Image of cannabis plant in dirt

Cannabis Law 101: What You Need to Know to Stay Legal

Knowing what’s legal and what’s not when it comes to cannabis can be confusing because many states’ laws differ significantly from federal law. Additionally, many states’ laws differ from each other—sometimes even from the state right next door!

Below, our Michigan cannabis law attorneys discuss the ins and outs of the laws regarding this Schedule I controlled substance.

Formerly a Controlled Substance, Marijuana is Now Legal in Michigan

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. These drugs are defined as those “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” As such, the penalties for the possession and use of such substances (including marijuana) may carry some of the harshest penalties.

While such regulations are still true at a federal level, each state in the country has the ability to modify its own state laws regarding the use, possession, and sale of marijuana. To that end, many states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana (while it remains illegal at a federal level).

In late 2018, Michigan became the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana. However, this does not mean that you can use the substance wherever you want.

Using Cannabis in Michigan

In Michigan, only adults over the age of 21 may use cannabis legally.

In terms of where you may use the substance, Michigan law requires that anyone using cannabis must do so in private, such as in their own residence. It is illegal to use cannabis in a public place, such as on the street or at the park.

Possession of cannabis is another matter. The amount that you may carry varies depending on where you are. For example, while you may possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in your residence, you may not carry more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis on your person when out in public.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that some areas in the state fall under federal jurisdiction rather than state law. Airports, for example, are considered federal property and, as such, follow federal laws. Therefore, it is illegal to possess or use cannabis in an airport or any other federal property such as government buildings or prisons. Furthermore, it’s illegal to carry cannabis in areas frequented by children, such as schools and school buses.

Selling or Distributing Cannabis in Michigan

In Michigan, adults may transfer up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis to another adult as long as there is no money or anything else exchanged for the substance and the transfer is not promoted to the public. In other words, the transfer must be a bona fide gift.

Cultivating Cannabis in Michigan

In Michigan, adults may grow up to 12 marijuana plants at their own residence for their personal use. However, adults may not grow marijuana plants that are visible from a public place.

How to Start a Cannabis Business in Michigan

Since the recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Michigan in 2018, enterprising individuals across the state have become interested in joining this lucrative industry. In order to start your own “cannabusiness,” you must undergo significant legal legwork in order to establish your company legally.

First off, until December 6, 2021, those seeking to operate a recreational cannabis business will have to obtain licensing on the medical side. Once that has been completed, applicants may apply for an adult-use marijuana establishment license.

The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) requires that only the following applications for licensure may be accepted until December 6, 2021:

After December 6, 2021, the Michigan residency requirement and the medical marijuana facility requirements will cease, and anyone may apply for an adult-use marijuana establishment license.

Michigan law has also created a path for licensure for those interested in cultivating industrial hemp—a variety of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. This is widely cultivated as a primary source for cannabidiol (CBD).

If you are interested in starting a medical marijuana business, an adult-use recreational marijuana business, or a cultivation business, our Michigan cannabis law attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC can help you acquire the appropriate licenses, fill out the right paperwork, and make sure the legality of your business is firmly, properly established.

Traveling with Marijuana

Due to the differences between federal and state laws regarding marijuana, many people remain confused about how to travel with the substance legally. Below, we provide answers to some of the most common questions regarding this topic.

What happens if I forgot I brought marijuana to the airport?

As discussed earlier, it is illegal to bring marijuana to an airport. But, what happens if you forgot you had marijuana in your bag upon arrival?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states on their website that their agents do not go out of their way to search for illegal drugs. The agency’s top priority is to protect passenger safety and detect potential threats to aviation. However, remember that TSA is a federal agency and, as such, must enforce federal laws. So, if TSA agents find marijuana in your bag, they must report it to the police. What happens after that is up to the police.

Can I travel with marijuana if I have a medical marijuana card?

It depends. In short, if TSA finds marijuana in your bag, they are not able to check the validity of your card and, as such, still must report the discovery to the police. Then, the police and the prosecutor will determine whether the issuance of any criminal charges is warranted under the circumstances.

Can I travel with CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active ingredients in cannabis. CBD can be found in all varieties of the cannabis plant. Frequently, CBD is derived from industrial hemp, which is a variety of the cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3% THC that is legal under federal law. Many people use the substance for its anti-anxiety and calming properties.

Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause a “high.” Therefore, as long as your CBD product contains no more than 0.3% THC, you can bring it on a flight.

Michigan’s Penalties for Marijuana Violations

Keeping these laws in mind will help you use, possess, and transfer cannabis legally. However, violating these laws can cause harsh penalties, including the following:

Possession

  • Possession of 2.5-5 ounces of marijuana outside of your home: Punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and forfeiture of the marijuana for a first offense.
  • Possession of more than 5 ounces of marijuana outside of your home: This is a misdemeanor. However, no term of imprisonment will be imposed unless the violation was habitual, willful, and for a commercial purpose or the violation involved violence.

Sale or Distribution

  • Less than 5 kilograms: This is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 4 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000.
  • 5-45 kilograms: This is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.
  • 45 kilograms or more: This is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000,000.

Cultivation

  • Growing marijuana plants that are visible from a public place or outside of a secured area: Punishable as a civil infraction with a fine not to exceed $100 and forfeiture of the marijuana.
  • Up to 24 plants for personal use: Punishable as a civil infraction with a fine of maximum fine of $500.
  • 25–200+ plants for personal use: A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment if the violation was habitual, willful, and for a commercial purpose or the violation involved violence.

Need Help with Cannabis Law? Contact Us Today

Cannabis law is complicated and calls for the sophisticated legal representation of a seasoned professional. At Grewal Law PLLC, we have a specific team dedicated to this area of the law. Our attorneys can help you establish your own “cannabusiness” or navigate the complex legal issues surrounding this substance.

Call Grewal Law PLLC at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a consultation!

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