Michigan

Recreational Pot Will Be Legal in Michigan This Week. Here's What You Need to Know.

Your guide to marijuana in Michigan

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|||Dmitry Tishchenko/Dreamstime.com
Dmitry Tishchenko/Dreamstime.com

Recreational pot will officially become legal in Michigan on Thursday, 30 days after nearly 56 percent of the state's voters passed Proposal 1. That initiative makes Michigan both the first Midwestern state and the 10th state overall to permit the possession and use of recreational marijuana. (The other nine are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. It is also legal in the District of Columbia.)

The ballot initiative was backed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. As the group's name suggests, it want to treat recreational pot like wine or beer, including a plan to generate tax revenue from its sale.

The opposition mostly came from establishment Republicans. Former state Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville, a spokesperson for the anti-legalization Healthy and Productive Michigan, claimed the plan was the "worst idea" the state had seen. Richardville added that while he didn't "necessarily disagree with recreational marijuana," he believed the ballot initiative would lead to more pot use among younger people. (The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol released noted that teen pot use in Colorado and Washington state has remained roughly the same since legalization.)

Here's what you need to know about the new system:

What?

Proposal 1 established a new law called the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. Under this law, people in the state will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot and up to 12 plants for personal use, not in addition to the 2.5 ounces.

The act prohibits the use of vehicles while under the influence, consuming pot in public places, growing plants in a publicly visible place, and possessing any substance on the grounds of a school or a correctional facility. Municipalities also have the power to adopt stricter ordinances.

Tax revenue from pot sales will go to the state treasury department's implementation of the new laws and to medical marijuana research, as well as to counties, schools, and infrastructure.

Who?

Only those 21 and older will be allowed to "possess, consume, purchase or otherwise obtain, cultivate, process, transport, or sell marihuana." Michiganders under the age of 21 will not be allowed to possess pot in any quantity.

The state government will also issue licenses for retailers, transporters, processors, growers, microbusinesses, and safety compliance facilities. Municipalities will be allowed to limit the number of licensed establishments within the town limits.

Penalties

Possessing more than the legal amount of pot can result in a $500 fine and forfeiture of the substance. The first two offenses will be civil infractions; after that, they're misdemeanors.

Underaged users can face a $100 fine and forfeiture of the substance for their first offense; in subsequent offenses, the maximum fine will increase to $500. Minors under the age of 18 could also face community service and four hours of drug education or counseling.

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