Marijuana in Michigan: You can legally grow it and use it, but you can't buy it

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Michigan

DETROIT - Recreational marijuana is now legal in Michigan. 

Dec. 6, 2018 is the first day marijuana can legally be used -- recreationally -- in Michigan since voters approved the proposal in the November midterm election. Of course, medical marijuana has been legal for nearly a decade in Michigan since voters approved that measure back in 2008. 

Now Michigan adults who are 21 and older can legally use and grow marijuana recreationally -- up to 12 plants per household. But 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. 

Meanwhile, 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. 

Here are the license types that would 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

READ: How Michigan's potential marijuana legalization compares to other states

Municipalities may choose to ban recreational marijuana facilities, meaning your community may not consider the sale of marijuana legal despite the state law. 

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

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. 

Timeframe: Colorado law, as an example

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. 

To read more about marijuana laws in Colorado, go here

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