Growing marijuana in Michigan: Here's what to know about the law

You can grow up to 12 plants indoors

Marijuana plant (Pexels.com)

DETROIT - As of Dec. 6, 2018 it is legal to grow your own marijuana in the state of Michigan. 

According to the new Michigan law, a person who is at least 21 years old is allowed no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana within his or her place of residence unless any excess marijuana is stored in a container or area equipped with locks "or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the contents of the container or area."

That's how the law reads. 

Of course, while growing and using is legal, law enforcement officials are reminding residents that marijuana will be treated like alcohol: You can't drive while under the influence, and using it openly in public can get you arrested. 

But how much can you grow and where can you grow it?

Legal adults in Michigan are allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants inside their residence. That's according to the proposal language that was approved. 

According to the new law, individuals are not allowed to grow marijuana:

  • if the plants are visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids; 
  • or outside of an enclosed area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the area. 

That means you're going to want to be growing indoors, or outside in a shed or grow house. But keep in mind this is Michigan -- the weather changes rapidly. 

Meanwhile, medical marijuana caregivers in Michigan are still allowed up to five patients registered to him or her and can grow up to 12 plants for each of them. If the caregiver is also patient and has five patients, he or she can grow up to 72 marijuana plants.

Michigan is the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana. 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 compared to other states

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. 

You can't legally sell or buy marijuana in Michigan ... yet

While you can start growing, you still can't get a license to sell marijuana in Michigan. Buying and selling marijuana for recreational purposes remains illegal in the state, and it will be for at least the next 12 months. 

That's because the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) needs to issue the appropriate licenses for anyone who wants to start a recreational marijuana business. The licensing process is not expected to be completed until early 2020. 

Here are the license types that are 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

By the way ... here's why you may see the state spell marijuana as 'marihuana'

LARA offers the following explanation for why you may see the department refer to marijuana as "marihuana," substituting the "j" for an "h":

The spelling of marijuana has a long history in the United States. Michigan’s history primarily starts from the spelling that was chosen for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Michigan adopted its statutory definition of marijuana in the Public Health Code, utilizing the then current federal spelling, marihuana.

As governing state laws spell marihuana with an “h,” BMR legal communication and references to statutes in relation to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act or the Michigan Medical Facilities Licensing Act or the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act – and the corresponding administrative rules will use an “h” in the spelling of Marihuana. In non-formal communication, “j” will generally be used.

An act of the Michigan Legislature would be required in order to change the spelling of marijuana in the Michigan statutes, such as the Public Health Code or the newer marijuana laws.

For more coverage of marijuana in Michigan, go here

More: Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Michigan: Here's what it means

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