Michigan’s adult-use marijuana law takes effect Thursday. Here’s what you need to know.
The wait is nearly over for Michigan residents eager for the state’s new adult-use marijuana law to take effect.
On Thursday, just 30 days after state voters said yes to Proposal 1, a lot of what’s been illegal about marijuana suddenly becomes legal in Michigan.
But what exactly happens? Here are answers to key questions about recreational pot in Michigan:
So on Dec. 6, I can legally own and use pot in Michigan?
Yes, if you’re in Michigan and are 21 or older, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana anywhere, anytime, said Josh Hovey, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. That means you could legally have it in your car, or in your bag if you drop by the courthouse on business.
But you cannot consume it in your vehicle or in public. Using pot in a public place is prohibited, as is smoking it where it’s prohibited by whoever owns or manages the property.
And while you can have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, no more than 15 grams of it can be in the form of a marijuana concentrate.
Also, the new law will allow you to possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana in your home. Any amount over 2.5 ounces must be locked away.
Where will I be able to buy marijuana?
Nowhere yet, not until retail shops open sometime in 2020.
Until then, the law allows one adult to give for free up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana to another adult. Also, if you live in Michigan, you will be able to grow marijuana in your home as of Thursday.
Adult-use retail marijuana shops probably won’t open until the first quarter of 2020, according to David Harns, public information officer with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Business license applications will be available by Dec. 6, 2019, Harns said.
The law was written to facilitate adding retail cannabis onto medical marijuana businesses, in order to speed setting up the retail system, according to Hovey.
Some medical marijuana provisioning centers could open in nearby towns like Niles and Buchanan before 2020, but they would be open only to registered Michigan patients.
And whether those potential medical cannabis locations or different businesses would be able to sell adult-use marijuana would be up to the cities.
What’s the news about opting out?
Niles City Council already voted to opt out of retail marijuana sales for the time being, while Buchanan delayed a possible opt-out vote. Niles Charter Township board is expected to discuss the issue, but it’s unclear when.
If a municipality does not want adult-use marijuana businesses, the board or council has to vote to opt out of the law, Matt Bach, director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League, said.
This is the opposite of the medical marijuana commercial business law, which required municipalities to opt in if they wanted to allow the businesses.
The new adult-use law indicates municipalities could have up to a year from the law’s effective date to opt out before retail businesses might start applying for licenses, but it’s a little fuzzy.
Bach said the municipal league is advising its 520 members to consult with their municipal attorneys and decide what’s right for their town.
Niles Charter Township Supervisor Jim Stover said that since the township does not allow medical marijuana businesses, it might opt out of allowing retail marijuana businesses as well. He said the issue will be discussed before a vote is taken.
“Our lawyer hasn’t said it [opting out] must be done immediately,” Stover said.
Can I possess and use pot in Michigan if I live in Indiana?
Yes, according to Hovey. As long as you are 21 or older and are in Michigan, you can legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, and you can consume it, if you are not in a public place. So don’t light up in your car or in the park. When retail marijuana shops open, you’ll be able to buy at them, too, even if you are a Hoosier, as long as you can prove you’re 21 or older, Hovey said. Remember, though, that as soon as you cross the state line back into Indiana, it is illegal to possess or consume marijuana.
What about driving?
Driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance is illegal, and if your driving is impaired, police say you could be arrested, in Michigan or Indiana.
Will old pot charges be dropped?
Maybe, maybe not. County prosecutors have discretion on what to do and many are exercising it differently.
In Kalamazoo County, for instance, the prosecutor is dismissing pending cases where the alleged crime becomes legal under the new pot law.
But in Cass County, Prosecutor Victor Fitz says he will not dismiss any pending cases because the law is not retroactive.
Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Steven Pierangeli said his office will not dismiss any current charges even after the law takes effect. Charges will be handled on a “case-by-case basis seeking a just result,” according to Pierangeli.
Can I grow it at home?
Yes. The new Michigan law allows you to grow up to 12 cannabis plants in your home. That means a maximum of 12 plants per household, not 12 plants per adult. The 12 plants are not included in the 10-ounce home possession limit, Hovey said.
Lush Lighting, south of Niles, carries agricultural supplies and equipment to cultivate all types of plants. Owners Matt and Renae Johnson are marijuana legalization advocates and can offer advice on growing cannabis.
Matt Johnson said the business has seen a 20-percent jump in sales since Proposal 1 passed on Nov. 6. But he also thinks most people who’ve wanted to grow marijuana probably already are doing so by being registered under the existing medical marijuana law.
A place like Lush Lighting can sell you the tools to start growing, but it can’t sell you the plants or seeds.
If someone is looking to start legally growing their own plants at home, then they need to know someone who already has the plants or seeds and see if the person will give them a few, according to Hovey.
Clone Star LLC
As a first time grower, there is one basic decision you need to make before starting your new venture. Do you plan to raise your plants from seeds or by using clones? You may not have even realized that there are two methods for growing cannabis plants. Each one has its pros and cons, and choosing the right option can mean the difference between success and failure. This information about each technique should help you decide which is right for you.
GROWING FROM CLONES
A clone is a cutting from a mature cannabis plant which can be replanted and raised to produce buds. It might seem simple to raise a plant from a clone that has already partially developed, but it can actually be much more difficult than growing a seed from scratch. For one thing, all plants are highly susceptible to diseases such as fungus or infestation by bugs. A clone is the exact genetic image of the mother plant it came from, so if the mother had any health issues, the cutting will also suffer. As a first time grower, you may not have the experience or know-how to deal with these problems, and the plant may die.
The condition of the clone can pose other obstacles. A freshly cut clone needs a lot of tender loving care, and when it’s first replanted it will be extremely sensitive. An initial period of transplant shock is to be expected, and it will need very specific amounts of light and nutrients to nurse it through this phase. Transplant failure is all too common, and a new grower may struggle to keep young clones healthy.
Another major problem with using clones is that they can be hard to find. You will need access to a mature mother plant and, of course, permission to take a cutting. In this event, how can you guarantee what strain of cannabis you’re getting? Will it be any good? This will be a mystery until you’re finally ready to test it. Some clones are available for purchase online, but this is an extremely risky way to buy plants. Shipping clones can be traumatic for them, and you’re likely to receive a clone in poor health. Commercially sold plants are sometimes treated with pesticides or fungicides, and a clone from these plants will contain these elements as well.
The only tangible benefit of using the cloning method for a new grower is that the plant is already farther along in development than a seed would be, and you can hope for an actual yield sooner. If time is not an issue, this may not matter to you at all. It usually only shortens the entire growing cycle by about a month. In addition, most people find that they really enjoying the experience of learning to raise a cannabis plant from its earliest stages. It’s a bit like experiencing a birth, and you can be proud of your adult plant once it flowers knowing that you grew it from seed on your own.
CHOOSING SEEDS FOR GROWING
Starting new plants from seeds is probably a more hassle-free, guaranteed method for inexperienced growers. If growing a plant from a tiny seed sounds intimidating, you can rest easy that it actually poses far less difficulties than using clones.
Firstly, there are great places like Clone Star LLC that offer a tried and true product that you can count on. There’s no guesswork with seeds from a seed bank. By having control over what variety you purchase, you’ll already know what you’re getting as far as the strain of the cannabis. This means you won’t waste any time on a low-quality plant. Clone Star LLC also offers feminized cannabis seeds. Feminized seeds yield female plants exclusively, and since only the female plants produce buds, you can be assured that your money isn’t being thrown away on plants you can’t use.
Another reason that starting plants from seeds is optimal is because it’s simply what is natural to the cannabis plant itself. Marijuana is an annual plant, meaning that its life in its natural environment is only around a year long. Marijuana plants are simply not genetically engineered to remain active and flowering for longer periods of time, so a clone from a mature plant may already be getting old and could yield less buds than seeds.
Finally, a plant grown from seed will have a hearty root structure. For those of you completely unfamiliar with gardening of any kind, a tap root is the central part of a plant’s entire root system, extending deep into the surrounding soil and absorbing large amounts of nutrients. A clone is incapable of growing a tap root and may never be as strong and healthy as a plant grown from seed, which will develop its own tap root.
Though growing from clones might have at one time been popular, growers concerned with the singular quality of their plants are moving back to a method of growing from seeds. One look at the extensive select premium seeds available online may convince you that the seed method is the best route to success as a new grower.
The Choice Is Yours
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20 Questions and Answers for Michigan Adult Recreational Use of Marijuana
The new Legalization law is for adults 21+, just like alcohol is for adults 21+ in Michigan. Treat marijuana like alcohol, by locking it up at home, not consuming it in public or in cars, not possessing it on school grounds and not giving it to people under 21.
If you have any questions or wish to get into the cannabis business industry, call my office to get started or we can also consult existing businesses to maximize profits and minimize risk 800-656-3557.
Note that the following is not legal advice, just common sense plain readings of the law. If you want legal advice on the new law, please call our office to schedule an appointment.
The Court of Appeals had made absurd results of plain readings of the MMMA law for years until the bad case law opinions were reversed by the Michigan Supreme Court. To err on the side of judiciary absurdity, we will be going with the most conservative reading in order to maximize your protections.
Said another way, “Don’t be the first person to end up in court testing the limits of the laws.”
What are the rules for driving/transporting legal marijuana?
An adult 21+ can transport 2.5 ounces of marijuana in public or in a car, but not on the “grounds of a public or private school where children attend classes in preschool programs, kindergarten programs, or grades 1 through 12, in a school bus, or on the grounds of any correctional facility” (prison, court?, jail).
Do the 2.5 ounces have to be dried? Wet?
There is no requirement in the act for the marijuana to be dried or wet. The MRTMA law has no difference between wet and dry marijuana weight either.
Prosecutors and Courts have gone to absurd results at the “usable marihuana” language in the MMMA. Using technical violations and wording logic, prosecutors have instructed police to arrest patients and caregivers, instead of giving them protections from the law. It remains to be seen what will happen in the future with the new MRTMA law.
What about transporting plants / clones?
The law is silent on this issue. However section 17 states “This act shall be broadly construed to accomplish its intent as stated in section 2 of this act.”
While section 2 states “Sec. 2. The purpose of this act is to make marihuana legal under state and local law for adults 21 years of age or older.” and “The intent is to prevent arrest and penalty for personal possession and cultivation of marihuana by adults 21 years of age or older”
What this means is that, hopefully, police and prosecutors will not bother adults 21+ who transport their 12 clones or seedlings around. But to be safe, you should consider transporting only seeds until the police, attorney general and prosecutors settle down. Will there be a fight or is marijuana legal legal? After seeing the fight against Medical Marijuana for the last 10 years, it is difficult to say.
I am a MMMA Patient and Caregiver, can I grow my 12 plants in the MMMA with my 12 plants in the new MRTMA law?
To be safe, you should either stick to the MMMA or the MRTMA law and not try to combine them until the new Attorney General and courts have made some opinions on it.
I am a patient, should I keep my card or use MRTMA protections instead?
The MMMA has 10 years of case law and absolute immunities upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court. MRTMA does not. While the language in MRTMA mirrors or is very similar to the MMMA, we cannot predict the future.
MMMA and MMFLA provisioning centers are open right now to sell marihuana to patients and caregivers. MRTMA businesses are not open and will not be open for at least 1 year.
This means that as a patient, you have the ability to buy from a provisioning center now, whereas an adult 21+ does not have that ability.
Also, caregivers are allowed to sell to their registered connected patients. Caregivers are not allowed to sell to adults 21+. This means as an adult 21+ you cannot get marihuana from a caregiver either.
A patient card will increase your ability to acquire marihuana, for at least the next year.
As an adult 21+, I can grow 12 plants?
Yes, per house can only have 12 plants. So if you have 4 adults 21+ at one house, you can still only have 12 plants at that house.
What are the rules on growing 12 plants?
Within the person’s residence … cultivating not more than 12 marihuana plants for personal use, provided that no more than 12 marihuana plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed on the premises at once.
Remember the laws are for personal use of marijuana, you are not growing for others.
You must not allow the public to see your plants, or drying / curing buds, or you trimming plants.
This act does not allow “Cultivating (propagate, breed, grow, harvest, dry, cure, or separate parts of the marihuana plant by manual or mechanical means) marihuana plants if the plants are visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids.”
This means you should use crop cloth or privacy screen to make sure no one can see your plants growing, if outdoors.
Drying, curing, trimming, harvesting, growing or breeding plants must be done inside “an enclosed area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the area”.
How much marijuana am I allowed to keep at home?
2.5 ounces of marijuana unlocked and “excess marihuana 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.”
Possibly, “excess marihuana” is “not more than 10 ounces of marihuana”. “excess marihuana” could be marijuana gifted by other adults 21+ or bought in MRTMA stores (not yet operational).
AND you are allowed to keep all marihuana produced by your 12 plants on your premises.
“any marihuana produced by marihuana plants cultivated on the premises and cultivating not more than 12 marihuana plants for personal use, provided that no more than 12 marihuana plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed on the premises at once;”
BUT “not more than 15 grams of marihuana may be in the form of marihuana concentrate”. “Marihuana concentrate” means the resin extracted from any part of the plant of the genus cannabis.
“Marihuana” means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, growing or not; the seeds of the plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin, including marihuana concentrate and marihuana-infused products. For purposes of this act, marihuana does not include:
(1) the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, except the resin extracted from those stalks, fiber, oil, or cake, or any sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination;
(2) industrial hemp; or
(3) any other ingredient combined with marihuana to prepare topical or oral administrations, food, drink, or other products.
Will this MRTMA legalization law affect the MMMA?
No. the MRTMA law specifically says:
“This act does not limit any privileges, rights, immunities, or defenses of a person as provided in the Michigan medical marihuana act, 2008 IL 1, MCL 333.26421 to 333.26430, the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, 2016 PA 281, MCL 333.27101 to 333.27801, or any other law of this state allowing for or regulating marihuana for medical use.”
Where can I smoke marijuana?
Any private property where the owner of the property allows smoking.
Do not smoke in “a public place”, parking lots, parks, rivers, roads, sidewalks etc.
I can give marijuana to my friend?
Gifting of marijuana to other adults 21+ is allowed.
Adults 21+ can legally “giving away or otherwise transferring without remuneration up to 2.5 ounces of marihuana, except that not more than 15 grams of marihuana may be in the form of marihuana concentrate, to a person 21 years of age or older, as long as the transfer is not advertised or promoted to the public.”
Can my friend help me grow or trim my plants?
Adults 21+ can help other adults 21+ to grow, process, transport, possess, use, trim, extract or other conduct allowed in Section 5.
Sec 5.1 c “assisting another person who is 21 years of age or older in any of the acts described in this section”
Can I use butane to make extracts or wax?
MRTMA bans butane extractions in the “curtilage of any residential structure”.
Sec 4.1 (d) “separation of plant resin by butane extraction or another method that utilizes a substance with a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit in any public place, motor vehicle, or within the curtilage of any residential structure”
I have a past conviction for marijuana, can I have my record expunged?
Yes! Even the new incoming governor has said she wants to expunge past marijuana convictions. Call my office today to get prepared and started for when the official expungements begin. 800-656-3557
I want to get a microbusiness license. What are the requirements?
The requirements for licensing have not yet been determined by the department. Since MRTMA was based on MMFLA language, it is speculated that the MMFLA rules will be used.
I am a landlord and do not want my renters smoking marijuana.
The MRTMA law allows you to prohibit smoking of marijuana in your property. “This act allows a person to prohibit or otherwise regulate the consumption, cultivation, distribution, processing, sale, or display of marihuana and marihuana accessories on property the person owns, occupies, or manages, except that a lease agreement may not prohibit a tenant from lawfully possessing and consuming marihuana by means other than smoking.”
My city banned marijuana businesses, the closest location would be 50 miles from me!
Sec 6.1 says in part “Individuals may petition to initiate an ordinance to provide for the number of marihuana establishments allowed within a municipality or to completely prohibit marihuana establishments within a municipality, and such ordinance shall be submitted to the electors of the municipality at the next regular election when a petition is signed by qualified electors in the municipality in a number greater than 5% of the votes cast for governor by qualified electors in the municipality at the last gubernatorial election. A petition under this subsection is subject to section 488 of the Michigan election law, 1954 PA 116, MCL 168.488.”
Can I take or mail my cannabis to Canada, from Canada, or to or from other states?
No, you really should not. The border crossing area to Canada is federal land and there are currently no protections for recreational marijuana laws in federal law. There is some MMMA protection in the DOJ appropriations blocking the Department of Justice from using funds against state-legal compliant medical marijuana patients.
If you are travelling to another medical or recreational marijuana state, just buy it there. No reason to make a federal case out of it.
Is it ok to leave my cannabis unlocked in my house?
Remember, if a person under 21 can access your marijuana, under current drug case law, he constructively possesses the drug. Which could land that young person in trouble with the law. If you have family in your house, make sure to lock up your marijuana and keep the key or combo to yourself.
What about my 2 nd amendment right to own a firearm? Can I also possess marijuana?
The federal government has issued various open letters against people owning firearms with medical marijuana. This also applies to recreational and legalization of marijuana. The senate and house have introduced bills to make this not apply in legal states, however the bills have not been voted on yet.
May I purchase a gun if I am a medical marijuana patient in the database?
The medical marijuana authorization database is in no way connected to any other system and does not affect your right to purchase or carry a gun. However, under federal law, marijuana possession is illegal for both recreational and medical use. The federal law affects gun ownership. It is unlawful for a firearms dealer to sell or give a gun to a person who uses or is addicted to a controlled substance that is illegal under federal law.
All of Michigan falls within the 100 mile international border area, does this mean federal agents can arrest me for possession and or cultivation?
Yes unfortunately. Again, having a patient card will protect you as long as the appropriation rider congress renews is in effect.
What about hemp?
Dec 6 th , growing industrial hemp will be legal. LARA shall issue rules and regulations related to the growing and processing of industrial hemp. In order to stay legal and safe, it is advised to use the best practices utilized in other states hemp laws; Including using a known hemp seed source.
If you want to get involved with hemp, please contact Komorn Law.
About Komorn Law
Komorn Law has represented numerous clients through the legal chaos of starting up a business in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Industry as well as consulting and legal representation for Medical Maruhuana Patients and Caregivers.
If you or someone you know has been arrested as a result of Medical Marijuana, DUI, Drugs, Forfeiture, Criminal Enterprise or any other criminal charges please contact our office and ensure you’re defended by an experienced lawyer.
Attorney Michael Komorn is recognized as an expert on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act . He is the President of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA), a nonprofit patient advocacy group which advocates for the rights of medical marijuana patients and their caregivers.
Contact us for a free no-obligation case evaluation 800-656-3557.