In November of 2018, Michigan voters passed Proposal 1, which legalized marijuana for recreational use. This made Michigan the tenth state in the country to legalize recreational use of marijuana and the first state in the Midwest to do so. Michigan joined Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Vermont, Massachusetts, Oregon, California, and Washington D.C in making marijuana use legal. Michigan is also one of the 30 states that allow for the use of medical marijuana.
Here are five things you need to know about the legalization of marijuana in Michigan:
#1: Legal Possession Of Marijuana
Any person who is 21 or older is allowed to possess and use marijuana. They are also allowed to travel around with 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time. Adults can also have 15 grams of concentrate.
If a person is on a school bus, a jail or prison or school property, they cannot possess cannabis or concentrate.
For reference, a person who has a plastic sandwich bag full of marijuana will usually have about 2 ounces of cannabis. The cartridges that concentrate come in are either half a gram or one gram apiece.
At home, the rules are a little different.
An adult in Michigan can have 10 ounces of marijuana. Remember that 7.5 oz of marijuana in your house must be locked up. If you are caught with over 2.5oz in your home that is not locked up, you will be issued a civil infraction which carries with it a $100 fine. Getting caught with over 5 ounces of marijuana in your house that is not locked up will cause you to face a misdemeanor criminal charge.
Cannabis is still considered a schedule 1 narcotic under federal law. While there is some talk about ending the federal prohibition against marijuana, it does not look like the law will be changing for at least another year or more.
If you are out enjoying nature in a federal national park and possess cannabis, you risk being arrested. Do not take or use marijuana in any building the federal government owns to avoid facing criminal charges.
It is illegal to transport marijuana across state lines. IndyStar wrote a handy guide on legal weed in neighboring states of Michigan and Indiana.
#2: Legally Growing Marijuana
An adult in Michigan can now legally grow up to twelve marijuana plants in their household. If you are growing your cannabis, you are not limited to how much you can possess.
According to the Detroit Free Press, recreational marijuana sales in Michigan exceeded $1.8 million in sales during the first eight days.
If you are growing your own plants, you should do so inside or in a locked and enclosed area outside that the public would have a hard time seeing. You are not allowed to grow on properties you rent without the approval of the landlord in writing.
Be careful not to grow more than twelve plants in your household.
Here are the punishments for being caught with more than 12 marijuana plants in your household:
- If you’re caught with between 12 and 24 plants, you will receive a civil infraction of $500.
- If you’re caught with between 25 and 200 plants, you are looking at a felony charge that could land you in prison for up to seven years.
- If you’re caught with more than 200 marijuana plants, you are facing a felony charge that carries with it a massive 15 years of possible prison time.
#3: Operating While Under The Influence Of Marijuana
It is still against the law in Michigan to be operating a motor vehicle on the road in Michigan while under the influence of marijuana. While the law does not require someone to have their cannabis in their vehicle’s trunk, a person should store their marijuana in this area of their vehicle.
If you are caught using cannabis in a vehicle, you will be given a civil infraction. If you found to be driving under the influence of marijuana, the punishment will be the same as a person faces for a DUI conviction. These penalties include a fine of $100 to $500. The court could also give a person convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana up to 360 hours of community service and up to 93 days in jail.
At the moment, there are no roadside tests to determine if someone is under the influence. The saliva test that is used by police only shows if cannabis is found in a person’s system. This test does not determine how recently someone consumed marijuana. The tolerance of cannabis varies by how often a person uses the substance. Because of this, Michigan law does not have a legal limit set for the level of THC that can be in a person’s body.
#4: The Difference Between Hemp, Cannabis, and Marijuana
Marijuana, hemp, and cannabis are all scientifically denoted under the Latin Term of Cannabis Sativa. All three of these items are of the same species of plant Cannabis Sativa.
Federal law in the United States has clear definitions of hemp, marijuana, and cannabis. The seed of the plant may be defined as either marijuana or cannabis.
Hemp is defined as stalks, stems, and sterilized seeds. The leaves of the plant are called marijuana.
Cannabis refers to the entire plant, such as the marijuana leaves and the hemp part, which includes stalks and stems.
#5: Marijuana And Employment Laws
A person can still be legally fired for being under the influence of marijuana in the state of Michigan. A person can also be fired for testing positive for having THC in their system.
Michigan is an at-will state when it comes to employment. If you are working for a company that requires you to drive, operate machinery or take care of other human beings you are at risk of being fired if you fail a drug test. A company can require you to take a drug test if you are their employee.
While employers are starting to have a more liberal attitude towards cannabis use, an employee should make themselves fully informed about the company policy towards marijuana use.
The trend across the United States is clearly in favor of legalizing small amounts of marijuana possession and allowing people to use marijuana for recreational purposes and medical reasons.
Within the next five to ten years, it appears the vast majority of states will follow the path of Michigan and other states. The federal government will probably legalize cannabis within the next five years.
Please make sure to follow all laws that deal with the regulation of marijuana. If you are caught with too much marijuana in Michigan, you can still be charged with various felony charges that carry with it potential prison time of up to 15 years, and that is stress no one needs in their life.
Criminal defense attorneys who specialize in marijuana law can aid you in navigating the legal process and help you make the best of your criminal law situation.
About Shawn Haff
Shawn Haff is the owner of The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan. He received his J.D. from Cooley Law School in 2009 and currently represents individuals charged with criminal offenses like drug possession, drunk driving, and criminal sexual conduct.
Detroit Free Press “Recreational marijuana Sales In Michigan Exceed $1.6 Million In First 8 Days”
Indy Star “A guide to legal weed in neighboring states for Hoosiers”
This is a guest post by Shawn Haff. This post has been edited for syntax and grammar. The Law Offices of Jay Leiderman is not responsible for the accuracy of the content herein or any opinions or ideas expressed herein. This post is for entertainment and literary value and is not intended as legal advice. This post does not establish an attorney-client relationship of any sort. If you have legal questions about ideas presented herein please contact a lawyer knowledgeable in this field of practice.