Michigan Marijuana: Everything You Need to Know

Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency is in charge of cannabis laws in the Great Lake State. However, these laws impact several parties.

Adult recreational consumers, medical marijuana patients, and caregivers will benefit from the information in this post. However, if you’re part of this state’s cannabis industry, this information is essential for your success.

Keep reading to learn more about Michigan marijuana and the regulations surrounding it.

Operating a Michigan marijuana business? Northstar is here to help you navigate cannabis compliance!

Contact us now to learn how we’ll scale your Michigan cannabusiness in this budding space.

Michigan Cannabis Safety Act

The Michigan Cannabis Safety Act was recently introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators. Through this update, Michigan’s medical marijuana laws will now facilitate safe patient and caregiver cannabis access.

At this point, unlicensed marijuana growers do not need to test, track, or label medical marijuana caregivers or patients purchases. They can also sell their leftover medical marijuana.

However, the new regulation will still permit cannabis grows by unlicensed caregivers.

Just like licensed caregivers, unlicensed caregivers are still allowed to grow medical marijuana under the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative. They can also grow for one patient. But the main difference is now, many caregivers will be allowed to demand testing of specialty medical grower product.

michigan medical marijuana girl

Michigan Medical Marijuana Progress

“Michigan has an opportunity to be a national leader in cannabis safety, job creation and economic growth, and these bills help us rein in Michigan’s unlicensed cannabis market that threatens the health of all Michiganders,” explained state Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township.

Ultimately, lifting this limit caregivers have been burdened with will improve the caregiver system tremendously. And we expect the medical marijuana prong of the cannabis industry to become a safe space as a result.

Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association (MCMA)

Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association (MCMA)

As black-market cannabis in Michigan continues to thrive, patient and consumer safety are at risk. Illicit market cannabis products aren’t tested for safety, lack labeling, and aren’t tracked or subjected to state taxes.

Unlike licensed retailers responsible for legal sales, the illicit cannabis market lacks safety, accountability, and transparency. And these aspects of this state’s cannabis industry are what the MCMA aims to change.

As one of the largest organizations working to limit caregivers, the MCMA also represents many of the space’s largest financial interests. One study they released in June estimates that nearly 66% of all cannabis sales in Michigan, around $3.2 billion in sales, happened through the illicit market.

Much of the market share remains illegal. And this is why the MCMA is fighting for regulatory reform, urging lawmakers and state officials to take action with new regulations and proposed changes.

The MCMA’s Commitments

The MCMA wants Michigan to become a leader in cannabis safety, innovation, and entrepreneurship. But the growing illicit market has the potential to destabilize the state’s regulated space.

Without cannabis law enforcement, cannabis cultivated illegally threatens to put people out of work. Countless businesses and opportunities are currently at risk as the illicit market continues distributing cannabis flower and other products.

Here’s what the MCMA commits to doing for Michiganders:

Medical & Recreational Cannabis Safety & Regulations

The MCMA focuses on enhancing customer and product safety. It also works to enforce each cannabis law while ensuring equality throughout the regulated cannabis marketplace.

In essence, for patients and consumers, this means the MCMA strives to guarantee safe, accessible products. But for entrepreneurs in this space, heavy regulation to ensure marijuana plants and products are created in accordance with state law.

High Standards for Marijuana Plants, Products, & Business Operators

While federal law is still restrictive, to legalize cannabis at the state-level means Michiganders need access to safe, high-quality medical and recreational marijuana. This federally controlled substance also needs some state-level control to maintain patient and consumer safety.

With the MCMA, lawmakers seek to maintain a strong Michigan cannabis industry. This ultimately results in more tax revenue generated and safer, more profitable legal cannabis sales in the Great Lake State.

Investing in the Medical & Recreational Cannabis Space

Members of the MCMA have already invested almost $1 billion in the state’s cannabis space. And let’s not forget about how this has stimulated Michigan’s economy.

The MCMA has hired thousands of employees as it built a foundation for the regulated cannabis marketplace. But it’s also supporting opportunities for new businesses to become a part of the regulated medical and recreational cannabis marketplace in Michigan.

Equality & Justice for Everyone Involved

The MCMA promotes social equity and social justice by calling for clemency and expungement for all non-violent cannabis offenders. This encourages people to work for the industry and delve in marijuana entrepreneurship.

MCMA members also support equal access to medical marijuana for patients and recreational cannabis for adults. While this industry has thrived, minorities constantly face criminalization and countless arrests.

This association aims to make minority-owned businesses eligible for state licensing through legislation. And it also pledges to open opportunities through accessible licenses and affordable licensing fees within the industry as more entrepreneurs join the legal landscape.

Community Revitalization

The War on Drugs has been detrimental to the community. This is where community revitalization comes into play.

The MCMA’s members are investing in innovative tech, good-paying jobs, and community revitalization to improve the state.

Michigan Cannabis Legislation for Regulation

Michigan Medical Cannabis Legislation

Proposal 1, the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative, passed on November 4, 2008. With this measure, medical cannabis was legalized.

The measure allowed Michigan patients to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for certain medical conditions after receiving approval from a physician. However, dispensaries were not given permission to operate.

However, even without dispensary permission to operate, patients or their caregivers were given permission to cultivate up to a dozen cannabis plants.

In February 2013, the Supreme Court of Michigan decided that this 2008 initiative didn’t permit medical cannabis dispensary operation. Thus, there were between 75 and 100 dispensaries operating in this legal gray area at this point.

Then, in September 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of bills to implement some reforms. These included the following:

  1. Permission for medical cannabis dispensaries to operate with the regulation in place,
  2. Establish a 3% taxation rate for medical cannabis, and
  3. Permit non-smokable cannabis forms like edibles and topicals.

michigan marijuana smoker

Michigan Recreational Cannabis Legalization

In November 2017, the state’s legalization proponents submitted 365,000 signatures to get adult-use cannabis legalization on the 2018 ballot. Then, in April 2018, the state certified that cannabis supporters had achieved enough valid signatures to get it on the ballot.

In June, 2018, Michigan lawmakers rejected the option to pass this measure on their own. This sent it to the November ballot.

Michigan voters approved Proposal 1 by a 56 – 44 margin on November 6, 2018. In turn, the Great Lake State became the 10 state to legalize recreational use marijuana. Equally important to note is that it was the first state in the Midwest to do so, too.

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act

Through the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, anyone 21 years or older is allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in public. They can also possess up to 10 ounces and cultivate up to a dozen plants at their residence.

This new legislation also created a system for state-licensed cultivation and distribution for marijuana. Sales became subject to a 10% excise tax, and the 6% state sales tax remained.

The law began implementation on December 6, 2018. Dispensaries opened their doors to the public on December 1, 2019.

Michigan Marijuana Consumption Insight

Michigan Marijuana Consumption Insight

Consumption of recreational and medical cannabis in Michigan is legal. These products have been legal for medical consumption since 2008. But recreational marijuana didn’t become legal until 2018.

Federal law doesn’t permit marijuana consumption. However, while it’s still a controlled substance in Michigan, the penalties aren’t so harsh for personal use possession.

Michiganders can have up to 2.5 ounces on them legally. Furthermore, up to 10 ounces of cannabis flower at home is legal.

If someone has beyond 2.5 ounces but as much as 5 ounces, this is a civil infraction. The maximum fine for this offense is $500.

However, beyond 5 ounces for a first-time offender is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $500. No incarceration time for any of these offenses, though.

What’s a Designated Marijuana Consumption Establishment?

You’re probably wondering about designated marijuana consumption establishments in Michigan. The state now has a Designated Consumption Establishment license that allows cannabis consumption on commercial property for adults 21 years old or older.

Keep in mind, a Designated Consumption Establishment cannot have retail sales of medical or recreational marijuana. But this is a tremendous stride in the right direction for increasing accessibility for consumers and opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Michigan Medical Marijuana Card Information

Through the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP), the Marijuana Regulatory Agency administers the current law for patients and caregivers.

Click here to apply for a medical marijuana card online.

Click here for online application resources.

Click here to view paper applications and forms.

Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card Online

To apply, you’ll need to be a patient without a caregiver. You’ll also have to create a secure online account here.

For more information about applying, follow the instructions to apply for a Patient Only Registry Card here.

Michigan Caregiver FAQ

How do I become a caregiver in Michigan?

Caregivers must meet the requirements of the caregiver definition as per the MMMA. Then, a patient has to submit documentation to designate you as their caregiver.

The documentation can be a complete Application Packet if the patient’s registry card is expiring in fewer than 60 days or isn’t holding an active registry card. Patients can also submit a complete Add or Change Caregiver Form if the patient already holds an active registry card.

Keep in mind, you’ll need to submit your valid state-issued driver’s license or another personal identification card with the patient’s documentation.

Can a caregiver sell to a dispensary in Michigan?

As per some emergency rules created and implemented by the MRA, caregivers used to be allowed to sell products and extra cannabis to commercial operations. However, this has changed as of September 2020.

In the past, the licensed market was undersupplied. Caregivers supported the regulated market by selling to dispensaries for commercial purposes.

How much can a caregiver grow in Michigan?

Caregivers are allowed to grow up to 12 plants for each of their patients. Furthermore, they can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for each of their patients.

Caregivers and patients can legally grow indoors or outdoors. However, the grow must happen in an enclosed, locked facility.

Is Michigan getting rid of caregivers?

The licensed cannabis market no longer recognizes caregivers since September 2020. This phased out a caregiver classification that came about in 2008.

But why?

Michigan marijuana companies and politicians involved with regulatory affairs want to limit how much marijuana loosely regulated caregivers can legally cultivate. State lawmakers unveiled a package of bipartisan bills on September 14 that focuses on reducing the number of patients caregivers can serve.

Caregivers are allowed to serve up to five patients. However, if this law passes, the 12-plant-per-patient limit would limit how many marijuana plants a caregiver can grow and possess for personal use.

Cannabis activists argue that legitimate caregivers aren’t at fault. Instead, it’s the operations that use the title to legitimize their activities.

The proposed legislation creates a new license type for the specialty medical grower. This would operate within the regulated space. Specialty medical growers would need to pay $500 for application fees and put their marijuana through safety compliance testing.

Rick Thompson, a caregiver supporter and the director of the NORML Michigan chapter is against the change.

“There should be no changes to the current caregiver plant allowance, regardless of the addition of the specialty grower license type,” said Thompson.

Thompson claims that the proposed legislation is a “smoke-and-mirrors game” that is working to lessen the number of caregivers while hiding behind claims that consumer safety is the priority.

Cultivating Marijuana Plants in Michigan

Adults can grow marijuana plants (12 or fewer) at their residences for personal use. But the plants cannot be visible from a public place and must be grown in a secure place. A civil infraction can occur with a fine of up to $100, along with forfeiture of the cannabis.

For those who cultivate up to 24 plants for personal use, it’s only a civil infraction. The maximum fine is $500 and there is no maximum sentence for this offense.

Anyone caught illegally cultivating between 25 and 200 plants for personal use can have a civil infraction. This can result in imprisonment if it was “habitual, willful, and for commercial purpose or the violation involved violence.”

If someone is arrested cultivating beyond 200 plants for personal use, they could be charged with a misdemeanor. They might face some imprisonment if it was “habitual, willful, and for commercial purpose or the violation involved violence.”

While you won’t face a felony punishable by prison time if you aren’t operating as an illicit commercial entity, it’s always best to follow the rules in place. However, if you do decide to operate illegally in this space and face a felony punishable by prison time, it’s always best to have a cannabis lawyer ready to help just in case.

Michigan Marijuana Financial Services

Regardless of which stage your Michigan marijuana business is at, financial services are essential to scale. Compliance is a must in this industry, and having your financials in order will guarantee you adhere to all regulations in place.

Do you have a CPA on your team who understands the Michigan marijuana industry? From tax prep to other compliance matters, your operation will benefit from professional assistance.

Looking for help scaling your operation in this budding space? Northstar is here to help!

Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how we’ll grow your operation with the right financial services.

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