New recreational marijuana laws

Marijuana legalization in Michigan, rules, and penalties if the rules are broken

For the past decade, the people of Michigan have been trying to make marijuana legal in the state. Finally, a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana was certified by the Board of State Canvassers in April 2017 and the proposal was voted ‘Yea’ just a few weeks ago. So what does all this mean to the residents of Michigan? Read on to find out the rules and penalties for legal use of recreational use of marijuana in Michigan:

How will recreational marijuana be regulated in Michigan?

Marijuana will be regulated just like alcohol. This means the under the new state law, one will be allowed personal possession and use of marijuana as long as one is at least 21 years of age. Further, the marijuana sold in retail stores will need to be legally cultivated and sold only in licensed stores. There will be a tax on marijuana, just like alcohol. A photo ID may be required for people who look younger than their stated age. For the seller, it will be illegal to sell marijuana to any individual under the age of 21. Further, all marijuana retailers and growers MUST be licensed by the state.

Will I be able to smoke marijuana anywhere?

Absolutely not: Just like you are not allowed to drink alcohol in a public place, the same rules will apply to recreational marijuana. The business owners or the landlord may prohibit the individual from smoking marijuana on their property. In addition, one will not be able to smoke marijuana in a mall, park, or on a public street. As long as your landlord allows it, you will be able to smoke in the home. If it is your home, then you have nothing to worry about.

Can I drive a car while smoking marijuana?

This topic still remains debatable because there are no tests to determine if you are high on marijuana while driving a car. However, experts in law recommend that just like alcohol, avoid driving a car while you are smoking marijuana. If you have just smoked marijuana, get someone else to drive you. The legal system may err on the side of safety and blame you if there is an accident.

How much marijuana can one buy at any one point in time?

Based on the proposal, any individual over the age of 21 will be able to buy, use, and process 2.5 ounces or 15 grams of marijuana concentrates.

Will I be able to share my marijuana with others?

According to the proposal, you can only share your marijuana without payment to an individual over the age of 21. If you distribute or share the marijuana with anyone under the age of 21, expect a heavy monetary penalty.

What doses of marijuana will be available from retail stores in Michigan?

In the retail stores, marijuana will be sold in increments starting from an eighth to a quarter ounce, half an ounce and an ounce.

How will the recreational marijuana be available?

At the moment, retailers who are licensed will be able to sale processed marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles only in government-approved stores.

Will I be able to grow marijuana plants in my home?

The proposal will allow individuals to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use only and store up to 10 ounces from these plants in the residence provided that the product is kept in a locked container.

How much marijuana will a resident in Michigan be allowed to keep at home?

The proposal will allow for a 10-ounce limit on marijuana in the home. In addition, any amount over 2.5 ounces will need to be secured in a locked container.

Will the marijuana sold in retail stores be taxed?

Yes, there will be a 10% excise tax on all marijuana sales. Here is how the Michigan State Treasury Department plans to spend to tax money earned from marijuana sales:

  • The money will go towards administrative duties and enforcement of the marijuana act
  • Any remaining money will go towards more research and clinical trials that have been approved by the US FDA and sponsored by a non-profit organization or a scientific researcher at an academic institution. The research will need to be conducted on the clinical benefits of marijuana for a variety of medical conditions.
  • Any money left over will be split as follows: a) 15% will go to the local municipality where the retail business is located b) 15% will be for the local county where the marijuana business is located c) 35% will go towards the local schools and d) 35% will go towards repair of the roads and other infrastructure in that particular area.

What about the use of recreational marijuana in the workplace?

Just like you can’t drink alcohol in the workplace, you will not be allowed to smoke recreational marijuana at work. If you do, you may be terminated. Many employers in Michigan do conduct pre-employment testing. And once you are employed, you may be tested for use of illicit drugs. Because most workplaces have zero tolerance for illicit drug use, the best recommendation is not to use marijuana in the workplace.

Where can I grow marijuana?

While the proposal does allow one to grow marijuana at home, this must be in a secure area and not visible to the public. The area will need to be enclosed with locks and/or security. You may have to tell your home insurer and/or local utilities that you are growing marijuana at home.

Can marijuana be banned by any county in Michigan?

Yes, under the proposal any local county will have the right to ban the operating of marijuana farms or retails stores. In such scenarios, these municipalities will not be entitled to any of the tax revenue.

What will be the cost of marijuana sold in retail stores?

While the exact prices have not been fixed, it is expected that one ounce will probably be sold for $150. This is the price for an ounce in several other states and surveys indicate that most consumers are happy with the fee.

What will happen to the people who were previously arrested for marijuana possession?

Those individuals who were arrested previously for marijuana possession will not automatically be pardoned. At the moment, the proposal has not addressed if these individuals will be able to buy or possess marijuana in future- but experts feel that once recreational marijuana is available, they will have the same rights of purchase or to grow the recreational marijuana.

At present, there is also a nationwide movement going on ways to legalize recreational marijuana and many lawyers are claiming of fair treatment of those previous incarcerated for possession.

What other states have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana?

Besides Michigan, California, Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Nevada, Vermont, Oregon, and Washington all permit legalized use of marijuana only for recreational purposes.

However, all Michiganians should know that under federal law recreational use of marijuana is considered illegal. For example, if you buy recreational marijuana legally in Michigan, you cannot sell or transport it to another state. Even carrying it on an airplane is considered a crime. The present Trump administration and Dept of Justice are continuing to restrict the use of recreational marijuana. Fortunately, there is currently a partisan bill making its way through Congress that may limit the federal laws when it comes to prosecuting Americans for recreational marijuana use.

The Bill was known as Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act will ensure, “that each State has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders.”

How will the state monitor the sale of recreational marijuana?

Since the State will be collecting taxes, it will license each marijuana retail business including retailers, growers, processors, and distributors. Anyone not licensed will face severe penalties.

When will the recreational marijuana be legally available in Michigan?

It is hoped that recreational marijuana will be available in early 2020. It may take a few more months to organize the licensing of the stores and manufacturers, plus the state has to ensure that everyone is aware of the rules and regulations. So realistically, recreational marijuana should be available in the early part of 2020.