Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: May 25, 2023
Michigan approaching five years of cannabis legalization
On November 6, 2018, 55.9% of Michigan voters approved Prop 1, making Michigan the first state in the Midwest to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older.
Prop. 1 legalized adults’ possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and secure home cultivation of up to 12 plants, while legalizing, regulating, and taxing production and sales and directing regulators to come up with a plan to foster equity. Michigan’s legalization law includes on-site cannabis consumption and temporary events, so long as they are permitted by the local town or city government. MPP played a leading role in the effort, working with an amazing campaign staff and hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Check out MPP’s summary of the law here.
The first legal sales began a little over a year after the vote, but some cities still have no cannabis businesses. Michigan’s cities and towns can ban cannabis businesses or set their own rules for licensing. Unfortunately, Detroit’s efforts to create equitable licensing were mired in litigation, significantly delaying rollout in the Motor City, with the first sales in January 2023. You can find licensed cannabis businesses on this map.
While Michigan’s legalization law is almost five years old, policies continue to be refined and work remains to be done.
State Government Considers Removing Cannabis Test Barrier for Job Applicants
Michigan’s legalization law doesn’t protect workers from being fired — or not hired — for using cannabis in their spare time. The Michigan Civil Service Commission is considering a modest step forward for job applicants.
The proposal would drop cannabis from pre-employment drug testing for most jobs that are not test‐designated. Under existing policy, a person who tests positive for cannabis is not only prevented from getting that job, but from any state agency job for three years. You can find out more here. The proposed revision would also remove those sanctions for people who previously tested positive during the application process in non-test designated positions. The Commission is accepting public comment at MCSC-OGC@mi.gov through June 23, 2023.
Michigan Launches Automatic Expungement Process
Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders have criminal records from the state’s decades of prohibition. Those scarlet letters derail dreams and lives, making it difficult to get a job, housing, and education.
In the fall of 2020, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bills, allowing as many as 235,000 cannabis offenses to be expunged from records. HB 4982 allows an unlimited amount of marijuana misdemeanors to be expunged, as long as they are for conduct that was legalized in Prop. 1, and creates a presumption for expungement. The governor also signed Clean Slate laws, which reduced the waiting time and the number of felony convictions that can be expunged.
Under the Clean Slate laws, the expungement process became automatic — requiring no action from the person with the criminal record — in April 2023.
Like other medical marijuana laws that passed prior to Pres. Barack Obama’s election (which led to the federal government adopting a hands-off approach to well-regulated medical marijuana programs), Michigan’s original law provided clear protections for patients and caregivers who may possess and cultivate cannabis, but did not establish regulations for the businesses that made medical marijuana available to them.
As the population of patients in Michigan grew, the business community serving them also grew. Unfortunately, Michigan’s lack of regulations led to years of harm.
In 2016, lawmakers passed three bills that together overhauled the state’s medical marijuana program. While an improvement in many ways, it was not without its controversies, particularly for those businesses that were operating since voters approved MPP’s medical marijuana initiative in 2008.
Timeline of marijuana policy reform in Michigan
2008: Voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana for patients suffering from serious health issues. 2016: Michigan’s legislature enacted a law expanding the state’s existing medical marijuana program to include licensing and regulation of medical marijuana businesses. 2018: Michigan voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for adults. 2019: Adult-use sales begin 2023: Automatic expungement launches
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Earlier this month, the Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation to create a simple process for people to expunge marijuana convictions from their records. A package of bills that includes marijuana expungement is expected to receive a vote in the Senate during the first week of December. Please send a message to your state senator urging them to vote in favor of allowing expungement for past marijuana convictions.Gov. Gretchen Whitmer…