Understanding the cannabis laws in Michigan

Clearing the air.
Clearing the air. Shutterstock

Cannabis is now legal in Michigan, but there are some hazy aspects of the new law. Let's clear the air and define what has become legal in the state and what was outlawed in 2020.

Both recreational and medical cannabis are legal in Michigan. The products for therapeutic purposes were legalized in 2008, making Michigan the 13th state that allows it for medical treatment. Cannabis for recreational use was passed in 2018. Its licensed sales started in 2019, and they're expected to grow this year.

Each municipality has the right to allow or restrict recreational cannabis sales. Keep this in mind while traveling across the state because many cities put a veto on these sales.


Despite marijuana legalization, it cannot be consumed anywhere you want. It should be done in your own residence away from the public. If you smoke it at your friend's house, ask for the host's approval. People who live in a rented apartment should gain permission from their landlord.

Marijuana consumption on public property or public places (e.g., schools, hospitals, parks, cars, and bars) is banned and considered a civil infraction.

As marijuana remains an illegal substance on a federal level, its use is outlawed on federal lands. If you're caught with any amount of marijuana, it is treated as a misdemeanor and punishable by one year in jail or a $1,000 fine for a first offense.


Adult individuals can transport their legal possession limit in a motorized vehicle if their cannabis products are kept in a sealed container or stored in the trunk of the car.

It is a crime to operate a car under the influence of cannabis or smoke pot inside a vehicle. For the first offense, a person faces one or more of the following penalties: 360 hours of community service, 93-day incarceration, and/or a $300 fine.

Also, it is prohibited to export cannabis or mail it across the state borders. This is a federal crime and carries a penalty, as well.

After legalization, the number of marijuana arrests has slightly decreased. The vast majority of these arrests are for cannabis possession.


The new law allows individuals 21 and older to buy and legally carry 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of cannabis or 15 grams (0.53 ounces) of concentrates. If you're caught with more than 2.5 oz., you'll face a maximum fine of $500 for a first violation. In addition, adults are allowed to keep up to 10 oz. (280 grams) within their houses.

Medical marijuana (MMJ) patients in Michigan can possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time and have a purchase limit of 10 ounces per month. If they buy cannabis-infused products, they should observe the following equivalents of marijuana content in the purchased goods:

• 16 oz. for solid goods

• 36 fl. oz. for liquids

• 7 grams in a gaseous form

Michigan permits at-home marijuana delivery for MMJ patients. Due to the pandemic, Michigan has allowed recreational product delivery. It's not known if this is a temporary measure or whether it will continue after the COVID crisis is over.


Since the MMJ program was launched in 2008, it underwent considerable changes. The registration process has been simplified, and all approved patients can easily go through an online registry procedure and receive an MMJ card.

The state supports reciprocity and serves out-of-state MMJ patients who arrive in Michigan. These cardholders can consume, possess, and purchase medical pot in local dispensaries.

Only Michigan residents can apply for a card. They need to get certification from a licensed therapist who will prove that the cannabis treatment is beneficial for the patient's health.

Registered patients can designate a primary caregiver who will assist them in cannabis purchase and consumption. Caregivers should reside in Michigan and be 21 years old. They must have no convictions of a felony that involves illegal drugs. Caregivers are indicated in a patient's application form.

Caregivers can serve up to five patients and are allowed to receive state compensation for costs associated with their work. Also, they are permitted to grow cannabis on behalf of their patients.

Caregivers should submit an application and go through the same registration process. Similar to their patients, they get an MMJ card.


Adult individuals and MMJ cardholders are permitted to cultivate cannabis on their premises abiding by Michigan growing laws. Per each household, they're eligible to grow a maximum of 12 plants. The flowers should grow in a secure place away from the public eye. All harvested products can be stored indoors.

Tia Moskalenko is an editor and contributor for AskGrowers. She's been working in the cannabis field for some time and is excited to continue and discover even more about this industry.

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