Recently Passed Michigan Cannabis Legalization Takes Effect

Michigan voters passed a measure legalizing recreational cannabis use November of 2018. Less than a month later on the state has already begun its legal recreational cannabis program. Beginning on Thursday, December 6th, 2018, Michigan citizens over the age of 21 are legally permitted to possess and consume cannabis for recreational purposes. The Michigan cannabis legalization measure passed with more than 56% of the vote during the 2018 midterm elections.

What Will Michigan Cannabis Legalization Look Like

Proposal One, as it is known, allows for the possession and transportation of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, including up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrate at a time, and up to 10 ounces of cannabis in a nonpublic place. Residents are also now permitted to grow up to 12 plants at home, so long as those plants are not visible to the public. The proposal makes clear that consuming cannabis in public and driving while under the influence of cannabis is strictly outlawed. Though cannabis use and possession is now legal, Michigan officials will not likely have any dispensaries open until 2020.

One very underreported aspect of Proposal One is that the cultivation of industrial hemp is now legal in Michigan. Industrial hemp cultivation has been a popular topic of discussion in the United States of late as it has a chance to be legalized federally once the Farm Bill of 2018 passes. The United States House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on the new Farm Bill so it is no longer a matter of if, but when industrial hemp is legalized. It looks as though Michigan may have been just ahead of the curve when it comes to the legalization of hemp growth.

Questions Remain

There are some who are critical of the Proposal’s lack of language addressing the toll that cannabis prohibition in Michigan has taken. The bill does not provide a framework for the expungement or overturning of cannabis-related convictions. However, incoming Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer stated during a news conference in Detroit, “For conduct that now would be considered legal, no one should bear a lifetime record.” Whitmer said that as governor she will look at granting clemency for some of the many thousands of Michigan citizens who are in prison for cannabis-related convictions.

Only time will tell just how successful Michigan cannabis legalization as there are still many questions to be answered. While the program is still in its infancy, Michigan’s legal cannabis program will be watched by many considering it is the first Midwestern state to legalize cannabis use outright.

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