Michigan first legalized marijuana for medical use back in 2008, broadening their laws to include the legal use of recreational marijuana in December of 2018. But despite marijuana becoming legal for recreational use by the end of 2018, limitations still applied. As a result, many businesses have chosen to hold off from selling recreational cannabis to their consumers until policies and regulations were clarified.
At the beginning of this year, we published our blog post ‘What’s new for Michigan Marijuana Laws going into 2020’, a post that touched upon early business registration, when people would be able to buy recreational cannabis in Michigan, and which communities across the state had decided to ban the commercial sale of cannabis.
Now, as we head into the latter part of 2020, we are starting to see changes to Michigan’s Standalone Adult-Use Cannabis License. Here’s what’s changed.
Businesses without a medical cannabis license may soon be able to sell marijuana
Previously, only businesses with a medical cannabis business license were able to apply for an adult-use permit to sell recreational cannabis; however, this may soon be about to change. Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency has announced that it is considering removing the requirement that businesses must hold a medical cannabis business license to sell for adult-use, which could open up a number of selling opportunities to other entrepreneurs.
The decision to only allow businesses with a medical-marijuana license to sell recreational cannabis was taken to give a competitive advantage to the companies that helped get the State’s medical marijuana industry off the ground. However, to address social equity issues and to promote the creation of more equity programs, this may now be lifted early.
Although the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Association has not formerly made this announcement, it is believed that the restriction could be lifted as early as November 1st this year.
What’s not changed
Sadly, as with most other states, Michigan still has a long way to go before it becomes as liberal with its policies as states such as Nevada. A quick reminder of what has not changed with marijuana law in Michigan is as follows.
Who can use cannabis in Michigan
Recreational cannabis use and cultivation is still restricted to adults aged 21 and over, and it is still illegal to use and grow in public spaces. You can legally possess up to 2.5 oz of cannabis flower out of the home in most places except correctional institutions and education establishments and this number increases to 10oz on your own property so long as anything above 2.5oz is stored securely.
Growing cannabis in Michigan
Anyone aged 21 or over can grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their household and, what’s more, if you are growing your own then there is no upper limit to the amount of cannabis that you can possess. Growing restrictions remain much the same, and whether you decide to grow one or twelve plants, they must be grown indoors, in a secure facility and not be visible to the public. If you’re renting your property, then it’s important to check with your landlord that they are happy for you to cultivate cannabis at their property.
Buying cannabis in Michigan
As we’ve already touched upon, many businesses have been slow to take up the sale of recreational marijuana due to confusion over the legislation and business restrictions, such as the need for a medical marijuana license. At present, recreational marijuana can only be purchased from participating medical marijuana facilities within municipalities that have not voted to ban recreational sales.
Gifting cannabis in Michigan
At present, it is not illegal to gift someone of age up to 2.5 oz of marijuana; however, some businesses are using this loophole as a way to bypass the law. Because of business restrictions on the sale of recreational marijuana, some establishments are selling over-priced products that come with ‘free’ cannabis as a way to make a profit. Although gifting marijuana with purchases is not technically illegal, it is likely that this business model will change if the requirement to hold a medical marijuana license is dropped for budding cannabis entrepreneurs.
Cannabis outside of Michigan
Outside of Michigan and other legalized states, cannabis is still classed as a Schedule 1 drug in the Federal Government’s eyes. This means that users should be cautious when crossing state lines, and employers can even fire their employees ‘at-will’ if they break their workplace drugs policy.
Michigan cannabis laws are changing slowly, and it is important to keep an eye on policies and regulations as they change to ensure that you and your business remain above board. For now, hope appears to be on the horizon for entrepreneurs looking to compete with medical marijuana facilities, but otherwise, for consumers, little has changed.