Proposal One Passed
On November 6, 2018, Michigan became the tenth state to legalize the recreational use of marihuana by its residents. The vote passed by a substantial margin and makes Michigan the only State in the Midwest that has permitted recreational use of cannabis. Now, we have to consider what happens next, and people need to be clear about what’s legal today, and what’s changing in the near future.
Please note: EVEN THOUGH MICHIGAN HAS PASSED PROPOSAL ONE AND THE STATE WILL PERMIT POSSESSION OF MARIHUANA UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES IT IS STILL ILLEGAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW.
You should consult with an attorney if you have any questions about how the conflict between State and Federal law could impact you.
Now that Proposal One has passed, what happens now? Well, first and foremost, the recreational use of cannabis in its variety of consumable forms will now be permitted, but within limits and legal restrictions. Before that can happen, however, the vote from November 6, 2018 will have to be certified by the State. The law does not go into effect until ten days after the State has officially certified the election results. That certification must happen at the latest by November 26, 2018. Assuming that the State takes that long, that means that the earliest date wherein recreational use can begin would be December 6, 2018.
After December 6, 2018, citizens can grow up to twelve marijuana plants and possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana on their person (or up to a total of 10 ounces, so long as anything over 2.5 ounces is in secured and locked container inside a residence) without fear of arrest or prosecution. However, there will not be any recreational marijuana retailers from which to buy commercial retail products for some time. The State has up to twelve months after the vote is certified to promulgate rules and an application process for persons and businesses to begin applying for recreational marihuana facilities licenses. For at least two years after the release of that application and the rules for licensing those facilities, only persons who have been approved for a Medical Marihuana Facilities License under the MMFLA for both a State and City license will be allowed to apply for a commercial recreational marihuana license. After two years, the State has the option of opening it up for non- MMFLA applicants, or, they could leave that limitation in place.
However, the State may put out an application and rules for applying for licenses, but where those licensees can operate is up to which municipalities are going to opt-in to the recreational law. Just like with the MMFLA, municipalities will have to “opt-in” to the law, and draft local ordinances that dictate where the stores can be located and how many of them each city will permit within its boundaries. Most of the folks who have dealt with this, including myself, feel that this process is likely to begin even before the actual application and rules are out at the State level, as many of the communities that have opted in for medical marihuana are going to want to be prepared for their properly operating businesses to be ready to apply and become licensed as soon as possible. Other communities that have not opted-in for Medical Marihuana have been waiting to see what was going to happen with Proposal One before they took action with regard to choosing which direction to go moving forward.
So, the basic “What’s Next” road map looks like this:
- Certify Election Results by November 26, 2018
- Legal Recreational Use and Possession (within the boundaries set by statute) begins December 6, 2018
- By December 6, 2019, State must release Regulations and Application for Recreational Commercial Licenses
- Municipalities (Cities, Townships, Villages) Must Vote to Opt-In and pass Zoning and other Ordinances
- By December 6, 2021, State may take action to permit non-MMFLA license holders to apply for Rec
What’s Legal Now?
As of today, no recreational possession is legalized in Michigan. As noted previously, possession of any amount of marihuana remains illegal under Federal law, and if you are confused or need clarification on the impact of the conflict between Michigan’s stance and the Federal Government’s stance, please contact us. Until ten (10) days AFTER the vote is certified, the possession of marihuana is still prohibited to members of the general public in Michigan. Until that time, you can still be prosecuted and arrested for possession of marihuana. If you are a medical marihuana card holder, and your registration is up to date, nothing has changed for you. You may still possess medical marihuana as permitted by the MMMA and the MMFLA. When December 6, 2018 arrives (or earlier, if the vote is certified before November 26, 2018), adults twenty-one (21) and older will be allowed to possess on their person up to 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana without fear of prosecution or arrest. Persons twenty-one years of age and older may also grow up to twelve (12) cannabis plants on property they own, so long as it is kept in an enclosed, locked facility on the property that is not accessible to persons not lawfully able to possess or access marihuana. If you have questions about those requirements, please contact our office for a consultation. After that, the commercial side of things will take some time to materialize, as it did after the 2016 passage of the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. Expect the State to take that maximum amount of time allowed by law to promulgate regulations and perfect the application for these facilities.
The other thing that is completely legal now, and recommended, is planning. If you want to get into the recreational commercial marketplace, you need to start planning now. Our office is very familiar with the licensing process, and the pathway to success in the current and emerging cannabis marketplace. Give us a call so that we can begin working with you on a game plan to give you the best possible opportunity to obtain a commercial license in the recreational marihuana marketplace.