Cannabis cultivation for both medical and recreational use is legal in Wayne County, Michigan. The state initially decriminalized cannabis cultivation for medical use in 2008 when the Michigan legislature passed the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) into law. Since then, it became legal for a qualifying patient in the state’s medical marijuana program to grow up to 12 cannabis plants for personal use. Similarly, approved caregivers had full authorization to grow up to 12 plants each for 5 patients. Subsequently, Governor Rick Snyder signed the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) into law in September 2016. Under the MMFLA, the state introduced these three classes of license for commercial medical cannabis cultivators:
Cannabis cultivation for recreational purposes remained illegal in Michigan until 2018, when it became lawful. The state legislature enacted the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) that year. Hence, Michigan became the tenth state in the country to legalize cannabis for recreational use. According to the MRTMA, individuals must be 21 years or older to be eligible to grow and use cannabis for recreation. These eligible adults can grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home for personal consumption.
In 2019, the state established the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) as a bureau under the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). One of the CRA's main responsibilities is to provide licenses to qualified businesses engaged in the commercial cultivation of cannabis. These licenses permit cannabis entities to operate in any part of Michigan, including Wayne County.
The MRTMA also recognizes certain local ordinances that restrict the presence of marijuana businesses within the borders of some municipalities. Michigan towns fully exercise this power. For example, in 2019, about 400 communities dropped out of the marijuana marketplace before the state began receiving applications for potential commercial recreational cannabis growers. Some of these communities outrightly rejected the location of commercial recreational cannabis facilities within their borders. Others opted to wait until the laws legalizing recreational marijuana get fully operational before welcoming such businesses. While some communities have started accepting commercial marijuana entities, others are yet to welcome these marijuana businesses. Some Wayne County communities, including Livonia, Northville, and Canton, are among those currently prohibiting the establishment of commercial recreational cannabis facilities in their townships. These towns, however, permit the personal cultivation of marijuana for medical or recreational use.
Manufacturing cannabis is legal in all of Michigan, including Wayne County. The enactment of both the MMMA and the MRTMA made marijuana manufacturing for medical and recreational purposes legal. State laws, however, grant townships the right to regulate the location of cannabis facilities within their domains. Allen Park City in Wayne County, for example, established an ordinance regarding medical marijuana. According to municipal regulations, only qualifying patients in the state's medical marijuana program can manufacture cannabis for personal use in enclosed facilities within residential districts. Additionally, the space used for cultivating and manufacturing cannabis must be within the qualifying patient’s permanent residence, taking a space of not more than 200 square feet.
The retail sale of cannabis became legal in Wayne County when the state legislature passed both the MMMA and the MRTMA into law. Hence, it became lawful to grow and sell marijuana for medical and recreational uses in the county. However, these state laws also empower Wayne County municipalities to make certain laws regarding the establishment of marijuana facilities within their borders. As a result, while many Wayne County townships enthusiastically welcomed medical marijuana retailers, only a few towns accepted recreational marijuana facilities within their borders. Detroit, the seat of Wayne County government and Michigan's largest city, only voted to allow recreational cannabis dispensaries to open in the city in April 2022.
State regulations regarding cannabis delivery allow for the transportation of medical and recreational cannabis in Michigan and, by extension, Wayne County. Businesses that deliver marijuana must follow the state's rules. One of these rules is that delivery drivers must be 21 years or older. Additionally, cannabis delivery drivers are only permitted to transport no more than 15 ounces of marijuana and 60 grams of marijuana concentrates at a time. Delivery companies must also validate the age of any recreational cannabis recipient, ensuring that they are over the age of 21. Existing state legislation, while permitting cannabis deliveries in the state, also provided municipalities some authority to control cannabis activities within their jurisdictions. Hence, some townships in Wayne County may have ordinances restricting cannabis delivery within such communities.
Wayne County residents must be registered in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP), regulated by the CRA, to receive medical marijuana cards. Residents must note that the CRA only permits individuals suffering from any of these debilitating conditions to participate in the MMMP. Individuals diagnosed with any of the approved qualifying conditions have two options for submitting applications. One option is to submit online, while the other is to complete paper forms in the CRA's application packet, and send them by mail to the designated address. This application packet contains the Application Form for Registry Identification Card and the Physician Certification Form. The Physician Certification Form, which confirms the applicant has a qualifying condition, must be completed by an active and state-licensed physician. To ensure the validity of the evaluating physician's report, the CRA sets a time limit for applicants to complete both forms in the application packet. According to CRA rules, candidates must complete these forms within the previous six months before submitting their applications.
Upon completion, send both forms, alongside some other documents, in a single envelope to the designated address. These accompanying documents are:
Mail the envelope to:
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Cannabis Regulatory Agency
PO Box 30205
Lansing, MI 48909
Alternatively, Wayne County residents can also submit their applications online by initially creating an account on the CRA’s portal. Subsequently, log into the newly created accounts to provide all the required information. Follow the instructions in this guide when completing this online application.
According to state laws regulating the MMMP registration, the CRA must decide on whether to deny or accept an application within 15 days of receiving the application. If approved, the CRA must also issue registration identity cards to new qualifying patients within 5 business days. Applicants who submit applications by mail will get approval notices, registration identity cards, or denial letters in the mail. On the other hand, Wayne County residents who complete online applications will receive further notifications by email. Call the MMMP at (517) 284 – 6400 if you do not receive any response after 5 weeks of submitting your application.
Cannabis legalization has had a significant influence on Wayne County's economy, providing an additional source of revenue to many towns in the county. The MRTMA requires that the revenues generated from adult marijuana sales be allocated to municipalities and counties with commercial recreational cannabis facilities. A revenue sharing report by the Michigan Department of Treasury outlined that municipalities with cannabis retail businesses receive 15% of the funds generated. Similarly, counties receive 15% of funds generated, allocated according to the number of cannabis retail microbusinesses present in each county. Cannabis funds also help to fund education as 35% of taxes generated goes to the School Aid Fund for K-12 education. Another 35% gets allocated to the Michigan Transportation Fund to aid the repair of roads and bridges.
The latest Adult-Use Marijuana Payments Data collated in 2021 revealed the exact amount disbursed to Wayne County communities hosting recreational cannabis retail businesses. Each city receives an amount proportional to the number of licensees in the community. The table below represents the data:
|S/N||City/Town||Number of Licensees||Amount ($)|
|3.||River Rogue City||7||395,174.08|
Cumulatively, Wayne County towns with a total number of 17 licensed cannabis retail businesses received $959,708.48. This figure will only rise as more cities welcome commercial recreational cannabis businesses.
Decriminalizing cannabis use has significantly reduced crime rates in Wayne County. Observing data from the FBI's Crime Data Explorer, a national law enforcement data-sharing platform, proves that assertion to be true. According to the data, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office has made fewer arrests for drug possession and sale since cannabis use became legal. For example, the Sheriff's Office made a total of 34 arrests for drug possession offenses and another 9 arrests for drug sales in 2006, prior to cannabis legalization. As of 2010, 2 years after the legalization of medical cannabis, available statistics showed that the Sheriff’s Office only made 3 drug possession arrests. However, the number of arrests for drug sales observed a marginal increase, rising to 10. The number of arrests for drug possession and sale fell even further after the state decriminalized recreational cannabis. In fact, available data revealed that the Sheriff’s Office made no arrests for drug possession or sale as of 2020.