Beginning Today, Marijuana Is Legal in Michigan - Is The Midwest Finally Going Green?
This 2018 midterms was a whirlwind of surprises and upsets, with many of these still happening almost a month later. Cannabis saw big numbers in Missouri and Utah, where medical marijuana was approved. And legal weed saw its biggest victory in Michigan, where recreational cannabis was voted to be legalized.
On November 26 2018, the election results will be verified, which means that Michigan's new cannabis law will go into effect ten days after, on December 6, 2018. But will Michiganders (and their neighboring Ohioans) be able to buy product on that date? Well ... not likely.
Michigan's new recreational marijuana law
The new law is pretty unrestricted in terms of what you can buy and posses, which may leave many Michigan residents grinning ear-to-ear. The program applies to anyone 21 or over, and also allows residents to grow their own cannabis.
This means that once the election results are certified and the state officially allows recreational cannabis, Michigan residents are free to start growing and consuming cannabis, regardless of whether dispensaries are open.
Michigan residents will not be allowed to sell home grows, but gifting small amounts is allowed. The law prohibits shipping Michigan marijuana to anyone in the state, or out of the state.
Another interesting aspect of this law worth noting is that small-time cannabis entrepreneurs will be allowed to open micro businesses with small cultivation (less than 150 plants). This opens the doors for just about everyone to make a go at opening their own cannabis business.
When to expect Michigan recreational dispensaries
This is a tough question to answer as it's unclear whether the state will see significant delays. With any statewide implementation, there are bound to be legal hurdles and difficult snags to combat. Michigan's new law will be no different. The state is projecting to have the industry running by late 2019/early 2020.
Judging from previous state marijuana programs, other states seem to take between 1-3 years to have the program fully up and running. Medical states like Hawaii and Ohio have run closer to the 3-year mark, whereas recreational states like Colorado and California took about a year and half.
The delays are often because it takes time for the infrastructure of an industry to move from one state over to another. Between the different regulations, building codes, city codes and state rules, it can take time to clear all the hurdles and jump through all the hoops. And in the meantime, many marijuana industry leaders are side-stepping annoying lawsuits from lawmakers trying to shut the industry down.
Can Ohioans partake in Michigan's legal weed?
As many passionate advocates and patients already know, Ohio has been slow to implement their medical marijuana program. Though the industry is set to begin opening dispensaries as early as December 2018, many patients have been seeking methods of obtaining their cannabis elsewhere, legal or otherwise.
As a result, there are numerous Ohioans expected to hop the border and partake in that sweet sticky icky as soon as the state allows. But can Ohio residents even buy Michigan cannabis?
At this point, it is unclear if people buying cannabis in Michigan must have a Michigan state ID in order to purchase marijuana. It's possible this will be implemented once dispensaries open, or once the state certifies the election results. It's also possible lawmakers will file a lawsuit in order to jam the recreational measure up in the courts and delay it (not unlike what happened in Ohio).
That being said, it would be deeply foolish for Michigan, a state that requires a robust tourism industry to stay afloat, to balk at the idea of selling cannabis to anyone in their state, regardless of whether they are an Ohioan or Michigander. Legal weed will likely mark a significant boom in their tourism business as marijuana hobbyists will flock to Lake Michigan as their vacation destination, not unlike wine enthusiasts flock to wine country each harvest season.
Is it legal to bring Michigan marijuana back to Ohio?
At current, Ohio's medical marijuana program has not established any reciprocity between neighboring states. Though the State of Ohio is looking into working out deals, it is still illegal to cross into Ohio with Michigan cannabis, or cannabis from any state with recreational or medicinal programs.
Crossing state borders constitutes a federal crime (trafficking) and is punishable up to the maximum sentence if a patient or marijuana hobbyist is caught with Michigan cannabis. However, if the state does not allow state IDs to buy cannabis, anyone over 21 who is in the state can enjoy cannabis, so long as they don't leave with any.
Be sure to watch this blog as we will update as soon as we know more about how Michigan will implement this new recreational law.
Is Michigan the first of a green wave in the Midwest?
It's hard to say whether Michigan's new law will alter other Midwestern states, like Indiana and Ohio. It has been reported, however, that Pennsylvania is considering a recreational law, and that Indiana may consider loosening their tight grip on the cannabis industry soon.
Time will be a big factor here. If the Michigan program yields little risk and high tax profits, it's likely we will see lawmakers shift their view on cannabis in the Midwest, and we may see every state go green.
Ohio now borders two recreational zones: Michigan and Canada. This is likely to put significant pressure on Ohio's Republican-controlled statehouse to bow to pot or lose re-election bids in the future. But with governor-elect Mike DeWine holding his hard-line anti-pot stance, it is unclear if Ohio will see much movement over the next few years, at least in terms of recreational cannabis.
Thankfully, after numerous delays, Ohio's medical marijuana program is finally running smoothly. Dispensaries should open their doors soon, with the rest following in 2019. In the meantime, if Michigan allows, expect many Ohioans to be swapping out their annual Disney trip for a more "recreational" vacation.
If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana. Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.