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Recreational marijuana is legal today in Michigan. Here are 5 things to know before lighting up.

person smoking a marijuana pipe
Michiganders will be able to consume, but not purchase, recreational marijuana starting Thursday.

Michigan’s recreational marijuana law, officially known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, goes into effect today. Well, part of it, at least.

Voters passed Proposal 1 last month, making Michigan the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana.

But not everything goes into effect right away. Here are five things you need to know before lighting up this week.

1. You can smoke weed, but you can’t buy it

Starting Thursday, Dec. 6, it is legal for anyone over 21 years old to grow, consume, and possess marijuana, but not purchase or sell it.

In other words, if you already have marijuana in your possession (you don’t have to tell us where you got it), you’re free to consume it. But only those with medical marijuana cards can buy more.

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The same goes for growing. If you already have plants in your house, they are legal to grow and harvest for your own use. But buying marijuana plants or selling the marijuana that you grow is still illegal.

And how much can you have? Under the new law, you can carry up to 2.5 ounces as long as you’re not at a K-12 school or on federal property (so leave it at home if you plan to climb the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, for example). In your own home, you can store up to 10 ounces and grow up to 12 plants.

If you’re concerned that the legal limit of 2.5 ounces isn’t enough kush for you, just know that that equals roughly 140 joints of 0.5 grams each, so it should be plenty for most people.

2. You can only smoke pot in private

Don’t expect the streets to start filling with clouds of smoke today (unless you live in Ann Arbor, perhaps). Because just like alcohol, it will be illegal to consume marijuana in public.

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

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.

3. Don’t try to buy marijuana outside of Michigan and bring it back

Even though you can legally purchase marijuana in nine other states and Canada, it would be a bad idea to bring any back to Michigan, even though you can now consume it here.

Marijuana remains banned under federal law, and transporting illicit drugs across state or national borders is considered drug trafficking and is illegal.

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4. Recreational retail shops won’t open for at least one year

The state has until December 6, 2019 to figure out licenses and regulations for recreational pot shops. 

5. The law could potentially change, but it’s a bit of a long shot

When a ballot initiative passes, it requires a 3/4 majority of both the state House and Senate to make any changes.

But that doesn’t mean some legislators aren’t trying.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof has introduced a bill that would make it illegal to grow marijuana in your home, and would drastically change the tax structure established by the law.

Bonus: Merry Christmas! Gifting marijuana is legal, even if selling it is not

If you have a medical marijuana card and can legally purchase marijuana products, there is nothing stopping you from giving pot as a present to your friends and family.

But again, giving or receiving payment for marijuana in any form is illegal, so if you want to give away extra greenery this holiday season, you can’t collect payment.

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Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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