Medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008, when it was approved by a large majority of voters. As of November 6, 2018, recreational marijuana has also been legalized in Michigan, for adults who are 21 years of age or older. Over 55% of those voting approved a ballot measure called Proposal 1 to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Prior to this, Michigan law stated that possession of any amount of marijuana was a misdemeanor that carried a $2,000 fine and a maximum of a year in jail. Several cities, including Detroit, had already decriminalized marijuana possession. Marijuana use and possession remain illegal under federal law, although the federal government has not yet prosecuted states for marijuana-related activities.
The initiative also legalized the growth, distribution and sale of industrial hemp in Michigan.
What Do I Need to Know About Changes to Michigan’s Marijuana Law?
As mentioned above, since the election results in 2018, Michigan has made a substantial change to their marijuana laws. But what can you expect now that the law has changed? Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- The recreational use of marijuana is only permitted for individuals who are 21 years of age or older. Adults of this age may possess (and use) marijuana and marijuana edibles.
- The law also allows individuals to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for their personal use (not for distribution). Plants should not be visible from a public place.
- There is a 10-ounce limit on what individuals may own at one time. Anything over 2.5 ounces must be locked up.
- The law will create a system to regulate the business of growing and selling marijuana.
- Marijuana sales will be taxed at a rate of 10%, proceeds of which will go to schools, road and bridge maintenance and local governments where the businesses are located.
- Local governments (municipalities) can choose to ban recreational marijuana (this was also allowed with medical marijuana).
- You can’t smoke marijuana in public.
- Driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal.
Also keep in mind that the rules may be modified over time. Not all of these aspects of the marijuana law may continue, so it’s important to regularly check and keep up with the law if you wish to use marijuana legally in Michigan.
When Will Michigan’s Marijuana Law Go into Effect?
Officially, the law goes into effect around the beginning of December 2018, once the election results have been certified. Therefore, possession and use of marijuana in allowable amounts will be permissible at that time, and individuals will not longer be arrested for marijuana use or possession of allowable amounts.
However, it will be some time before marijuana businesses can get up and running in Michigan, as a legal system for growth and distribution is put into place. The fact that there are already rules in place for medical marijuana will likely make it easier for Michigan to establish rules for recreational marijuana.
However, the ballot allows for up to a year for developing regulations for the recreational marijuana industry. That will have to take place before businesses can apply for licenses to sell marijuana.
What is Michigan’s Stance on Medical Marijuana?
As of 2008, Michigan does, as stated above, allow the use of medical marijuana by those who are licensed to possess and use it for medical purposes. In order to buy and use medical marijuana, you must have a medical condition which qualifies under the law.
You must then successfully apply for a license. Licensed medical marijuana users are allowed possess up to two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana. They can also cultivate up to twelve plants for their personal use. Before you begin using or cultivating medical marijuana, make sure you understand and follow Michigan’s rules.
Once again, it is important to recognize that medical marijuana is not legal under federal law, so even if the state where you live allows medical marijuana, federal agents (like the DEA) can arrest you at any time and sentence you for marijuana possession under federal guidelines. Be aware of the marijuana laws in states you travel to, as well.
How Will Michigan’s Rules for Recreational Marijuana be Different than the Medical Rules?
That remains to be seen. However, they will likely be sold in separate facilities. One reason for this is that medical marijuana has been allowed in states that have already legalized to have a higher amount of THC than recreational marijuana.
What About Michigan Residents Who have Already Been Convicted of Marijuana-Related Crimes?
This is another issue that will decide as things move forward. However, there are some indications that people who have already been convicted of marijuana possession may be pardoned or have the conviction expunged from their record.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I am Facing Charges Under Michigan’s Marijuana Law?
If you have been convicted in Michigan for a marijuana crime prior to the passage of the new law, you may want to contact a criminal lawyer in Michigan. It will be important to watch developments in the law as it goes into effect. Some individuals previously convicted of marijuana crimes may be eligible for release from prison, or for having the crime expunged from their record, but this remains to be seen.
Going forward, individuals should not be arrested by Michigan police for possession and use of marijuana, as long as all other rules are abided by, including the law regarding age and allowable amounts.