How Will Legalization Affect the Michigan Medical Marijuana Industry?

With legalization on the ballot this November 6th, the Michigan marijuana industry is buzzing with excitement. The latest polling numbers show the proposal has more than enough support to pass, and when it does, Michigan is primed to become one of the largest cannabis markets in the country.

Marijuana entrepreneurs in the Great Lakes State aren’t the only ones who are closely watching projections, however. The entire U.S. cannabis industry has its eyes on Michigan.

Current Michigan Marijuana Laws

Michigan voters approved medical marijuana in 2008, the 13th state to do so. In the ten years since medical marijuana in Michigan has truly bloomed. The state is home to a very large population of medical marijuana patients, second only to California.

Currently, to qualify for the medical marijuana program, Michiganders (or Michiganians, if you prefer) must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s, Hepatitis C, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, seizures, or severe and chronic pain, among others. In addition, their physician must also provide a prescription. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) requires patients and caregivers to register with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP) before they can get their prescriptions filled at a licensed dispensary — or a “provisioning center,” as they’re called in Michigan.

Carry and cultivation limits are pretty generous in Michigan. Patients or caregivers can be in possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or maintain 12 plants in an enclosed space. Medical marijuana use is restricted to private property, and patients are not allowed to use marijuana or consume marijuana-infused products in public.

So where does recreational marijuana stand? Well, unfortunately, it hasn’t been decriminalized statewide, though many cities have decriminalized possession or made it a low priority for law enforcement.

Michigan Marijuana Legalization

Proposal 1: Michigan Marijuana Legalization

If voters choose yes on Proposal 1 on November 6th, adults 21 and over will be able to carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana on their person or keep up to 10 ounces stores at home; grow up to 12 plants; and gift marijuana (Merry Christmas!). (Note: The 10-ounce and 12-plant limits are per household, not per person.)

In addition, marijuana entrepreneurs will be able to acquire licenses to grow marijuana and can even run “marijuana microbusinesses.’ Licenses for microbusinesses would allow these small organizations to grow, process, package, and sell its goods directly to consumers. Think microbrewery, but for marijuana. Marijuana smoking lounges may soon be coming to Ann Arbor and Lansing, as well. Proposal 1 would allow municipalities to create zones where it’s ok for adults to enjoy their flower.

Smoking in public places will remain illegal and municipalities will be permitted to ban or limit commercial marijuana businesses.
Unfortunately, Proposal 1 does not have protections for workers who enjoy marijuana. If a company chooses to do so, they will still be able to fire employees based on positive drug tests. In addition, landlords will be allowed to ban smoking in their properties.
Michigan Medical Marijuana

What Does Legalization Mean for Michigan Medical Marijuana?

While there was some recent licensing controversy – with almost half of the current medical provisioning centers in the state being told they need to shut down operations unless they complete Step 2 in the licensing process – medical marijuana businesses already licensed in

Michigan will have priority when it comes to applying for recreational marijuana licenses. There’s plenty of room for growth in the state, however, and many out-of-state dispensaries are looking to start a new provisioning center.

Currently, there are no restrictions on advertising medical marijuana, however, this may change once recreational use becomes legal. LARA will be tasked with drawing up the rules, which may include marketing restrictions and which may also restrict medical marijuana advertising.

Recreational marijuana will come with its own limits – already, the state has a bill to ban infused beverages and edibles that would appeal to children. For medical patients, though, legalization will likely lead to expanded options and more provisioning centers to help them get the medication they need to manage their conditions.

Current Michigan medical marijuana provisioning centers should definitely be looking into expanding their enterprises and adding recreational marijuana once it becomes legal. The Michigan marijuana market is promising for both continued success in the medical marijuana sector and the soon-to-be adult-use market.