The Passing of Proposal 1. Recreational Marijuana use in Michigan.

15 Nov 2018 - Purna Krishnamoorthy

As I am sure you are all aware Proposal 1 has passed, smoking marijuana for recreational purposes is no longer illegal!

Click here to read the full text version of Proposal 1.

But what does this all mean?

For starters a statement was released by the Michigan State Police stating that “use and possession of marijuana by persons age 21 and older” is legal. However, this does not have an effect on Michigan’s current impaired driving laws. So DO NOT smoke and drive, or drive while under the influence because that is STILL ILLEGAL. But if you are over the age of 21 you can legally purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption. Additionally, you can possess 10 ounces of marijuana, at your residence, but you are required to secure, in a locked container, any amount over 2.5 ounces.

How will businesses (dispensaries) get licensed to sell marijuana?

Shelly Edgerton, the director of The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, stated that the department will likely begin to issue licenses starting in 2019. This means the businesses will be required to have a state issued license in order to be “legally operating.” Cities will maintain the power to determine whether they want to grant a license to the business seeking one, in essence deciding whether this dispensary will be granted permission to conduct business within the municipality.

There will be several types of licenses that the state will be able to issue to a business who seeks it. These types include:

  • Marijuana retailer
  • Marijuana safety compliance facility
  • Marijuana secure transporter
  • Marijuana processor
  • Marijuana microbusiness
  • Class A marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100 marijuana plants
  • Class B marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500 marijuana plants
  • Class C marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000 marijuana plants

Does this mean that there will be zero restrictions on the use of marijuana?

In short, no. This absolutely does not mean the government has given carte blanche authority to the people in regards to the use of marijuana. For example, Landlords can still prohibit smoking and growing plants on their properties. Employers can still do pre-employment and random drug tests on employees and maintain zero tolerance policies for their employees, they can even refuse to hire or fire employees who test positive for marijuana. So on and so forth…

Will the passing of proposal 1 change the criminal history of individuals who were previously charged or have pending charges?

All of the information that you’ve read thus far is easily searchable through the most basic of google searches, so it’s no surprise that many of you probably already have this knowledge.

However, from a criminal defense attorney aspect, I am most excited to see how our legislation will choose to deal with previous marijuana charges that have been issued. Obviously not all previous convictions can be overturned because after careful examination of proposal 1 you will notice that there are still several restrictions on the legality of marijuana. An obvious example being the quantity that one is allowed to possess. The good news is that with the passing of this proposal Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, has made her position on the issue quite clear. She is in favor of doing getting rid of simple misdemeanor possession cases, and is “encouraging county prosecutors” to follow suit.

Additionally, the Michigan Legislature is currently considering a pending bill that would require judges to CONSIDER expunging the records of people previously charged with marijuana related misdemeanor offenses. Perhaps Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer will follow suit with Dana Nessel and support the expungement of the criminal records that allow for pardon? I am praying that the heavenly gates of expungement open up and allow for these offenses to be removed from the records of individuals that have been plagued with the burden of carrying these charges.

Stay tuned Detroit…tables are surely turning!!

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