michigan

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Can I Be Arrested in Michigan for Marijuana Use?

Yes you can, but the punishment will probably not be very severe.  Michigan is unusual in that it makes very little distinctions between its marijuana offenses (it does not separate most of the crimes by age or weight of drug), so that the crime is solely for the act itself.

In Michigan, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor that carries a $2,000 fine and a maximum of a year in jail.  Actually smoking marijuana (a separate crime) in any location, including your house, is also a misdemeanor, but will only get you 90 days in jail and a $100 fine.  However, conditional discharge is available in all use and possession cases, which means that the judge has wide discretion to use alternative sentencing (rehab, community service, etc...) for first time offenders.  Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.

A more serious crime is smoking marijuana in a public or private park, which can even be deemed a felony at a judge's discretion, and this crime carries a 2 years sentence.  But it too is conditional, so the judge may offer you probation instead (on the first offense only).  

So Michigan Has Fairly Lax Marijuana Laws?

Concerning possession and use, yes.  But Michigan also has some of the most severe cultivation laws in the country.  Marijuana cultivation of ANY KIND is a serious felony, with the minimum punishment being 4 years in state prison and a $20,000 fine.  If the cultivation is more than 20 plants, both the sentence and the fine shoot up to 7 years in prison, and $500,000, respectively.  The final category of cultivating 200 or more marijuana plants more than doubles the time in prison (to 15 years) and assigns an astounding $10,000,000 fine.  

What About Sales or Deliveries?

Like most states, Michigan allows for delivery without remuneration (lawyerspeak for "gifts") of marijuana to be classified as simple possession (1 year sentence, $1,000 fine).  Unusually though, Michigan puts no weight restrictions on the gift, so technically "giving" someone 20 kilos of marijuana would get the same penalty as giving them a single joint (it is unlikely that a judge will agree to this, however).  

The crime of selling marijuana mirrors the cultivation 4-7-15 year punishments (and fines) exactly.  The division of the crime is done by weight, however, instead of number of plants (the three divisions being less than 5 kg, 5 - 45 kgs, and more than 45 kgs).  This means that most sales (the vast vast majority of which are under 5 kgs) will result in a felony with a 4 year minimum sentence. 

What About Medical Marijuana?

Michigan has no laws concerning medical marijuana, so there is no legal defense for knowingly selling, possessing, or cultivating marijuana plants.  Even if you have a doctor's permission from another state (where it is legal), it will not be found legal in Michigan.  Also, it is important to realize that medical marijuana is not recognized by federal law, so even if your home state allows medical marijuana, federal agents (like the DEA) can arrest you at any time and sentence you for marijuana possession under federal guidelines.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you have been arrested in Michigan for a marijuana crime, it is very important to contact a Michigan criminal law attorney immediately.  As you can see, the laws in this field range from minor hassles and community service to huge fines and years in prison.  Drugs laws are frequently changing as well, so having up to date facts and advice from a good lawyer can make all the difference.

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Last Modified: 06-30-2014 12:34 PM PDT

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