Unlike many states, Michigan is unusual in that possession and marijuana use are not penalized based on the amount of marijuana you are carrying. Instead, all possession and use charges are treated the same. 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.
Smoking or ingesting marijuana is a separate misdemeanor. In most locations, including your home, marijuana use will only get you 90 days in jail and a $100 fine. Possessing marijuana in a park is a more serious crime, which can even be deemed a felony at a judge's discretion, and this crime carries a two-year sentence.
However, conditional discharge is available in all use and possession cases, which means that the judge has wide discretion to use alternative sentencing (such as rehab or community service) 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.
So, Michigan Has Fairly Lax Marijuana Laws?
Concerning possession and use, yes. But Michigan also has some of the most severe cultivation and distribution laws in the country. Marijuana distribution and cultivation of ANY KIND are serious felonies.
What About Sales or Deliveries?
Like most states, Michigan a gift of marijuana is classified as simple possession (one year sentence, $1,000 fine). Unusually, 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). However, selling or cultivating marijuana involves serious penalties. These penalties include:
- Less than 5 kg or 20 plants: four years and a $20,000 fine,
- Between 5-44 kg or 20-199 plants: seven years and a $500,000 fine, and
- 45+ kg or 200+ plants: fifteen years and a $10,000,000 fine.
What About Medical Marijuana?
Michigan permits the licensed use of medical marijuana. In order to purchase and use medical marijuana, you must have a qualified condition and successfully apply for a license. Licensed medical marijuana users can possess up to two-and-a-half ounces of usable 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.
Additionally, 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 criminal lawyer in Michigan 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.