In the beginning of December 2019, Michigan became the 10th state in the US to legalize the sell and consumption of recreational marijuana. After a vote held in 2018 resulted in a clear majority for the pro-legalization campaign, government officials and lawmakers began preparing for a new market that will benefit consumers and stakeholders along the supply line.
However, although the news is encouraging and reflects the shift that is slowly spreading across the country, there are a few catches to the legalization of marijuana in Michigan. While there is no state law that bans the sale or consumption of the plant anymore, local jurisdictions can opt out of sales.
Ann Arbor: The Core of the Legal Recreational Marijuana Industry in Michigan
On December 2019, 18 licenses were issued to growers and processors to begin selling marijuana with recreational purposes in the state. While a few of them were spread across the state, most were limited to the city of Ann Arbor – home to the University of Michigan. According to USA Today, around 80% of the state’s municipalities have decided not to allow the sale of recreational cannabis in their jurisdictions.
The current situation reflects the ongoing conflict between federal, state and local laws in the United States when it comes to the legality of marijuana products. While recreational cannabis is illegal at a federal level, 11 states allow it within its borders. Even in these states, however, some jurisdictions have taken steps to prevent the establishment of marijuana dispensaries in their territory.
Who Can Buy Marijuana in Michigan?
Apart from the fact that recreational cannabis is only available at certain locations within the state, there are further restrictions when it comes to who can purchase it. To buy and consume marijuana in Michigan, you need to be at least 21 years old and have a valid state ID.
Even if you comply with these requirements, you might want to think twice before you visit the local dispensary. In Michigan as in other states, employers can prohibit their employees from having high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabidiol in their systems. Landlords in the state can also ban the use of cannabis in their properties.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the recreational marijuana market in Michigan could serve more than 1.5 million people. A further 300,000 residents were already eligible to use cannabis products for medical purposes under the existing regulations.
Where Can You Buy Recreational Cannabis in the State?
Due to the local restrictions mentioned above, recreational marijuana is currently available at licensed dispensaries in the cities of Ann Harbor, Morenci and Evart. Detroit and most municipalities within its metropolitan area have opted out of the sales, as have done more than 1,400 communities across the state.
Despite the catches, the truth is that the legal recreational cannabis industry is steadily growing in the United States. We can only hope that these changes will continue and, eventually, be reflected in policies at a federal level.