Michigan becomes first Midwest state to legalize recreational marijuana

Michigan voters first approved medical marijuana in 2008

Marijuana in a jar (Pexels)

DETROIT – Medical marijuana was first approved by Michigan voters back in 2008. 

In that election, 63 percent of Michigan voters approved medical marijuana, making it the 13th state to legalize medical cannabis.

Now after Tuesday's general election, Michigan is the 10th state to approve a measure to legalize recreational marijuana, and the first in the Midwest.

“Michigan will be the first state in the Midwest to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated for adult use,” Marijuana Policy Project deputy director Matthew Schweich, who directed the legalization campaign, said in a statement. “Adults will no longer be punished for consuming a substance less harmful than alcohol, and rather than having to resort to the illegal market, they will be able to access it safely and legally from licensed businesses.”

The proposal passed 55 percent "yes" to 44 percent "no." The official vote total is 2,285,364 in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan. 

READ: Recreational marijuana legalized in Michigan: When will it be legal, what's next?

Here are the other states where recreational marijuana is legal and when it was made legal: 

  • Alaska (2014)
  • California (2018)
  • Colorado (2012)
  • Maine (2016)
  • Massachusetts (2016)
  • Nevada (2016)
  • Oregon (2015)
  • Vermont (2018)
  • Washington (2012)
  • *District of Columbia (legal, but not for commercial sales -- 2014)

Growing marijuana in Michigan

Michigan is one of only two states, the other being Alaska, where households are allowed to grow 12 marijuana plants. Most of those states listed above allow only six plants per household.

In Alaska, households are allowed to grow 12 plants if at least two adults (21 and older) live in the household. In Michigan, any household with at least one adult 21 and older is allowed to grow 12 plants. That makes Michigan's household marijuana cultivation law the least strict out of all of the states. This could change depending on how the final law is written, but it's what voters approved on Tuesday. 


What happens next?

It may take a month for recreational marijuana to officially become legal in the state of Michigan. It may take another year before the state issues licenses for businesses to legally sell marijuana. 

For instance, Colorado voters approved recreational marijuana legalization in their state in 2012, but it didn't officially become legal to sell it until January 2014. Colorado voters passed their initiative on Nov. 6, 2012 and had to wait a month until a new state amendment went into effect on Dec. 6, 2012, making marijuana officially legal in Colorado. 

However, as stated, businesses were not legally allowed to sell marijuana until Jan. 1, 2014. That's the kind of timeframe we could be looking at in Michigan. But it all depends on the legislature. 

In Colorado, the state legislature had to create laws for marijuana use, driving and traveling, specific youth laws, laws for home growing, and more. As would be the case in Michigan, Colorado allows municipalities to pass their own stricter marijuana laws. 

That means your city, or village or township, can decide not to allow the sale of recreational marijuana. 

Full coverage: Marijuana in Michigan


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.