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Even the Best Laid Plans.....

It’s Legal Now - Right?

Yeah - kind of.

Michigan recently became the 10th state to make it legal for adults to consume marijuana.   I think we all know that by now, but consuming marijuana will not become legal in Michigan until The Board of Canvassers has certified the election.  This needs to be done by November 26, and the law will not go into effect until 10 days after that happens - so sometime in early December, just in time for the holiday stresses and festivities, we will be able to legally consume marijuana.  There are questions and misconceptions out there still surrounding the new law. I can answer a few of them for you.

Will we be able to legally buy marijuana at that time?

No, not yet.

Retail shops will not be allowed to open for probably a year.  The state needs time to come up with the rules and regulations for the shops and the producers.  The good news is that the newly elected governor s in favor or legalization so she may be able to push the agenda through quickly.  The better news is that with the wording of the newly passed law, the businesses will not have as many hoops as the medical marijuana businesses had to jump through in order to be licensed.   I think many people are wondering if they will be able to purchase from the few medical dispensaries are that are open. No, you will not be able to purchase medical marijuana unless you have a card.  A caregiver is also not allowed to sell to anyone unless they have a card. The caregiver may be able to give you some though.

What about licensing for recreational marijuana?

Those businesses that already have medical marijuana licenses have first dibs on obtaining a recreational license.  That is probably why there was such a backlog in the medical marijuana licensing process - well, maybe other reasons were in play as well there.

Can I smoke in the car?

It is the same as it is with alcohol.  You cannot smoke and drive, and neither can your passenger.  How long after you have smoked can you drive? That is still kind of up in the air, but if an officer thinks you are impaired, you will probably face some consequences.  Play it safe and call Uber Eats if you need a snack. With the new law, you will be able to carry marijuana in your car as long as it falls within the stated limits, and it will not have to be locked up.  Use your head though and don’t have it in the seat next to you as you are you are driving down the road. Best practice would be to keep in in the trunk or at least out of reach.

Can I  be fired from my job?

You sure can.  If a test comes back positive your employer has the right to fire you if it is against their policy and they can choose to not hire someone too.  The new law does not give you any protections in regards to your employment. If you do contract work for the federal government you are prohibited from consuming marijuana.

How much can I have?

You can have 2.5 oz on you, 10 oz at home, locked up, and 12 plants for personal use.  If you rent, your landlord can tell you that you are not allowed to smoke or have it on their property.

Growing Your Own Marijuana

If you choose to grow your own plants, the plants cannot be 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 security devices restricting access.’  In general, be courteous to your neighbors, and learn about cultivation and do so in an environmentally conscious way.

What does the new law mean for law enforcement?

It means that they will be able to use their few resources for other, more serious crimes.  It also means that cases that are coming up may not go to trial and it is very likely we will see expungement of previous convictions.

You said the law could still change.  How?

It would be tough, but if the law could still be changed if ¾ of both the House and the Senate voted to make changes.  

Locally, officials can further limit, regulate or even ban marijuana businesses from their communities.  Currently, a marijuana company must obtain approval from the community in which they want to operate before they are given a state license.  A local municipality cannot prohibit you from using marijuana if you are doing it within the law.

Will we see changes right away?

Yes!  We already have.  Two days after the election the Kent County Prosecutor said they will no longer be prosecuting any pending cases that involve possession or use of marijuana.  Cases that involve 17-20-year-olds, driving impaired or possession with the intent to sell may still be prosecuted because these will all still be illegal under Proposal 1.

Rose Jacobsen