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What You Need to Know Now that Recreational Marijuana Is Legal in Michigan

Feb 01, 2019, by Maurice Davis in Marijuana
recreational marijuana

Recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, but this does not mean that anyone can just light up anytime and anywhere. Michigan’s recreational marijuana law, which was approved by a 55 percent margin on November 6, 2018, puts in place a series of regulations on the private use of cannabis. Furthermore, the path to opening up a recreational cannabis business is not clear, as the state government scrambles to write essential regulations and licensing requirements. The move to legalize marijuana comes 10 years after Michigan voters approved the use of medicinal marijuana to treat a wide range of illnesses.

Although recreational marijuana is legal, you can still get charged with a marijuana offense. If you are arrested, contact Davis Law Group at (313) 818-3238 or use our online contact form to reach out.

Cannabis Business Opportunities Are Limited for Now

The idea behind Michigan’s new marijuana law, also known as Proposition 1, is to create a legal cannabis retail system that will be subject to a 10 percent excise tax. But Michiganders’ ability to buy pot in stores and the government’s expected tax revenues are still months away. State regulators have yet to create a process for Michigan businesses to legally sell cannabis.

Much like the state of California, it could take Michigan several years and possibly several tries to get the system right. For now it looks like it will take until early 2020 for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (DLRA) to create an initial licensing and regulation scheme for commercial cannabis cultivation, distribution, and retail.

Therefore, hopeful entrepreneurs will have to wait to tap into Michigan’s recreational cannabis market, which Forbes magazine values at $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion in terms of annual sales. Fortunately, industry insiders believe that Michigan will adopt a leaner regulatory scheme than California, which created a complex system involving dozens of different licenses necessary to legally operate recreational and medicinal cannabis businesses.

However, just like California, Michigan gives towns and municipalities the option to ban recreational cannabis businesses. Some Michigan communities, such as St. Joseph, have already signaled that they want no part in the new industry, even though they will be barred from receiving funds from the taxes raised from cannabis sales in other cities and counties. St. Joseph Mayor Mike Garey brushed aside concerns that he would be depriving his community of an important revenue source, telling reporters: “It’s not going to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

How Does Michigan Regulate the Private Use of Recreational Cannabis?

Beginning December 6, 2018, Michigan allows adults over the age of 21 to possess and transport up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis buds. It’s legal to give up to 2.5 ounces to another person, but it’s strictly illegal to receive payment for it. Adults are allowed to grow up to 12 plants per residence–but the plants must be kept from public view. Within a single residence, it is legal to store up to 10 ounces of cannabis, in addition to any amount of cannabis cultivated within that residence.

The penalties for breaking these laws are relatively lenient. For example, if you get caught with 2.5 ounces to five ounces or marijuana, the maximum penalty is a $500 fine. If you get caught with more than five ounces, and there is no evidence that the possession involved violence or was commercial in nature, you will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. However, harsh penalties remain in place for anyone suspected of illegally selling or growing cannabis for commercial purposes. Both offenses are felonies carrying the possibility of four years in prison and $20,000 in fines.

The consumption of marijuana may only take place legally within your own home or on other private property. Thus, it will not be legal to smoke in bars, or even on the sidewalk or in parks. And beware if you’re a renter: landlords are allowed to prohibit cannabis use on their premises. You may also need to be vigilant about your employer, which can legally fire you if they suspect you of using cannabis for recreational purposes.

At Davis Law Group, we applaud Michigan’s decision to remove some of the unfair penalties against cannabis users. However, we know that injustices will persist. Many Michiganders will continue to be charged under the state’s exceptionally harsh trafficking and cultivating laws. Our mission is to help these people avoid the devastating consequences of a drug crime conviction. If you have been charged with trafficking or cultivating marijuana, call our marijuana lawyer today at (313) 818-3238 or contact us online for a free and confidential case consultation.