July 21, 2018
What’s on the horizon for the marijuana laws in Michigan? Big changes may be coming soon. Here’s a look at a few changes that might happen.
Recreational Use and Possession of Marijuana
Michigan voters will go to the polls in next November to decide if marijuana use and possession will be legal for recreational use. About ten years ago, medical marijuana was decided by a vote of 63% of the voters, an overwhelming majority, so pro-marijuana advocates are hopeful for the passage of recreational marijuana.
The new law would allow possession in public of up to 2.5 ounces, and up 10 ounces at home. No marijuana use would be allowed in public. Individual communities get to make the call on whether dispensaries can operate in their township or city.
Driving After Smoking
Currently, it is against the law to drive with any amount of active THC in your system. This holds even if you are not affected by the marijuana. For medical marijuana patients the law is little different. Patients may drive with THC in their system. However, a patient may not drive under the influence of marijuana. That is, the patient’s ability to drive is substantially affected by marijuana.
The current state of the law would change if marijuana is made legal. No longer would simply having THC in the system be sufficient for a conviction. To break the law, a marijuana user would have to be under the influence of marijuana while driving. This would apply to all marijuana users, not just patients.
What About Old Marijuana Convictions?
There are thousands of people in Michigan who have convictions for possession or use of marijuana. These are misdemeanors that may interfere with a person’s ability to find the employment they wish. It might not seem fair that these people be stuck with these convictions on their record when the basis for that conviction is no longer criminal.
At least one Michigan lawmaker has introduced a piece of legislation that would work to remedy this situation. The proposed legislation would help those with marijuana misdemeanor convictions obtain expungements. An expungement is where an old conviction is made non-public.
The law is far from certain yet. Marijuana would have to be made legal before the legislation would consider passing this. In addition, this law would face the typical political hurdles.
Keep a close eye on the marijuana laws over the next year in Michigan. The law in such a major flux will keep things interesting.
Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Sam can be reached at (734) 883-9584 or by e-mail at [email protected] ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
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