Michigan voters overwhelming favored the legalization of recreational marijuana, but that doesn’t mean you can pull out a victory cigar… or blunt, just yet.
It’s likely that the legal use of marijuana will kick in for Michigan residents in early to mid-December. According to state law, ballot initiatives go into effect 10 days after election results are certified, if Proposition 1 takes a similar timeline as past ballot initiatives that will happen in roughly three weeks.
The new law will allow adults, ages 21 and up, to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. The law also allows a single household to grow up to 12 plants.
While you can legally smoke once the law hits the books, that doesn’t mean your boss has to allow it. As 7 Action News has previously reported, there will be questions about whether bosses will green-light their employees to smoke after-hours. There is some belief that a number of employees will turn a blind-eye, but other employers are faces with HR challenges because of contracts that dictate a drug-free workforce.
There is also a belief that the “war on marijuana” hasn’t ended. Dr. Kevin Sabet, the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, was among those campaigning against Proposition 1. He spoke to opponents of recreational marijuana, and media members, and said they weren’t finished with their fight yet.
“We see this as the beginning of the war,” said Dr. Sabet. “We may have lost the battle, but not the war.”
As for supporters, the long-term path is clear but questions remain about how people get their hands on marijuana legally. The state of Michigan has been slow to license medical marijuana facilities, and the production of legal marijuana is expected to grow with the passing of Proposition 1. However, the head of Michigan’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol told 7 Action News that it may be two-plus years until recreational marijuana shoppes are up and running.
Nonetheless, there is excitement behind Tuesday’s big change at the polls.
“This is what’s best for Michigan,” said Barton Morris, a lawyer who spear-headed the pro-recreational marijuana movement. “It’s what’s best for the movement.”
The next step, according to Morris, is to begin to look at prior marijuana convictions. In the meantime, he said it’s worth celebrating the change in the legal system.
“Over 20,000 arrests every year for marijuana-related offenses are going to be eliminated,” said Morris.