5 helpful tips for growers and users of cannabis
Understanding the current recreational marijuana laws of Michigan
Well, let’s start with the obvious (and great!) one: recreational marijuana is legal for adults over the age of 21. Yay! But that doesn’t mean anything goes when it comes to usage. We’ve thankfully come a long way from the unregulated black market days. Some of the most common questions we hear are:
Where can I use marijuana?
How much marijuana can I have?
Can I gift marijuana to someone? (Happy Birthday Grandma!)
Where can I grow marijuana?
And, of course, what do I need to do to avoid getting in trouble when using marijuana? (Always good to know because no one likes being paranoid...)
First, a brief history of marijuana legislation in Michigan:
While marijuana is still labeled a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, it became legal at the state level in 2018. In fact, Michigan led the way in the Midwest, becoming the first state to allow the personal possession and use of marijuana by persons 21 years or older under the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.
Yet despite the law passing, it wasn’t until December 1, 2019 when Michigan began to allow dispensaries to sell to customers. Some of the first businesses to get their licenses included Exclusive Brands (client), Real Leaf Solutions (also a client!), Greenstone Provisions, and Arbors Wellness.
But it wasn’t long before many enterprising entrepreneurs followed suit. As of June 2022, there are now over 500 medical cannabis dispensaries and 470 recreational dispensaries in Michigan - supported by more than 1,000 growers!
Now, let’s dive deeper into the recreational laws you should know:
Where can I smoke marijuana?
You are only allowed to use use marijuana in private, such as your own home (or that of your best buds of course), at a licensed designated consumption establishment, or licensed marijuana temporary event.
Marijuana laws share many regulations to those of the alcohol and tobacco industries. Like drinking, you’re still not allowed to consume in public areas such as the top of the slide in your favorite park or during a showing of Dazed and Confused at the theater. Additionally, landlords and/or business owners can decide to prohibit smoking cannabis (just like tobacco) on their premises. However, an important distinction here is that they cannot stop you from possessing cannabis or consuming cannabis in a manner other than smoking.
In March 2022, Hot Box Social made news by being the first cannabis consumption lounge to open in the state. This laid back lounge started by holding licensed private events before opening its doors to the public later in the summer.
Perhaps the most famous example of a licensed marijuana event is the now legendary Hash Bash held in Ann Arbor. Hash Bash first took place as a political rally in 1972, back when legalization was but a pipe dream. This year they celebrated their 50th anniversary with a street fair, live music, and a lot of good vibes.
Where can I grow marijuana?
Michigan marijuana law allows persons 21 years or older to cultivate a total of 12 plants within their residence at a time. However, there are a few stipulations:
Plants must be kept in an enclosed, secure area that is not accessible to the public. So no matter how green your thumb, it’s not a good idea to have a community garden on your property.
Plants cannot be visible from outside your property or to the unaided eye of the public.
The grow area must be closed and locked so that only you and those who have your permission can access the plants. While official, this one also is a practical no-brainer to deter any potential bud bandits.
So can I grow marijuana outside?
Similar to the rules listed above regarding indoor cultivation, the key is that the plants cannot be visible ‘to the unaided eye.’ As they say: “Good fences make good neighbors.” And this is especially true for anyone that could potentially see your crop “from an adjacent property or at ground level from a permanent structure.”
Additional legal details about growing outside include:
Marijuana must be grown within a stationary structure that is enclosed on all sides by chain-link fencing, wooden slats, or a similar material that prevents access by the general public. The structure must also be anchored, attached, or fixated to the ground.
Outdoor growing operations must be located on land that is owned, leased, or rented by the grower. Most importantly, the operation must be equipped with functioning locks or other security devices that restrict access to only the grower who owns, leases, or rents the property.
After the cannabis is harvested, all day drying, trimming, curing, and packaging must occur inside the building.
How do I avoid getting in trouble when using marijuana?
While law enforcement has come a long way from some of the troublesome war on drugs policies, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t still ramifications for those that break the laws. Here are some important tenets to be aware of:
Possession in or within 1,000 feet of a park is either a felony or a misdemeanor, based on the judge's discretion. While many judges have become more lenient in their rulings (we're still not condoning this at all!) breaking the rule is still punishable by a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000.
An adult may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana; up to 15 grams of marijuana may be concentrate. (Good to know if you're trying to save up a stash in your post-apocalypse bunker).
Within a residence, an adult may possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana and any marijuana cultivated on their premises.
If you find yourself in a sticky situation, here's a detailed breakdown of Michigan's penalities:
Possession Penalties for Personal Use:
Up to 2.5 oz on your person
Up to 10 oz in the home
More than 2.5 0z up to 5 oz (first offense)
More than 5 0z (first offense)
Less than 12 plants for personal use
12-24 plants for personal use
25-200 plants for personal use
More than 200 plants for personal use
*A term of imprisonment may be imposed if "the violation was habitual, willful, and for a commercial purpose or the violation involved violence"
Sale or Distribution Penalties
An adult may transfer up to 2.5 oz of marijuana to another adult as long as there is no remuneration and the transfer is not advertised or promoted to the public.
Distribution of less than 2.5 0z without remuneration
Distribution of less than 5 oz without remuneration
Sale of less than 5kg
Sale of 5kg-45kg
45kg or more
Can I give marijuana as a gift to someone?
It’s illegal to distribute or sell marijuana without a business license. But what if you’re thinking of a way to elevate your stocking stuffers or celebrate your friend who happened to be born on April 20? The good news is that on a personal level, you’re in the clear as long as you keep the amount you give under that 2.5 oz level. Although they’d have to be a REALLY good friend to get that much...
The rules around gifting marijuana are mostly geared towards businesses. In an interview with Fox17, attorney Bob Hendricks lays out the example of a dispensary gifting a customer an ounce with the purchase of some other, non-regulated product like a T-shirt or bong. While this is legal, it’s a process to do with caution. Gifting marijuana (for both businesses and individuals) is NOT allowed if:
It is in exchange for any donation for any purpose, including charitable donations or any donation made to gain admission to any event. So if the bouncer at the Wiz Khalifa concert asks for blunt, do NOT comply.
It’s at any location, other than a dispensary facility, retailer, hybrid-retailer, or any location that requires any form of payment, including membership in any club, to gain admission to the location.
It’s part of any giveaway associated with attendance at any event, including a door prize, goodie bag, or swag bag.
It is medical marijuana.
If you’re interested in more in-depth information on gifting, you can review some ‘lite’ reading in Section 2 of Public Act 22-103.
As a business that exists to facilitate the secure transport and storage of marijuana in Michigan, we are stoked that cannabis can be used as a great form of enjoyment and treatment in our state. However, we equally know that in order to keep marijuana as safe and available as possible it’s important to know the ‘cans’ and ‘cannots’ of the Michigan Marijuana Act and all other related legislation. Which is why we go above and beyond to stay up to date to ensure our services are ALWAYS compliant with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) as well as all licenses, permits, insurance and bonding required by the state.
We hope that these answers have helped you feel more confident about your knowledge of the plant, whether you’re a user, a grower, a cannabis related business, or simply cannabis-curious :)
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