Marijuana Will Be Legal in Michigan on Dec. 6 - NBC Chicago
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Marijuana Will Be Legal in Michigan on Dec. 6

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    Marijuana Will Be Legal in Michigan on Dec. 6
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    Marijuana will be legal in Michigan beginning Dec. 6, 10 days after the 2018 election results were officially certified.

    On Election Day, Michigan voters made their state the first in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana by passing a ballot measure that will allow people 21 or older to buy and use the drug, putting conservative neighboring states on notice.

    Three other states had marijuana-related measures on their ballots. North Dakota voters decided recreational pot wasn't for them, while voters in Missouri passed one of three unrelated measures to legalize medical marijuana. Utah voters also were considering whether to allow medical marijuana and to join the 31 other states that have already done so.

    Including Michigan, 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. And Canada recently did so. But the passage in Michigan gives it a foothold in Middle America and could cause tension with neighboring Indiana and Ohio, which overwhelmingly rejected a 2015 legalization measure.

    Once the Michigan law takes effect in about a month, people age 21 or older will be allowed to have, use and grow the drug, but the process of establishing regulations for its retail sale could take about two years.

    The measure, which was endorsed by a national organization of black-owned businesses and a group of retired Michigan law enforcement officers, will create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow cities and townships to restrict them. Supporters say it will raise roughly $130 million in additional tax revenue each year that will go toward road repairs, schools and local governments. They also say it will allow for greater regulation of pot usage and for the police to focus on more pressing problems.

    Opponents, including many law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, chambers of commerce and religious groups, said legalizing marijuana would lead to increased use by children, drug abuse and car crashes. They also said Michigan's proposal would be too permissive by allowing people to have up to 2.5 ounces of the drug on them and up to 10 ounces at home.

    It will take time to implement the new law, which means marijuana won't be commercially available for sale until the state comes up with rules and regulations, and begins licensing businesses - a process that will happen at the end of 2019, according to the Detroit Free Press.

    Residents can grow up to 12 plants for personal use in their homes, the Free Press reports, and give - but not sell - marijuana to friends and family over the legal age of 21.

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