On December 6, 2018, recreational marihuana became legal in Michigan. While you may or may not plan to consume marihuana recreationally, you should stay informed regarding how the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (“MRTMA”) affects you.
The first thing that everyone should know is that the MRTMA does not affect the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”) and the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”). Michigan runs the MRTMA and the MMMA/MMFLA as parallel laws. If you are dealing with a legal issue regarding marihuana, it is very important for you to find out if the marihuana use was for medical or recreational purposes.
The MRTMA allows a person who is 21 years of age or older to possess, use or consume, internally possess, purchase, transport, or process 2.5 ounces or less of marihuana. No more than 15 grams of marihuana of those 2.5 ounces may be in the form of marihuana concentrate. Additionally, a person who is 21 years of age or older may possess, store, and process not more than 10 ounces of marihuana in the person’s residence. The MRTMA also allows a person who is 21 years of age or older to cultivate not more than 12 marihuana plants for personal use at the person’s residence and to possess, store, and process any marihuana produced by marihuana plants cultivated on the premises. The number of marihuana plants that may be cultivated is not based on the number of people in the household. This means whether you live alone or with 15 other people, the maximum number of marihuana plants you can cultivate at your residence is 12. Any excess amount of Marihuana at the person’s residence over 2.5 ounces must be kept locked in a container or restricted area.
There are also many restrictions place by the MRTMA on the recreational use of marihuana. Similar to alcohol, a person under the age of 21 may not use marihuana for recreational purposes. Again, keep in mind that there are two other parallel marihuana laws and the MRTMA does not restrict the use of marihuana by a person under the age of 21. The MRTMA also restrict a person from operating, navigating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana. A person is also prohibited from possessing marihuana accessories or possessing or consuming marihuana on the grounds of a public or private school where children attend classes in preschool programs, kindergarten programs, or grades 1 through 12, in a school bus, or on the grounds of any correctional facility. Local Michigan municipalities may also restrict, limit or regulate marihuana establishment within their border. However, individuals may petition to initiate an ordinance to allow or prohibit marihuana establishment within a municipality.
Some of you might also wonder how the MRTMA affect you as an employer and/or a landlord. The MRTMA does not prohibit an employer from making employment decisions based on an employee or an applicant’s recreational use of Marihuana. An employer is also not prohibited from restricting marihuana use at the workplace. At the end of the day, if your employee handbook has restrictions on marihuana, DO NOT RISK IT as the law does not prohibit your employer from enforcing those restrictions. On the other hand, as a landlord, you may prohibit or otherwise regulate the consumption, cultivation, distribution, processing, sale, or display of marihuana and marihuana accessories on your property. However, if you plan to restrict marihuana on your rental property, you must inform the tenants of your restrictions, and preferably in writing either by a new rental agreement or an addendum to the previous rental agreement. However, a landlord may not prohibit a tenant from lawfully possessing and consuming marihuana by means other than smoking. Translation: a tenant may possess legal amount of marihuana on the rental property (not marihuana plant!), may consume marihuana via other means such as vaping or edibles (cakes, cookies, brownies and etc. with marihuana in the ingredients), but may not smoke marihuana.
Please keep in mind that Marihuana law is rapidly changing, and the federal government may very well be lifting the restriction on marihuana in the future. Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, AKA the 2018 Farm Bill, which will significantly affect current federal marihuana law, on December 12, 2018. The 2018 Farm Bill is currently before the president awaiting his signature. Michigan judicial courts have not interpreted the MRTMA and the State and LARA have not supplemented the MRTMA with rules, regulation, and guidance. Therefore, please make sure that you seek legal counsel when dealing with marihuana issues to get the most up to date information.