This timeline, published on The Oakland Press website, gives a nice overview of where the State of Michigan has been so far in terms of Marijuana legalization.
It also gives a clue where Michigan is headed this year and next.
- 1972 – Ann Arbor removes criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana.
- 2008 – Voters approve the Compassionate Care Initiative 63 percent to 37 percent, allowing medical marijuana in Michigan. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
- 2012 – Cities begin to decriminalize marijuana in local ordinances: Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids in 2012; Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing in 2013; Hazel Park, Oak Park, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Ridge, Port Huron and Saginaw in 2014; East Lansing, Portage, and Keego Harbor in 2015. In 2012, Ypsilanti made marijuana enforcement a low priority and Kalamazoo lowered penalties.
- 2017 – Laws allowing five different types of medical marijuana licenses will take effect in mid-December.
- 2017 – Petition drive is underway to place a proposal on the 2018 ballot to legalize recreational marijuana.
September 2016 saw the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act getting signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder. In the wake of 2012’s wave of decriminalization of medical marijuana, there were confusing legal jumbles as to who could grow, transport, and dispense marijuana where and when.
Oakland County Michigan
Oakland County has been particularly quick to prosecute any business operations that looked like dispensaries – which, according to law enforcement, are not covered by the law. A Keego Harbor resident found this out the hard way.
The Act signed by Gov. Snyder allows five types of medical marijuana facilities to be established in each city’s jurisdiction and according to its discretion. Kalamazoo held public forums earlier this summer to allow citizens input into the zoning and ordinance codes that would be impacted by this Act.
There are several things these zoning codes will address:
- A proposed amendment to the code permitting a registered caregiver to operate as a home occupation.
- A proposed amendment to define zoning districts where proposed commercial medical marijuana facilities can legally be located
In addition, local municipalities have the option to allow five different types of medical marijuana facilities to operate or not:
- Processors (those who refine the product into concentrates and edibles)
- Safety compliance facilities (who test the product for potency and contamination)
- Secure transportation
- Provisioning Centers/Dispensaries
Michigan Marijuana Laws: New Law Takes Effect in December
To be clear, dispensaries are still not legal in the State of Michigan according to the state Attorney General.
Some dispensaries have not been busted in Wayne County. However, Oakland County law enforcement has been quick to shut down and prosecute those trying to set up dispensaries. This new law will make it legal to set up a dispensary in a city that allows it. Law enforcement will not be able to prosecute.
In addition, driving this change is, in part, the tax benefits to be received by cities who allow medical marijuana facilities. Three percent of retail profits from medical marijuana will be taxed and distributed to local government and law enforcement.
The goal for the state is to have all ordinance changes adopted before December 15th of this year – which is the date on which applications for one of the five licenses can be filed.
Looking forward, in 2018 expect to see a question on your ballot about legalizing recreational marijuana.
Legalization of medical marijuana process has been confusing and disastrous for some. However, the State of Michigan is making things much clearer this year. Check your local city ordinances to find out if legal marijuana is near you.
You may also like to read Legalizing Marijuana in Michigan: Next Strategic Steps