Michigan Cannabis Law

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A Guide to Michigan Cannabis Law

Michigan became the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana. However, this does not mean that you can use the substance wherever you want.

In Michigan, only adults over the age of 21 may use cannabis legally.

7 Michigan Cannabis Laws You Must Know

  • Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in Michigan, so there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to deciphering the law.
  • Marijuana dispensaries in Michigan are called provisioning centers.
    • Michigan uses Metrc as its state track-and-trace system.
    • Adult-use, or recreational marijuana, is legal in Michigan as of November 2018.
    • Adult-use marijuana is subject to a 10% excise tax in addition to the 6% sales tax.
    • There is not a per-day cannabis purchase limit in Michigan for adult-use consumers; the limits are 2.5 ounces per transaction. Medical patients (or caregivers) are limited to 2.5 ounces per day.
    • Michigan uses the spelling “marihuana” instead of “marijuana.” Since the “h” spelling is used in official regulations, it’s often used in formal communication. The “j” spelling is generally used in non-formal communication. To avoid confusion, many simply use “cannabis.”
  • Cannabis can be delivered in Michigan

Where can I use marijuana legally?

In terms of where you may use the substance, Michigan law requires that anyone using cannabis must do so in private, such as in their own residence. It is illegal to use cannabis in a public place, such as on the street or at the park.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that some areas in the state fall under federal jurisdiction rather than state law. Airports, for example, are considered federal property and, as such, follow federal laws. Therefore, it is illegal to possess or use cannabis in an airport or any other federal property such as government buildings or prisons. Furthermore, it’s illegal to carry cannabis in areas frequented by children, such as schools and school buses.

How much can I possess at one time?

Possession of cannabis is another matter. The amount that you may carry varies depending on where you are. For example, while you may possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in your residence, you may not carry more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis on your person when out in public.

Selling or distributing cannabis in Michigan

In Michigan, adults may transfer up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis to another adult as long as there is no money or anything else exchanged for the substance and the transfer is not promoted to the public. In other words, the transfer must be a bona fide gift.

Cultivating Cannabis in Michigan

In Michigan, adults may grow up to 12 marijuana plants at their own residence for their personal use. However, adults may not grow marijuana plants that are visible from a public place.

Traveling with marijuana

Due to the differences between federal and state laws regarding marijuana, many people remain confused about how to travel with the substance legally. Below, we provide answers to some of the most common questions regarding this topic.

What happens if I forgot I brought marijuana to the airport?

As discussed earlier, it is illegal to bring marijuana to an airport. But, what happens if you forgot you had marijuana in your bag upon arrival?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states on their website that their agents do not go out of their way to search for illegal drugs. The agency’s top priority is to protect passenger safety and detect potential threats to aviation. However, remember that TSA is a federal agency and, as such, must enforce federal laws. So, if TSA agents find marijuana in your bag, they must report it to the police. What happens after that is up to the police.

Can I travel with marijuana if I have a medical marijuana card?

It depends. In short, if TSA finds marijuana in your bag, they are not able to check the validity of your card and, as such, still must report the discovery to the police. Then, the police and the prosecutor will determine whether the issuance of any criminal charges is warranted under the circumstances.

Can I travel with CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active ingredients in cannabis. CBD can be found in all varieties of the cannabis plant. Frequently, CBD is derived from industrial hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3% THC that is legal under federal law. Many people use the substance for its anti-anxiety and calming properties.

Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause a “high.” Therefore, as long as your

CBD product contains no more than 0.3% THC, you can bring it on a flight.

How to start a Cannabis Business in Michigan

  • Since the recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2018, enterprising individuals across the state have become interested in joining this lucrative industry. In order to start your own “cannabusiness,” you must undergo significant legal legwork in order to establish your company legally.
  • First off, until December 6, 2021, those seeking to operate a recreational cannabis business will have to obtain licensing on the medical side. Once that has been completed, applicants may apply for an adult-use marijuana establishment license.
  • The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) requires that only the following applications for licensure may be accepted until December 6, 2021:
  • Those who wish to apply for a class A grower or a microbusiness license must be a resident of Michigan.
  • Those who wish to apply for a class B or class C grower, a processor, a retailer, or a secure transporter license must first hold a medical marijuana facility license.
  • After December 6, 2021, the Michigan residency requirement and the medical marijuana facility requirements will cease, and anyone may apply for an adult-use marijuana establishment license.
  • Michigan law has also created a path for licensure for those interested in cultivating industrial hemp—a variety of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. This is widely cultivated as a primary source for cannabidiol (CBD).

Recreational licensing

Legal reference 33.27959 License to operate a marihuana establishment; application; qualifications; issuance; disclosure. Sec. 9. 1

  1. Each application for a state license must be submitted to the department. Upon receipt of a complete application and application fee, the department shall forward a copy of the application to the municipality in which the marihuana establishment is to be located, determine whether the applicant and the premises qualify for the state license and comply with this act, and issue the appropriate state license or send the applicant a notice of rejection setting forth specific reasons why the department did not approve the state license application within 90 days.
  2. The department shall issue the following state license types: marihuana retailer; marihuana safety compliance facility; marihuana secure transporter; marihuana processor; marihuana microbusiness; class A marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100 marihuana plants; class B marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500 marihuana plants; and class C marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000 marihuana plants.
  3. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the department shall approve a state license application and issue a state license if:
    • the applicant has submitted an application in compliance with the rules promulgated by the department, is in compliance with this act and the rules, and has paid the required fee;
    • the municipality in which the proposed marihuana establishment will be located does not notify the department that the proposed marihuana establishment is not in compliance with an ordinance consistent with section 6 of this act and in effect at the time of application;
    • the property where the proposed marihuana establishment is to be located is not within an area zoned exclusively for residential use and is not within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12.

Explained

  • Applications are submitted to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency with a fee of $6,000.
  • Depending on your license type, a fee of $4,000 to $40,000 must be paid as an annual regulatory assessment in order for the license to be issued.
  • Applications will be accepted or rejected within 90 days.
  • Licenses come in the following types:
    • marihuana retailer
    • marihuana safety compliance facility
    • marihuana secure transporter
    • marihuana processor
    • marihuana microbusiness
    • designated consumption establishments
    • temporary marihuana events
    • excess marihuana grower licenses
    • class A marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100 marihuana plants
    • class B marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500 marihuana plants
    • class C marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000 marihuana plants
  • Licenses must meet the following requirements to be accepted:
    • The application was submitted in compliance with department rules with the required fee.
    • The marijuana establishment is in compliance with section 6 of the act at the time of application.
    • Adult-use grows are capped at 5 by default. They can start adding additional licenses (Excess Grow Licenses) by also holding medical grow licenses.
      • There is no cap on the medical side. Once you hit your cap of 5 adult-use, you can add 1 Excess Grow license per every 2 medical grow licenses; all applicable to “Class C’s” only.
  • A municipality can limit the number of marijuana establishments licensed in the area. In this case, the municipality will decide between competing applications that meet all requirements.
  • State licenses are effective for a single year.

Purchase limits

420.506 Purchasing limits; transactions; marihuana sales location Rule 6.

  • Before the sale or transfer of marihuana product to a registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver, under the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, the licensee shall verify in the statewide monitoring system that the sale or transfer does not exceed either of the daily purchasing limits as follows:
    • For a registered qualifying patient, an amount of marihuana product that does not, in total, exceed 2.5 ounces of marihuana or marihuana equivalent per day.
  • For a registered primary caregiver, an amount of marihuana product that does not, in total, exceed 2.5 ounces of marihuana or marihuana equivalent per day for each registered qualifying patient with whom he or she is connected through the agency’s registration process.
  • Before the sale or transfer of marihuana product to a registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver, under the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, the licensee shall verify in the statewide monitoring system that the sale or transfer does not exceed the monthly purchasing limit of 10 ounces of marihuana product per month to a qualifying patient, either directly or through the qualifying patient’s registered primary caregiver.
  • A marihuana retailer, under the Michigan regulation and taxation of marihuana act, is prohibited from making a sale or transferring marihuana to an adult 21 years of age or older in a single transaction that exceeds 2.5 ounces, except that not more than 15 grams of marihuana may be in the form of marihuana concentrate.
  • A marihuana sales location may sell no more than 3 immature plants to a marihuana customer per transaction.

Explained

Here’s the basics on purchase limits:

  • Medical marijuana patients can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis each day, so long as they don’t exceed 10 ounces of medical cannabis in a single month.
  • Recreational cannabis users can cultivate up to 12 plants per household. You can have any amount of cannabis if that cannabis was specifically harvested from those plants.
    • If you do not cultivate your own cannabis, you can have up to 10 ounces of cannabis in your home, but only 2.5 ounces in your possession. (The rest needs to be stored)
  • Adult-use, recreational cannabis consumers can purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time, with no more than 15 grams of concentrate.
  • You are allowed 12 plants per household, not per 21-year-old. These plant amounts do not replace medical marihuana plants
  • Patients and caregivers can possess up to 2.5 ounces total of marijuana.
    • A caregiver can possess up to 2.5 oz of marihuana per patient. A caregiver can also be a patient and help up to 5 other patients: 72 total plants and 15 total oz in their possession if they have all 6 cards.
  • All cannabis plants must be grown in a locked, enclosed space.

Packaging and labels

Legal reference 333.27958 Rules; limitations

  • Testing, packaging, and labeling standards, procedures, and requirements for marihuana, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
    • A maximum tetrahydrocannabinol level for marihuana-infused products.
    • A requirement that a representative sample of marihuana be tested by a marihuana safety compliance facility.
  • A requirement that the amount of marihuana or marihuana concentrate contained within a marihuana-infused product be specified on the product label.
    • A requirement that all marihuana sold through marihuana retailers and marihuana microbusinesses include on the exterior of the marihuana packaging the following warning printed in clearly legible type and surrounded by a continuous heavy line: WARNING: USE BY PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING WOMEN, OR BY WOMEN PLANNING TO BECOME PREGNANT, MAY RESULT IN FETAL INJURY, PRETERM BIRTH, LOW BIRTH WEIGHT, OR DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS FOR THE CHILD.
  • Security requirements, including lighting, physical security, and alarm requirements, and requirements for securely transporting marihuana between marihuana establishments. The requirements described in this subdivision must not prohibit cultivation of marihuana outdoors or in greenhouse.

Explained

  • Edible marijuana-infused candy in packaging attractive to children is not allowed. The state is currently watching edible packaging: you cannot have any sort of cartoons, caricatures, toys, designs, or shapes. This would include things as simple as the picture of a fruit on fruit-flavored products.
  • Packaging must be opaque, resealable, and child-resistant.
  • The following warning must be printed in clearly legible type and surrounded by a continuous heavy line: WARNING: USE BY PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING WOMEN, OR BY WOMEN PLANNING TO BECOME PREGNANT, MAY RESULT IN FETAL INJURY, PRETERM BIRTH, LOW BIRTH WEIGHT, OR DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS FOR THE CHILD

Taxes

Legal reference T333.27963 Imposition of excise tax. Sec. 13.

  • In addition to all other taxes, an excise tax is imposed on each marihuana retailer and on each marihuana microbusiness at the rate of 10% of the sales price for marihuana sold or otherwise transferred to anyone other than a marihuana establishment.
  • Except as otherwise provided by a rule promulgated by the department of treasury, a product subject to the tax imposed by this section may not be bundled in a single transaction with a product or service that is not subject to the tax imposed by this section.
  • The department of treasury shall administer the taxes imposed under this act and may promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to MCL 24.328, that prescribe a method and manner for payment of the tax to ensure proper tax collection under this act.

Explained

  • Marijuana retailers are subject to a 10% excise tax. Adult-use purchases are subject to a 10% marijuana excise tax in addition to the state’s 6% sales tax.
  • Medical marijuana purchases are only subject to the statewide 6% sales tax.

Dispensary requirements and limitations

Legal reference 333.27961 Marihuana establishments; requirements; limitations. Sec. 11.

  • A marihuana establishment may not allow cultivation, processing, sale, or display of marihuana or marihuana accessories to be visible from a public place outside of the marihuana establishment without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids.
  • A marihuana establishment may not cultivate, process, test, or store marihuana at any location other than a physical address approved by the department and within an enclosed area that is secured in a manner that prevents access by persons not permitted by the marihuana establishment to access the area.
  • A marihuana establishment shall secure every entrance to the establishment so that access to areas containing marihuana is restricted to employees and other persons permitted by the marihuana establishment to access the area and to agents of the department or state and local law enforcement officers and emergency personnel and shall secure its inventory and equipment during and after operating hours to deter and prevent theft of marihuana and marihuana accessories.
  • No marihuana establishment may refuse representatives of the department the right during the hours of operation to inspect the licensed premises or to audit the books and records of the marihuana establishment.
  • No marihuana establishment may allow a person under 21 years of age to volunteer or work for the marihuana establishment.
  • No marihuana establishment may sell or otherwise transfer marihuana that was not produced, distributed, and taxed in compliance with this act.
  • A marihuana grower, marihuana retailer, marihuana processor, marihuana microbusiness, or marihuana testing facility or agents acting on their behalf may not transport more than 15 ounces of marihuana or more than 60 grams of marihuana concentrate at one time.
  • A marihuana secure transporter may not hold title to marihuana.

Explained

  • Marijuana establishments aren’t allowed to sell or transfer tobacco.
    • Marijuana cultivation, processing, sales, displays, or marijuana products can’t be visible from a public place outside the establishment without binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids.
    • Dispensaries can’t cultivate, process, test, or store marijuana at locations other than the physical address approved by the department. The location must be enclosed and secure, with areas containing marijuana only accessible to employees.
    • Dispensaries must always allow department representatives to inspect the premises and audit books and records.
    • Employees of the cannabis business must be at least 21 years old.
    • Marijuana facilities can only sell marijuana produced, distributed, and taxed in compliance.
    • Marijuana growers, retailers, processors, microbusinesses, and testing facilities can’t transport more than 15 ounces of marijuana or 60 grams of concentrate at a time.
  • Marijuana secure transporters can’t hold title to marijuana.

Delivery Explained

  • Michigan regulation allows provisioning centers and marihuana retailers to engage in delivery services with an additional MRA approval. Delivery drivers may transport up to 15 ounces of marijuana and up to 60 grams of marijuana concentrate before revisiting the dispensary for additional orders.

Qualifying conditions

Legal reference

According to the MRA, patients must have one of the following conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana license:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
    • Cancer
    • Crohn’s disease
    • Glaucoma
    • Hepatitis C
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Nail-patella syndrome
    • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
    • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
    • Severe and chronic pain
    • Severe nausea
    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms and multiple sclerosis

Michigan Marijuana Laws and Penalties

Michigan Laws and Penalties   
OffensePenaltyIncarcerationMax. Fine
Possession Personal Use   
Up to 2.5 ozNo PenaltyNone$0
Up to 10 oz in the homeNo PenaltyNone$0
More than 2.5 oz up to 5 oz (first offense)Civil InfractionNone$500
More than 5 oz (first offense)MisdemeanorNone$500
Sale or Distribution   
Distribution of less than 2.5 oz without remunerationNo PenaltyNone$0
Distribution of less than 5 oz without remunerationCivil InfractionNone$500
Sale of less than 5 kgFelony4 years$20,000
Sale of 5 kg – 45 kgFelony7 years$500,000
45 kg or moreFelony15 years$10,000,000
Cultivation   
*A term of imprisonment may be imposed if “the violation was habitual, willfull, and for a commercial purpose or the violation involved violence.”   
Less than 12 plants for personal useNo PenaltyNone$0
12 – 24 plants for personal useCivil InfractionNone$500
25 – 200 plants for personal useMisdemeanorNone*$0
More than 200 plants for personal useMisdemeanorNone*$0
Hash & Concentrates   
Penalties for hashish are the same as for marijuana. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details   
Possession of up to 15 gNo PenaltyNone$0
Distribution of up to 15 g without remunerationNo PenaltyNone$0
Paraphernalia   
Sale of paraphernaliaNo PenaltyNone$0
Miscellaneous   
In Ann ArborN/AN/A$100
Any conviction will result in a driver’s license suspension for 6 months.   

https://www.michigan.gov/cra

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