Michigan Marijuana Laws

  1. Michigan Cannabis
  2. Michigan Marijuana Laws

Key Points

  • Marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use in Michigan.

  • Persons aged 21 and above can purchase recreational marijuana while there is no age limit for patients who can use medical cannabis. However,

  • The marijuana possession limit in Michigan is 2.5 ounces for both recreational and medical use.

  • Michigan residents can grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home.

  • Penalties for violating marijuana laws in Michigan vary according to the age of the offender and weight of the substance found in the offender’s possession.

Is Marijuana Legal in Michigan?

Yes, marijuana is fully legal in Michigan. Michigan became the 13th state in the country to legalize medical marijuana in 2008 through the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Initiated-Law-1-of-2008.pdf). 10 years later, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana thanks to the success of the Ballot Proposal 1 in 2018. It is also the first midwestern state to pass marijuana legislation and allow adults and qualifying patients to obtain, possess, and use marijuana.

It is highly unlikely that Michigan will roll back marijuana legislation given the majority public favor towards keeping the controlled substance legal. Prior to statewide legislation, certain municipalities in the state already adopted local reforms to decriminalize marijuana use and possession and de-emphasize prosecuting marijuana-related crimes.

Michigan Marijuana Laws in 2022

Marijuana legalization in Michigan began in 2008 with the creation of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program. However, only qualified patients with the registry identification cards can buy cannabis from approved dispensaries. In 2016, the Michigan Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-333-27504) was initiated to allow licensed provisional centers sell medical cannabis instead of dispensaries. After voting to legalize adult-use marijuana in November 2018, Michigan officially legalized it on December 6, 2018. Residents were first able to buy recreational cannabis from dispensaries on December 1, 2019.

Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA)/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-333-27954)

The MRTMA, which became a law in 2018, describes the limitations of marijuana use, possession, and cultivation in Michigan. It only allows patients approved to obtain medical marijuana to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time with a total monthly allowance of 10 ounces. For recreational use, Michigan residents can only buy up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time with cannabis concentrate making up no more than 15 grams this amount. Lastly, while Michigan allows adult residents to give up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to other adults as gifts, it insists that such transfers must not be promoted.

The state also restricts where residents can consume marijuana. They may consume cannabis at home and in private spaces. However, they must not consume marijuana in their private cars. Michigan has strict Drugged Driving laws and considers driving under the influence of cannabis a violation. As marijuana has not been legalized by federal law, it is illegal to possess and consume it on federal land, including buildings. Marijuana use and possession are also prohibited in universities in Michigan that receive federal funding.

Medical marijuana is available everywhere in Michigan and sold in licensed dispensaries. However, some cities, towns, and counties have opted out of providing recreational marijuana. Michigan recognizes municipalities that have elected to opt out of Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. As of January 2022, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency provides a list of MRTMA Opt-outs i.e. communities where recreational cannabis is unavailable. Besides deciding whether to provide medical marijuana only or medical and recreational marijuana, Michigan currently allows municipalities to set some local laws and regulations regarding marijuana cultivation, distribution, and sales. These municipalities, regarded as MRTMA Opt-ins, allow adult-use marijuana but have different restrictions. For example, Michigan townships, villages, and cities determine the operating hours of dispensaries located within their borders.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the implementation of the state's Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA). After legalizing recreational marijuana, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) only permitted establishments currently licensed to provide medical marijuana to also provide adult-use marijuana. By March 2021, licensing requirements for marijuana growers, processors, transporters, and retailers began. During the same period, the CRA no longer requires those interested in growing, processing, transporting, and retailing recreational marijuana to also hold medical marijuana licenses. The state agency also dropped the requirement for Michigan residency for issuing licenses for adult-use marijuana.

Michigan currently allows home delivery of medical and recreational marijuana but it is unclear if this will continue. At-home delivery is convenient for patients with debilitating conditions and impaired mobility. Michigan already has a standing regulation for delivering medical marijuana to the homes of qualifying patients. It allows any medical marijuana dispensary to deliver up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to a patient. A dispensary cannot make deliveries for more than 10 patients at once. Lastly, dispensaries can only deliver medical marijuana to the addresses listed on the medical marijuana identification cards of patients.

Michigan Social Equity Program

Created under MCL Section 333.27958(1)(j)/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-333-27958), the Social Equity Program intends to positively influence disproportionately impacted communities by promoting and encouraging involvement in the marijuana sector. According to the CRA, areas with high marijuana-related offenders and high poverty rate (over 20% living below federal poverty level) qualify as disproportionately impacted communities. Individuals living in these regions can participate in the growing Marijuana industry through discounts set up by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Note that persons applying under the social equity program will not be disqualified if they don’t reside in the communities. Eligible applicants can get one or more of the following fee reductions:

  • 25% discount for applicants that have stayed in disproportionately impacted communities for a minimum of 5 consecutive years within the past 10 years.

  • 25% discount for applicants with a history of marijuana-related misdemeanor conviction

  • 40% discount for applicants with a history of marijuana-related felony conviction

  • 10% discount for applicants who have registered as a primary caregiver for two years under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

Timeline of Cannabis Law in Michigan

  • 1950s: Michigan legislators created several laws to impose severe penalties on any possession of marijuana.

  • 1972: Ann Arbor, a city in Michigan, created the first city ordinance to decriminalize small possession of marijuana from a 10-year jail sentence to a $5 civil infraction. Although the ordinance was repealed in 1973, it was reinstated in 1974 through a voter initiative.

  • 2008: Medical cannabis became legal on November 4, 2008 thanks to the voter initiative known as the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative or Proposal 1. The ballot measure permits only eligible patients to carry up to two and half ounces (71 g) of marijuana.

  • 2016: The State Governor signed a bill to create and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan. The bill also includes other medical marijuana reforms such as taxing licensed dispensaries and legal protection for qualified users.

  • 2018: 56% of Michigan voters approved the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, which allows persons above 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of weed.

Federal Legalization of Weed in 2022

Marijuana, which is regarded as cannabis under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, is still illegal in the US. In an attempt to legalize weed, US legislators at the green and red chambers have passed different bills in recent years. For instance, a US Senator proposed a bill known as the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) in 2022. Similar to an earlier bill proposed in 2018, the major purpose of the CAO Act is to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and allow other states to make marijuana laws without national prohibition. If it becomes law, the Act will deschedule cannabis by removing it from DEA’s list of illicit drugs. The CAO Act will also promote inclusion and diversity among licensed business owners in supervised cannabis markets and designates cash to be reinvested in regions that have been unduly disadvantaged by the War on Drugs. US Representatives also approved the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act in 2020 and 2022. While the first MORE Act failed to gain approval of the Senates, the second bill remains hopeful. If enacted into law, the MORE Act will:

  • Deschedule cannabis the DEA Drug Scheduling system.

  • Decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

  • Erase past marijuana-related convictions.

  • Limit federal restrictions on states that have legalized marijuana use.

  • Introduce a 5% federal tax on cannabis sales.

  • Support regions affected by the long years of war on drugs.

Currently, hemp possession is legal in the US while marijuana use is legal in 24 US states. Furthermore, President Biden issued an executive order in October 2022 to pardon individuals with non-violent marijuana conviction.

Can I Use Cannabis?

Yes. Adults aged 21 and above can legally use cannabis in Michigan. The state allows such individuals to possess and purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time. Cannabis use is also legal for patients with qualifying medical conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Cancer, Crohn's disease, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and Nail-patella syndrome. These patients may be younger than 21 as long as they list their parents/legal guardians as caregivers and have Michigan medical marijuana identification cards. Also, the state's cannabis law places a per-day cannabis purchase limit for medical patients, which is not more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana per day.

Michigan allows qualifying individuals to use different forms of cannabis including the dried flowers and extracts of the plants as well as marijuana concentrates, hash oils, edibles, and cannabis-infused drinks. Cannabis is a term applied to the popular flowering plant known for the mood- and perception-altering properties of its psychoactive constituent. This constituent is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. In the US, federal law bans cannabis use in accordance with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This Act codified the national prohibition of weed use in the country. However, some states have made steps to reform the law and legalized marijuana use within their borders. In Michigan, Ann Arbor leads other municipalities with regards to early reforms regarding weed use. The city began decriminalizing cannabis use in the 1970s by lowering the penalties against weed use and possession. In 2004, it gave special concessions to residents requiring weed use for medical reasons. Even now, Ann Arbor has the most lenient penalty for marijuana possession in Michigan. The maximum fine for weed possession in the city is $100, except on the University of Michigan campus where state laws fully apply.

How the Legal Sale of Cannabis in Michigan Happens

The Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Initiated-Law-1-of-2008) passed in 2008 and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act passed in 2018 legalized medical and recreational marijuana respectively in Michigan. These laws allowed the legal sale of marijuana to qualifying patients and adult residents. To buy cannabis in Michigan, patients must present their medical marijuana identification cards at licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Adult residents must visit licensed dispensaries that also sell recreational marijuana. Such establishments may ask for their photo identification cards to prove their ages.

Michigan currently has six license types for commercial growers of marijuana, with three each for medical and recreational grower classes. As stipulated by the MRA, holders of Class A medical marijuana grow license can only cultivate up to 500 plants. Besides these micro growers, Class B and Class C medical marijuana grow license holders can cultivate up to 1,000 and 1,500 plants respectively.

There are also three classes of recreational grow licenses. Class A micro growers are allowed to cultivate up to 100 marijuana plants while Class B and C license holders can grow up to 500 and 2,000 plants respectively.

Marijuana establishments with grow licenses may process and sell marijuana products as long as they also have retailer licenses. Dispensaries in the state can sell dried flowers of marijuana flowers as well as hash, hashish oil, extracts, and concentrates. Residents can also buy and consume marijuana as rolled joints and vape cartridges.

Michigan places no restrictions on the sale and use of marijuana paraphernalia. It also does not limit the amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive ingredient, in marijuana products. Therefore, buyers should pay attention to marijuana product labels.

Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes in Michigan

While Michigan has more relaxed marijuana laws compared to other midwestern states, it still provides strict limitations regarding the use, distribution, possession, and cultivation of cannabis. Most violations of Michigan marijuana laws attract fines. However, the state also punishes certain marijuana crimes with incarceration. The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) stipulates the following penalties for marijuana-related crimes:

Possession in Michigan

  • Possession of more than 2.5 ounces and up to 5 ounces of marijuana is a civil infraction, as long as it is a first offense, and punishable by a maximum fine of $500. Michigan marijuana possession laws allows an adult to possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana in their homes as long as the excess amount is stored in a secure container

  • Possession of more than 5 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor, if it is a first offense, and punishable by up to $500 in fines. A judge may punish an offender with more than 5 ounces if such possession is with the intent to distribute or sell, involves violence, or is deemed habitual or willful

  • Possession of any amount of marijuana in a park or within 1,000 feet of one is a felony or misdemeanor, determined by the judge's discretion. This crime is punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 2 years in jail

Possession with Intent to Distribute in Michigan

  • Distribution of up to 5 ounces of marijuana without remuneration is a civil infraction and punishable by up to $500 in fines. Note that Michigan marijuana distribution laws permit adult residents to transfer up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to other adults as long as such transfers are not compensated and not advertised to the public

  • Sale of less than 5 kg of marijuana is a felony punishable by a maximum jail term of 4 years and a maximum fine of $20,000

  • Sale of 5 - 45 kg of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 7 years of jail term and a maximum fine of $500,000

  • Sale of over 45 kg of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment and up to $10 million in fines

  • Buying and selling of marijuana paraphernalia to other adults is lawful in Michigan

Cultivation in Michigan

  • Cultivation of marijuana plants outside of a secure area or in a location visible from a public place is a civil offense punishable by up to $100 in fines and forfeiture of the plants

  • Cultivation of 12 - 24 marijuana plants for personal use is a civil infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $500

  • Cultivation of over 25 marijuana plants for personal use is a misdemeanor punishable by jail terms if the violator also uses them for commercial purposes or if a judge rules that the violation is habitual, willful, or involved violence

Marijuana Consumption in Michigan

Michigan residents above 21 years can only use marijuana in private properties they own or where it is permitted. Landlords and employees have the right to reject marijuana consumption in the premises and impose penalties on those who smoke weed. Smoking weed in the public may result in a civil infraction ticket while the penalties may be severe if caught smoking weed close to a school or playground.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Michigan

  • First Offense - community service up to 360 hours, a maximum fine of $300, and/or a maximum imprisonment of 93 days

  • Second Offense - a second offense within 7 years of the first offense is punishable by a $200 - $1,000 fine and one or more of the following: community service between 30 and 90 days and imprisonment for no less than 5 years and no longer than 1 year

  • Third and Subsequent Offenses - a third or subsequent offense occurring within 10 years of a prior offense is a felony punishable by a $500 - $5,000 fine and one of the following: imprisonment for 1 - 5 years in a state prison or probation with imprisonment in a county jail between 30 days and 1 year and community service between 60 and 180 days

Confiscation of Assets in Michigan

The consequences of violating Michigan marijuana trafficking laws are often very severe and sometimes include confiscation of assets. According to Michigan civil asset forfeiture law/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-333-7521a), law enforcers can confiscate assets like cars, houses, cash, and jewelry found to be part of a drug crime.

Additional Limitations

Michigan has the same penalties for hashish and marijuana concentrates as other marijuana products. It only allows adults to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrates. An adult may also transfer up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrate to another adult as long as they do not get paid for the transfer or promote it to the public

Possible Remedies for Violators of Michigan Marijuana Laws

Generally, individuals who possess, use, or cultivate above the Michigan marijuana limitations frequently face misdemeanor or felony charges. Such offenders can get their case dismissed using different remedies such as the Michigan 7411 disposition and the Michigan Holmes Youthful trainee Act/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-762-11) (HYTA). First time offenders accused of simple marijuana possession may be eligible for a drug diversion program, also known as 7411 disposition in Michigan. Per MCL 333.7411/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-333-7411), first time offenders who meet the probation requirements can have their drug charges expunged. On the other hand, offenders who are below 24 years old can plead guilty to the marijuana violation charges and seek a HYTA status from the court. Other possible remedies for defendants of violating Michigan marijuana laws include:

  • Proving before a court that the search was illegal.

  • Negotiating your case with the prosecutor to get a lesser punishment.

  • Providing evidence to show that the defendant is not guilty of the charges.

What Is Michigan's Cannabis History?

Before Michigan legalized medical marijuana, possessing any amount of cannabis was a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of jail term and a maximum fine of $2,000. The state also regarded using marijuana as a misdemeanor and penalized it with a fine up to $100 and up to 90 days in county jail. Possessing cannabis in a public park was a serious crime in Michigan that carried a penalty of a prison sentence as long as 2 years and a maximum fine of $2,000. Distributing cannabis without an intent to sell was misdemeanor punished by up to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Michigan ruled the sale and cultivation of marijuana as a felony and awarded penalties of up to $10 million in fines and up to 15 years in prison depending on the amount of cannabis sold and the number of marijuana plants grown.

However, these prohibition rules were relaxed when the state legalized medical and recreational marijuana. Some municipalities in Michigan took early steps towards decriminalizing marijuana and softening penalties for possessing, using, and growing marijuana. Ann Arbor stood out with its lenient marijuana laws. Following a city council decision in 1972 and a voter referendum in 1974, Ann Arbor made possessing small amounts of marijuana a civil infraction, rather than a felony, punishable by a small fine. In 2004, the city held a referendum on medical marijuana and gave special concessions to patients requiring this drug.

Some other Michigan municipalities made efforts to blunt the state's harsh marijuana laws by passing municipal laws and enacting reforms that decriminalized marijuana use and possession and de-emphasized enforcement of the state's marijuana laws. These reforms were passed in 19 Michigan municipalities, including Detroit, Flint, and Kalamazoo, between 2012 and 2015.

Michigan became the first midwestern state to legalize medical marijuana when it passed Proposal 1, or Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative, on November 4, 2008. The initiative got 63% of the vote and allowed qualifying patients to legally obtain up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home. While the wording of the initiative did not explicitly legalize medical marijuana dispensaries, these started operating soon after the state legalized medical cannabis. They were made legitimate when Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill into law in September 2016 to authorize and regulate their operations.

Michigan also became the first midwestern state to legalize recreational cannabis. It did so on November 6, 2018 when it put Proposal 1, or Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act], on the general ballot. The initiative passed with 56% of the vote and the dispensaries began offering adult-use cannabis on December 1, 2019.

What are Restrictions on Cannabis in Michigan

While Michigan has lenient marijuana laws and its residents are more open to legalizing marijuana than those of surrounding states, it still places certain limits on the use, possession, cultivation, transportation, and sale of cannabis. As stated in the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative and the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, Michigan places the following restrictions on marijuana:

  • Only adults are allowed to purchase and possess marijuana in Michigan. The state only allows those aged 21 and older to buy cannabis from dispensaries. Minors with qualifying conditions can buy medical marijuana only if their legal guardians or parents are registered alongside in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program and approved as caregivers

  • The use of cannabis in public spaces is prohibited. Michigan also insists that marijuana plants are not grown where they are visible from public places

  • Residents must not use cannabis in their personal vehicles. Driving under the influence of marijuana is a serious offense in Michigan. The state does not permit consuming marijuana products in cars even if the user is a passenger

  • Residents cannot possess or use cannabis on federal properties located in marijuana. These include colleges receiving federal funding

  • Residents may be asked to present their photo IDs when purchasing adult-use cannabis and must provide their medical marijuana ID cards when buying medical cannabis

  • Cannabis dispensaries reserve the right to refuse to sell marijuana to prospective buyers. They can also elect not to provide recreational marijuana

  • Michigan allows employers to test their workers for cannabis use

Michigan Marijuana Laws
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