In Michigan, residents have the legal right to own some quantity of marijuana within the permitted limits. According to state laws, Michigan residents can possess and use an acceptable amount of cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes.
Michigan first permitted the use of marijuana for medical purposes only in November 2008, with the passage of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). Then, in 2018, Michigan became legalized cannabis for adult use in the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA). The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) ensures compliance with the state's marijuana laws.
Owning marijuana is legal in Michigan, provided the individual in possession of the cannabis satisfies certain restrictions. For example, Section 4(a) of the MMMA permits qualifying patients and caregivers in the state’s medical marijuana program to possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of medical cannabis. Similarly, Section 5 of the MRTMA permits adults of at least 21 years to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at any given time.
Possessing more than the recommended 2.5 ounces of marijuana is not a felony in Michigan. Depending on the weight, this offense can count as either a civil infraction or a misdemeanor. However, the law sees possessing any amount of cannabis with the intent to sell as a felony that attracts weighty consequences. In addition, House Bill 4210, an amendment to the MMMA, strictly prohibits the possession and use of medical cannabis on a school bus or school grounds.
While Michigan may have decriminalized the adult use of marijuana, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. As a result, the MMMA and the MRTMA do not protect any individual found in possession of marijuana on federal property. The offender faces the possibility of felony prosecution.
People guilty of a first-time marijuana possession offense in Michigan face fines if they exceed the legal limit of 2.5 ounces on hand and up to 10 ounces at home. Section 15 of the MRTMA prescribes punishing first-time offenders as follows:
Adults at least 21 years old and medical marijuana cardholders can legally purchase cannabis from regulated dispensaries in Michigan. However, qualifying patients must be 18 years old or older to buy marijuana legally in the state. Designated caregivers can help minors purchase and administer their medical cannabis.
When Michigan approved medical marijuana, the state did not initially allow the opening of cannabis dispensaries. Qualifying patients had to either grow their own cannabis plants or arrange for designated caregivers to cultivate the plants on their behalf.
The MMFLA later allowed marijuana businesses, including retail dispensaries, to begin operations. However, Section 205 of the MMFLA required such establishments to obtain authorization from Michigan communities interested in hosting these firms.
Interested persons can use the interactive map on the medical facilities section of the CRA’s website to get the contact information of licensed marijuana dispensaries in the state.
In Michigan, only adults at least 21 years old can purchase and consume marijuana for recreational purposes per Section 2 of the MRTMA. Also, adults at least 18 years old can buy marijuana legally in the state if they are in the state’s medical marijuana program.
Section 4 of the MMMA empowers qualifying patients and designated caregivers to carry up to 2.5 ounces of usable medical cannabis at any given time. Registered patients and caregivers can also carry any number of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots. The section defines 1 ounce of usable medical marijuana as:
Similarly, Section 5 of the MRTMA also permits adults 21 years or older to carry up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for recreational use. However, of the permitted 2.5 ounces, marijuana concentrates may not comprise more than 15 grams.
If a person under 18 is guilty of cannabis possession, Section 15(3) of the MRTMA suggests these penalties:
Section 4 of the MMMA permits qualifying patients to grow up to 12 cannabis plants in an enclosed and locked facility. Designated caregivers can also grow up to 12 cannabis plants for each patient under their care.
The MRTMA also permits growing up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use on a single property. However, per Section 4 (1f) of the Act, the space used to grow marijuana must not be visible to the public.
Growing the permitted quantity of marijuana in an unsecured area for personal use is a civil offense punishable with a fine of up to $100. In addition, the offender forfeits the cannabis plants to the authorities.
The status of marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance makes flying with cannabis quite complicated. Transporting cannabis across state lines is illegal, making the offender liable for a felony.
However, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains that the airports’ screening process remains focused on weeding out security threats. Passengers caught with cannabis are referred to local police authorities. Hence, offenders found with the legal amount of marijuana in Michigan may be lucky if the police enforce the state's marijuana regulations.
Conclusively, it is a risk to fly with cannabis. It remains illegal at the federal level, and any individual caught may get prosecuted for committing a felony.
No, being high on cannabis in public is not a crime. However, law enforcement may arrest and prosecute people seen disturbing the public peace, including those caused by cannabis use.
It is not permissible to consume cannabis in public spaces in Michigan. Section 4 (1e) of the MRTMA prohibits the consumption of marijuana in public and in other places whose owners strictly outlaw such activities. The state also forbids possessing or consuming cannabis on school grounds, on a school bus, and on the premises of a correctional facility.
While Michigan permits the use of marijuana, driving under the influence of cannabis is an offense. Section 4 (1a) of the MRTMA prohibits operating any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana. In a released brochure, the Michigan State Police (MSP) declared that officers reserve the right to conduct field sobriety tests on suspected offenders. Officers can request that people suspected of driving with impairment caused by marijuana use undergo chemical tests. Drivers who fail to submit to such tests can have their driving licenses revoked.
Section 625 (9) of the Michigan Vehicle Code recommends punishments for offenders caught driving under the influence of marijuana.
For a first offense, the law recommends punishing offenders by one or more of the following:
Community service that must not exceed 360 hours
Imprisonment for not more than 93 days
A fine that must not be more than $300
A second offense occurring within 7 years of the initial conviction results in a fine of between $200 and $1,000. Additionally, offenders also receive one or more of these punishments:
Jail term of between 5 days and 1 year
Between 30 to 90 days of community service
No matter how many years have passed since the prior conviction, a third conviction earns the offender a fine of between $500 to $5,000. The offender also gets punished with either of the following:
A sentence of between 1 year and 5 years in a prison administered by the Department of Corrections (DOC)
Probation with detention in the county jail for not less than 30 days and not more than 1 year. This sentence also includes community service for between 60 days and 180 days.
Causing the death or bodily injury to another individual while driving under the influence of cannabis attracts stricter penalties, including serving up to 15 years in jail. Driving under the influence of marijuana while a minor is in the vehicle also attracts stiffer penalties.