Beginning in December of 2018, recreational cannabis will finally be legal in the state of Michigan. On November 6th, residents of Michigan voted overwhelmingly in favor of officially legalizing cannabis once and for all. Medical cannabis has been legal in Michigan since 2008. According to the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Michigan Proposal 1, as of December 6th, 2018, Michigan residents over the age of 21 will be permitted to legally purchase, possess, and consume cannabis for recreational purposes. Michigan is the 10th state to make recreational cannabis legal, joining Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Nevada.
Once legal, Michigan residents who are out and about will be allowed to carry up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in the flower form and 15 g in the concentrate form. At home, residents are permitted up to 10 ounces of cannabis per household – any more than 2.5 ounces, however, needs to be securely stored in a locked container. Michiganders who fancy themselves green thumbs will be permitted to grow up to 12 plants per household. Homegrown cannabis will not be counted towards the 10-ounce household limit. Public consumption of cannabis will still be illegal. According to Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol spokesman, Josh Hovey,
“People should keep in mind that just because marijuana is legal on dec.6, that doesn’t mean [you] can spark up a join in a Hash Bash-style street celebration.”
Possession or consumption of cannabis on federal property will remain illegal at the felony level; similarly, possession or consumption on K-12 school grounds could lead to felony charges. Driving while under the influence of cannabis is also strictly prohibited by Michigan law; those caught driving high could be charged with DUIs. Employers in Michigan could still require drug testing and choose to fire employees for testing positive for cannabis.
Legalization will likely have big implications for those age 21 and up who have recently been charged with misdemeanors for consuming or possessing small amounts of cannabis. According to an article by the Detroit Free Press, law enforcement officials in Michigan have already started dismissing low-level cannabis related offenses set to become legal in December. Said Kym Worthy, Wayne Country Prosecutor,
“Now that Proposal 1 has passed, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is committed to following the law regarding the prosecution of marijuana cases…Although the law is not retroactive, in the coming weeks we will assess the tickets that have already been charged, as well as those pending review, taking the new law into consideration.”
A 10% excise tax will be applied to all sales of recreational cannabis, a portion of which will go to public programs, including a school aid fund, and a transportation fund marked for much needed infrastructure repairs throughout the state of Michigan. After initial costs have been accounted for, an annual $20 million has been earmarked for clinical trials and research on the potential benefits of cannabis use for use in the treatment of both mental health and “medical conditions of United States services veterans and preventing veteran suicide.”