Recreational Marijuana: What You Need to Know



In November 2018, Michigan voters approved the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Proposal 1). As a result, possession and use of recreational marijuana became legal on December 8 2018. The vote came a decade after the state voted to legalize marijuana for medical use in 2008.

According to, Proposal 1 made Michigan the first Midwestern state to make possession and use of recreational marijuana legal for adults (age 21 or older). Also, individuals are now permitted to grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their residences. The measure created an excise tax of ten percent, which is to be levied on marijuana sales at retailers and microbusinesses.

The standard Sales Tax on marijuana will be six percent – the same as that on other goods. Much of the new revenue collected from the standard sales tax on marijuana will go to Michigan’s School Aid Fund. As for the excise tax, Proposal 1 directs 35 percent to improving the state’s roads, 35 percent to schools and 30 percent to local governments that have marijuana businesses within their jurisdiction. The Senate Fiscal Agency anticipates that by 2023, Proposal 1 will contribute an additional $140 million each year to the School Aid Fund.

Statewide, municipalities were authorized to ban or limit marijuana establishments within their boundaries. According to Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the municipalities in Genesee County that opted out of the licensed facilities portion of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) include (unofficial list): Argentine Township, Atlas Township, Clio, Davison Township, Fenton, Flushing, Flushing Charter Township, Gaines, Gaines Township, Grand Blanc, Grand Blanc Charter Township, Linden, Mundy Charter Township and Richfield Township. Montrose and Genesee Townships have bans pending.

Thetford Township and the cities of Burton, Flint and Mt. Morris drafted an ordinance allowing medical marijuana businesses within their boundaries and it is likely that when the state starts licensing recreational marijuana facilities in 2020, these communities will allow them as well, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.

Here are some important facts about the new law that you need to know, courtesy of Michigan Radio NPR:

1. You can’t buy it.

As of December 6 2018, it became legal for anyone over 21 years old to grow, consume and possess marijuana, but not purchase or sell it. If you already have marijuana in your possession, you’re free to consume it. Currently, only those with a Medical Marijuana Card can buy more.

2. Growing

If you already have plants in your house, they are legal to grow and harvest for your own use. However, buying marijuana plants or selling the marijuana that you grow is still illegal, unless you are a business licensed to do so and in an area that allows the practice.

3. How much can you have?

Under the new law, you can carry up to 2.5 ounces on your person, as long as you’re not on the grounds of a K-12 school or on federal property. In your own home, you can store up to ten ounces and grow up to 12 plants.

4. You can only consume marijuana in private – it will be illegal to do so in public places.

In addition, landlords, leaseholders and business owners can prohibit smoking marijuana on their premises. They cannot, however, stop you from possessing marijuana or consuming smokeless marijuana products.

5. College Consumption

If you live on a college campus, don’t assume you can possess or consume marijuana in your dorm room. Many universities have drug-free policies that will remain in place despite any change in state law. In addition, don’t try to buy marijuana in another state and bring it back to Michigan. Even though you can legally purchase marijuana in nine other states and Canada, federal law still bans marijuana and it is still illegal to traffic illicit drugs across state lines.


6. How much tax revenue will be generated and where will it be allocated?

In addition to the standard six percent state Sales Tax, Proposal 1 established a ten percent Excise Tax on retail marijuana sales. Two analyses were conducted to estimate how much additional tax revenue Proposal 1 will generate for Michigan. VS Strategies, a marijuana business research firm, built a model that projects the state will see $520 million in new revenue in the first five years following adoption of the measure. The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency (MSFA) produced a projection using a slightly different methodology. Their analysis predicts that Proposal 1 will generate $738 million in new revenue by 2023.

7. How will Michigan’s economy be affected?

The MSFA estimates $1.6 billion in annual marijuana sales by 2023. This economic activity will create hundreds of new businesses and tens of thousands of new jobs. Another analysis estimates that Colorado, a state with just over half the population of Michigan, created over 18,000 full-time jobs by legalizing marijuana for adults. Legalization in Michigan would also produce a positive spillover effect for ancillary industries and professions such as electricians, accountants, construction workers and many others.

Opponents claim that legalization will somehow hurt existing businesses in Michigan, but there is no basis for this argument. Proposal 1 makes it clear that employers can continue to prohibit their employees from using marijuana, conduct drug screenings and impose the same disciplinary actions as they do today.




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