Is Weed Legal in Michigan? | Cannabis Legalization

Is recreational cannabis legal in Michigan? Is medicinal marijuana legal in Michigan? What about Michigan's CBD laws? Find out about the weed laws in Michigan in this article.

We note that the subject contained in this article represents illegal activity in certain jurisdictions. Whilst we do not condone any acts which are contrary to any such laws, we understand that readers in those jurisdictions which have decriminalised cannabis may find this article of interest.

Set in the beautiful Great Lakes district in the north of the United States, Michigan is a state with a bloody history. Settled originally by the French in the 17th century, the state was part of the Royal Province of New France until the fall of the French rule in the mid 18th century.

In 1774, Michigan became part of the British province of Quebec, and was used as an important British supply centre during the American Revolutionary War. In 1812, an American attempt at capturing Michigan resulted in one of the bloodiest battles in the state's history – the River Raisin Massacre. A year later, the Americans were successful in taking Michigan at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Modern day Michigan is a far cry from its fighting past. At the turn of the 20th century, Michigan was the epicentre of technological advances in the automobile industry and created huge population growth in the state. The word Michigan comes from the Ojibwe word mishigami, meaning large water or large lake. 

The two distinct landmasses of Michigan are connected via the 8 kilometer Mackinac Bridge. 'Big Mac' was opened in 1957 and is the world's 24th longest bridge. It connects the southern city of Mackinaw City to the northern St Ignace.

Plenty of lives have been lost in the line marking of Michigan territories. Have these lives resulted in the freedom to get high?

Is recreational cannabis legal in Michigan?

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act came into effect in December 2018 and authorised recreational purchase and consumption of cannabis. By December 2019, the first legal dispensaries were open to the public. 

The initiative was first put to the Michigan state government in 2018, where it passed with 56% of the vote, making Michigan the 10th U.S state to legalise recreational marijuana. Prior to the statewide act coming into effect, many states in Michigan decriminalised cannabis or made it the lowest priority for the city. Ann Arbor was the first city to take a stance on cannabis possession back in the 1970s, where they took a vote to reduce cannabis possession to a civil infraction carrying only a small fine.

Adults 21 years and over can legally purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, with no more than 15 grams of cannabis concentrates. All legal marijuana must be purchased from licensed cannabis retail stores.

Adults may possess up to a total of 10 ounces of cannabis within their residences, but anything over the 2.5 ounce limit must be stored in a separate, lockable container. It is also legal to own up to 12 cannabis plants which must be kept in private residences.

Similar to Oregon and Colorado, it is legal to give away legally purchased weed to another adult, so long as it does not exceed the possession limits of 2.5 ounces, no more than 15 grams of concentrates, but adults who do so must not let it be publicly known.

Cannabis can only be consumed within private residences and property owners have the right to ban usage on their property. There is a statewide ban on vaping due to the correlation between vape users and lung disease. In addition to consumption restriction, cannabis cannot be possessed on school grounds, school buses or correctional facility grounds. Although the act allows for licensed cannabis smoking venues, there are yet to be any establishments take up the offer.

Is medicinal marijuana legal in Michigan?

The Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative passed in 2008 with 63% of the vote, legalising medicinal marijuana. Michigan was the 13th U.S state to legalise medicinal marijuana, despite facing opposition from local law enforcement and vocal 'Drug Czar' John P. Walters, who is against decriminalisation and legalisation of marijuana.

The act didn't explicitly allow legal dispensaries, and in 2013, the Supreme Court of Michigan ruled that dispensaries were not permitted under the act. There were 75-100 dispensaries open at the time. It wasn't until 2016 that a reform came into effect which allowed legal dispensaries, added tax on cannabis sales and legalised non-smoking forms of cannabis including edibles, topicals and concentrates.

In order to qualify for a medicinal marijuana card, patients must get a signature from their physician which certifies their debilitating medical condition. Michigan has an extensive list of qualifying conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, autism, cerebral palsy, obsessive compulsive disorder, spinal cord injury and Tourette's syndrome.

In addition to these conditions, any condition which presents one or more serious symptoms such as cachexia, chronic pain or severe nausea can also qualify.

Michigan also has a Medical Marihuana Review Panel in action, and patients may petition to the panel in order to add a condition to the list.

The legal possession limits for medicinal marijuana patients are very similar to the recreational cannabis limits. Patients may purchase and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis, and cultivate up to 12 plants on their personal property and out of the view of the public.

Medicinal cannabis must be purchased from legal dispensaries, and the laws in Michigan also allow these dispensaries to engage in home delivery, increasing accessibility for severely affected patients.

Is CBD legal in Michigan?

Back in 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into law, permitting the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products nationwide. These CBD products can be sold to the public without a specific licence, so long as they contain no more than 0.5% of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

So what does CBD do if you can't get high?

CBD products have a range of health benefits, and have become popular therapies in the U.K, with an increase in cafes and bars serving CBD products.

Trials are even underway to see if CBD could be used when treating opioid addictions. Opioid use disorder has been deemed a national crisis by the American Psychiatric Association, following increases in legal and illegal opioid use resulting in overdose deaths.

CBD products can reduce inflammation – which makes them a great option for professional athletes. UFC have even teamed up with a CBD company to test their products on wound healing and recovery for athletes. There are plenty of ways to consume CBD, including oils and tinctures, topical creams and edibles. If you're interested in increasing your quality of sleep, quitting your smoking or drinking habits, or reducing anxiety, maybe CBD is worth a try.

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Laura Desmond
Laura Desmond

Laura Desmond is an Adelaide-based writer with a keen interest in the arts, gender politics and social change. She is currently working to obtain a Master in Writing through Swinburne University.

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