Marijuana Is Recreationally Legal In Michigan! Now What?


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  • The ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan has passed, but that doesn’t mean possession and sales of adult-use cannabis can happen overnight
  • Michigan is an at-will employment state.  Your employer still retains the right to fire based off of a failed drug test
  • Per the ballot initiative that passed, the state has two years to set up a regulatory system for adult-use cannabis.  So don’t expect to see recreational marijuana commercially available until 2020.

Last week the cannabis community earned a huge victory in the polls, but what’s next?  If you’re someone who isn’t following this years-long campaign, there must be an endless amount of questions running through your head.  Can I buy recreational marijuana now?  Can I get fired for using marijuana? When is recreational marijuana officially legal?  And so on.

When will Marijuana officially be Legal?

Unfortunately, don’t expect to be able to walk into a dispensary and buy recreational marijuana anytime soon.  The substance will be legal ten days after the election results are certified, which will most likely be some time in December.  After the vote certification, no adult age 21 and over can be arrested for the use or possession of cannabis. Michigan’s timeline for commercially available weed, however, is a bit murky.  LARA must establish regulations for the production and sale of recreational marijuana before issuing recreational licenses.

Can My Employer Still Drug Test?

One of the main aspects of Proposal One’s language states that employers still have full control over the type of marijuana policy they have.  Employers retain the right to drug screen their employees and discipline them as seen fit. Another aspect of the proposition states that landlords have the authority to ban smoking and growing on their properties.

Where Can I get Recreational Marijuana?

Shelly Edgerton, director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), says, “Our licensing and regulatory infrastructure for medical marijuana can be scaled up to incorporate the oversight of adult-use marijuana”.  If you look at Colorado’s timeline, for example, it took a little over a year before marijuana was commercially available. A safe estimate would be for recreational dispensaries to be up and running by January 2020. The good news is anyone over 21 can legally grow up to 12 plants in their home, so access is not completely limited.

How will Recreational Marijuana regulation differ from the already in place Medical Structure?

Since the passing of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act in 2008, Michigan boasts a very large and successful medical marijuana market.  This bodes well for recreational marijuana regulation as the state government is already well versed in marijuana policy to some extent.  Colorado’s system provides for an excellent comparison, as their timeline is very similar to Michigan’s, but a few years ahead. In Colorado, Medical dispensaries are allowed to sell to recreational clients, however, the dispensary must be split in half; one side is recreational only, and the other is medicinal only.  Moreover, medical marijuana traditionally has a higher THC content, so it is safe to assume Michigan will place some sort of limit on recreational marijuana potency.

Is there Potential for a Change in the Recreational Legislature?

Proposal one can be amended with a three-fourths vote in the State House of Representatives, just as any other proposal passed by the electorate.  There is speculation that they may try to amend the proposal so that cities are automatically opted out until they draft an ordinance opting in.  Other possible changes include: changing the number of plants an individual can grow at home or raising the 10% recreational marijuana excise tax.

Have more questions? Take a look at our complete breakdown of what is legal and illegal under the new law.

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