In Michigan, It's Beginning to Smell A Lot Like Cannabis
Residents of the Great Lakes State will have something to feel great about this Thursday, as adult-use marijuana goes legal.
Last November, voters overwhelmingly endorsed Proposition 1, which legalized marijuana for adults over 21, and the law goes into effect on December 6th. This doesn't mean that everyone will be able to light up and smoke the day away.
Quite the contrary, the state has put strict requirements on recreational use, while state and local legislators get to the hard part of figuring it all out. This has been a common occurrence for many states new to recreational use. Michiganians are most likely hoping that the transition goes a little faster and smoother than it has in, say, Massachusetts.
Despite the likely speedbumps, green entrepreneurs and enthusiasts in Michigan still have a lot celebrate: Michigan is the first Midwestern state to legalize so-called recreational marijuana. This is a fact not lost on "cannabis counsel", Matt Abel, who told the Associate Press, “It’s certainly going to smell like freedom,” starting Thursday.
Here are some things you should know about Michigan's rollout.
Don't Drive More Than 2.5
Michigan residents who are 21 or older can possess or transport up to 2.5 ounces of flower or 15 grams of concentrate. They can also grow up to 12 plants, but it can't be in public view. Just in time for the holidays, you are allowed to gift 2.5 ounces to another person, but they can't pay you for it. Did someone say stocking stuffer?
There's No Place But Home
You are permitted to consume your 2.5/15 in the confines of your home or on private property, but it's illegal to smoke it in public. So don't think about lighting up a home-grown joint while taking an evening stroll. Also, even though you're allowed to smoke it at home, your landlord has the right to prohibit it.
There's Nothing In Store
Pot shops are still a ways away, as state regulators are working on a licensing system for marijuana businesses, including growers, processors, transporters and retailers. For now, if you want marijuana then you need to either grow it yourself or have a medical card.
Pot Taxes Will Pay Dividends
Once the commercial sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles is permitted through state-licensed retailers, the goods will be subject to a new 10-percent tax, which will be earmarked for schools, road and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.
Expect Some Pot Deserts
The new Michigan law allows for local municipalities to ban pot in their jurisdictions. In fact, some communities have already begun doing this. What will result is a situation that states such as California are familiar with -- so-called 'pot deserts' or pockets of land where consumers can't buy pot.
Related: California's 'Pot Desert' Problem
Pot Possession Prosecution Will Be Down
Some good news: According to the Associated Press, Michigan police and prosecutors will likely dismiss any pending misdemeanor cases involving small amounts of marijuana. But State police spokesman, Mike Shaw, says it's still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. “This law isn’t going to change that,” he said.