Voters in Michigan approved the use of recreational marijuana – with conditions – on the Nov. 6 election ballot. City officials want to share with the community some aspects of this new law.
New laws take effect 10 days after the vote is certified. The state board of canvassers is set to meet on Nov. 26 to do this, so the new recreational marijuana law will take effect on Dec. 6.
On that date, those 21 years and older may:
- Possess, use, consume, purchase, transport, or process 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana.
- Within a person’s (21 years or older) residence, possess, store, and process not more than a) 10 ounces of marijuana; b) any marijuana produced by plants legally cultivated on the premises; and c) for one’s personal use, cultivate up to 12 plants at one time, on one’s premises.
The city takes the same position as Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert, and from this point forward will not prosecute misdemeanor cases related to the above behaviors, even though they will not be legal until Dec. 6.
However, anyone under age 21 is still subject to prosecution related to marijuana possession and/or use, unless they have a valid medical marihuana card. Anyone possessing marijuana in amounts exceeding that which is allowed still will be subject to prosecution. These prosecutions will take place to maintain health, safety, and welfare of city neighbors and visitors.
Anyone driving while under the influence of marijuana also will be prosecuted, because that behavior was not legalized under the new law. Officers may make these arrests after observing unsafe driving due to marijuana use; this is the same approach taken when someone is under the influence of alcohol.
Selling marijuana still will be subject to prosecution until the state’s regulatory process is in place. That does not have to happen until December of 2019. Because of that, city staff anticipate workshops on any potential local ordinances happening next summer, with likely Planning Commission action before ordinance introduction in November or December of 2019.
Anyone with questions about the ordinance process can contact Planning staff at 269-966-3320; and with questions about legal/arrest issues can contact the Police Department at 269-966-3322.