The new Michigan marijuana laws have changed the way marijuana activities are governed. However, some things haven’t changed. It is critical that you have a skilled defense attorney for any case involving a marijuana-related charge in Michigan to avoid serious criminal penalties.
This is the second of our two-part series on the new laws and penalties surrounding the legalization of marijuana in Michigan.
Not only is marijuana legal for medical use in this state, but now that it is legal for recreational use, the laws and regulations surrounding the use, growth, sale, and distribution of the drug have gotten more complicated.
Can you go to jail for possession of marijuana anymore in Michigan? Technically, no.
However, as we will see, lawmakers think it may still be possible to be sentenced to jail time for crimes related to possession.
Read on to learn more about how Michigan is regulating marijuana.
Marijuana Laws in Michigan That Haven’t Changed
It is important to remember some laws haven’t changed since Proposition 1 was passed in Michigan including:
- To distribute marijuana to a person under 21 years of age, regardless of whether money changed hands.
- To sell marijuana to any person.
Under Michigan law, both actions are a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
What If You Get Caught With 25 Plants? Marijuana Misdemeanors.
There is another category, covered in section 15.4 of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA). This section deals with the possession of more than twice the amount of marijuana that you are legally allowed to possess or grow.
That means you would have to have more than 24 plants or more than 5 ounces of marijuana on your person. This violation is a misdemeanor.
If prosecutors can prove that you possessed or grew more than twice the legal amount of the drug “habitually, willfully, and for a commercial purpose,” you could be looking at a maximum jail sentence of one year.
No maximum fine has been identified; neither have any consequences for subsequent violations.
Commercial purpose can mean that you might gain a profit, make a trade, use it to do business, or any other money-oriented purpose.
If prosecutors can prove you intended to sell it to one person over the age of 21, you are subject to all of the penalties listed above. Civil asset forfeiture is another possibility in this instance.
If prosecutors cannot prove you grew all that pot for a commercial purpose, it’s still a misdemeanor, but without any possible jail time. As with any of these new crimes, the confiscation of your marijuana is a likelihood.
Underage Marijuana Use – Section 15.3
What if a minor sells marijuana to a minor? What if a minor is found in possession of marijuana?
There are laws governing the age group between 18 and 21 and laws governing those under 18, and only applicable to the possession of up to 2.5 ounces or 12 plants.
It is illegal to deliver or to receive marijuana between people under age 21. It is likewise unlawful to use marijuana in public or to possess or consume it on school grounds. The penalties are different than for people over age 21, and for those over 18 as opposed to those under 18.
Penalties for people under 18
- First offense: Civil infraction with a fine of $100 or community service and a four-hour drug education class.
- Second offense: Civil infraction with a fine of $100 or community service and an eight-hour drug education class.
Penalties for people between the ages of 18 and 21 are the same as these but without the drug education class.
Additional Marijuana Offenses Newly Created
Where actions were not explicitly prohibited by the Controlled Substances Act, the MRTMA – or proposition 1 – has created prohibitions to these behaviors:
- Consuming marijuana while driving (as distinct from driving under the influence of marijuana, which is covered and illegal).
- Smoking marijuana in the passenger side of a vehicle.
- Possession or consumption of marijuana on school grounds or at a correctional facility if you are over the age of 21.
- Butane extraction at home or in your car.
The penalties for these new crimes haven’t been specified. Lawmakers expect some of these issues to go before the Michigan Supreme Court as the state begins to uphold the new laws.
Consult a Skilled Michigan Criminal Attorney
Michigan’s new marijuana laws have brought change to the state. However, the law may be confusing.
If you are facing marijuana-related charges, or any drug-related charge, please call my office today.
Let’s get started!
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