DETROIT – Michigan voters have approved a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana, making it the first state in the Midwest to do such.
Michigan now will become the 10th state in the union to legally allow the use, cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana. As with the use and sale of alcohol, legal marijuana will be restricted to individuals 21 and older.
This vote to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan comes just 10 years after Michigan voters approved medical marijuana. In 2008, 63 percent of Michigan voters approved medical marijuana, making it the 13th state to legalize medical cannabis.
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 business 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 recreation marijuana.
What the new law will do
According to the initiative language, the new marijuana laws in Michigan will:
- Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.
- Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers.
- Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them.
- Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10 percent tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.
- Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.
Strength of the marijuana to be regulated
Under the proposed law, recreational marijuana sold by a licensed business would be tested by the state to regulate a maximum THC level. There will also be "a requirement that the amount of marihuana or marihuana concentrate contained within a marihuana-infused product be specified on the product label."
Growing your own marijuana
You will be allowed to grow no more than 12 plants at your home. If you have a license you will be allowed to legally grow more.
Here are the license types that are expected to be offered:
- Marijuana retailer
- Marijuana safety compliance facility
- Marijuana secure transporter
- Marijuana processor
- Marijuana microbusiness
- Class A marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100 marijuana plants
- Class B marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500 marijuana plants
- Class C marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000 marijuana plants
How will it be taxed?
It is expected to be taxed at 10 percent, plus the existing 6 percent sales tax. Analysts suggest that recreational marijuana sales in Michigan could exceed nearly $1 billion a year.
Where will that tax money go?
Revenue splits are supposed to be as follows:
- 35 percent to education
- 35 percent to roads
- 30 percent to cities and counties with marijuana businesses