michigan cbd laws

CBD Oil in Michigan 2021: Updated Legal Status, Where To Buy, And More

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Like is the case with many states in America, Michigan has a somewhat confusing body of laws where marijuana is concerned. Unfortunately, this legal conundrum ropes in even the non-psychoactive CBD, which suffers from association with its infamous cousin THC. In Michigan, this guilt-by-association applies even when the CBD comes from hemp- the law makes no distinction. Users have to be careful to avoid related legal pitfalls. In other states, you ensure compliance by going for a medical card and a prescription and to buy from a state-sanctioned dispensary. Does the same case apply to Michigan? Keep reading this article on CBD oil in Michigan to get a clearer picture.

Marijuana Legal Status in Michigan

The law on marijuana in Michigan, like in all other jurisdictions in America, is a motley mix of federal, state, and local regulations which are not always in harmony. As a state that has legalized the use of recreational marijuana, Michigan attempts to make a distinction between therapeutic and recreational use of marijuana in its law.

In some jurisdictions, the implementation of the law may be curtailed by regulations about something else further down the supply chain. For example, CBD in Tennessee is legal, but it may be illegal to sell it. Qualified users, therefore, find it challenging to get a product they can use.

It is also quite usual to find a jurisdiction where the law prohibits the use or sale of marijuana, but enforcing such prohibitions are rare. Failure of enforcement is usually because the matter is low on the priority list of the authorities. In such a scenario, the user’s freedom is determined by who is setting priorities for the police. A new person may come into authority with new priorities, thus suddenly, making it difficult for users or even putting them in danger of arrest. Are there similar bottlenecks in Michigan, or is it much smoother in the state? That’s what we shall be looking at.

We shall also attempt to break down the steps Michigan has taken, over time, in crafting laws on cannabis. Further, we shall look at the practical application of these laws and how you can ensure that you are on their right side when purchasing and using marijuana.

Marijuana Law in the History of Michigan

Historically Michigan had a strict prohibition on the use of marijuana. The ban was enforced through harsh penalties because marijuana was a schedule one restricted substance at the federal level. It was a misdemeanor to have any amount of marijuana, and punishment for such possession was a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $2000.

Cultivation and distribution were punished even more harshly. Sale or growth of cannabis attracted a sentence of 15 years in prison and $10,000,000 fine if convicted. This was the same punishment that was meted out on people who sold hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, among others.

A person who shared their marijuana for free or grew it for personal use was not spared by the law either. They were liable to incarceration for a maximum of 90 days and a fine of up to $1000 upon conviction. This punishment was similar to the one meted out on users as it was also illegal to use the drug. It is important to note that the law, at the time, made no distinction between those who used it for recreational purposes and those who used it for therapeutic purposes.

The tide on the legality of marijuana in Michigan started turning slowly, not at the state but the municipal level. Local governments began changing their attitudes towards cannabis and, accordingly, issued less and less punitive regulations for its use. While municipalities loosened restrictions, state laws still superseded municipal laws. Thus started the trend where higher and lower levels of government had marijuana laws that were at odds with each other.

Municipals liberalized their laws on weed as follows:-

Ann Arbor – 1972

Grand Rapids – 2012

Hazel Park – 2014

Pleasant Ridge- 2014

Port Huron – 2014

Mount Pleasant – 2014

Huntington Woods – 2014

East Lansing – 2015

Keego Harbor – 2015

All these municipalities made their regulations against recreational use less restrictive before the state followed suit. The state later legalized recreational use of marijuana for adults in 2018 – we shall have a more in-depth look at the new state law on recreational use of cannabis later. In the meantime, let’s look at the therapeutic use and the law.

In 2008 the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative was presented to voters as a ballot measure. It was passed with 63% of the votes cast on 6 th November.

This measure provided that seriously sick and terminally ill patients could use marijuana for the management of their symptoms. For a patient to qualify, they had to have a recommendation from a qualified physician. The initiative listed diseases that qualified to use weed legally. It also allowed patients or their caregivers to grow a limited number of plants, which would be their source. The law also established a registry of licensed users and put restrictions on public use of marijuana. The provisions of this measure have been explained in greater detail below.

Called the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, the introduction of this ballot measure was based on scientific evidence that indicated the possibility of cannabis having health benefits in some cases. The law provides that a physician recommending a patient for the use of medical marijuana should provide ample documentary evidence. The evidence is intended to show a genuine doctor-patient relationship between the two. Documents should also establish beyond doubt that the patient the doctor recommends has one of the qualifying diseases. Evidence for the existence of a doctor-patient relationship is also a way to show that the doctor will keep providing care for the patient even after they start using cannabis.

Qualifying Conditions

The law spells out the specific illnesses it considers debilitating enough to qualify to use medical marijuana. They are also the diseases on which cannabis has been proven effective by science. These illnesses include: –

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV positive individuals and those who have full-blown AIDS
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Nail patella

Other conditions that are not listed may qualify a patient to use medical marijuana if they have the following symptoms or if their treatment leads to the following side effects: –

  • Wasting syndrome (cachexia)
  • Severe, chronic pain
  • Hyperemesis (severe nausea)
  • Seizures
  • Muscle spasms that are severe and persistent such as those experienced by patients with multiple sclerosis.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is the body charged with the responsibility of determining whether or not a person qualifies. Once a person has been authorized, the department enters their name into the registry. It then issues them with a Registry Identification Card, which is the document the patient or their caregiver keeps to show that they are qualified.

The original legislation didn’t provide for selling cannabis, but it allowed authorized patients to grow a maximum of six plants each. These plants were to be their source, and it remained an offense to sell weed even among qualifying patients. The law also provided that the patient or caregiver could only have a maximum of 2.5 ounces of the drug on them at any particular time. It is against the law for a qualified patient to use the weed in a public place as such usage would contribute to second-hand smoke on other people.


After passing this law, the number of qualified patients increased, making it necessary for marijuana businesses to play a role in distribution. As the law stood, these businesses were illegal and without a regulatory framework. This exposed users to all manner of risks. Business operators also faced reprisals from law enforcers even when they only sold to authorized customers because the law as it stood forbid the selling of the product.

To remedy the situation, the state legislature passed three bills, all of which were signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder in September 2016. These three bills allowed for the establishment of marijuana businesses and a regulatory framework for them. The regulations in these bills also provided protections for customers against rogue marijuana sellers.

Besides the 2.5 ounces of marijuana, the amendment allows users also to have what it calls ‘usable marijuana equivalents.’ This refers to products infused with cannabis such as cookies, gummies, and oils, among others. The law equates 1 ounce of marijuana to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused edibles. They also equate it to seven grams of marijuana-infused vapor or gas, such as vape from shatter or vape oil.

If the alternative formulation is a beverage or another liquid, one ounce of dry weed is equated to 36 liquid ounces of the drink. A patient or caregiver should calculate to ensure they don’t have on them an equivalent of more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

The next category of players affected by this amendment are sellers of marijuana. This category of players evolved from caregivers. With time, as patients increased, caregivers established provision centers from which those, who for any reason, couldn’t get cannabis from their plants could get the weed they needed. Those who had extra marijuana from their plants would also take their surplus to the provision centers. The court, however, ruled that these provision centers were operating outside the law.

The amendment put in place a regulatory framework for other players in the chain of production. These include farmers, processors, laboratories, transporters, and, eventually, the provision centers. This means that these crucial players no longer operated outside of the law. It also protected users because the state could now regulate the quality of products and hygiene standards.

While all this was going on, cannabis remained illegal in the United States at the federal level. The federal law restricted anything sourced from marijuana, whether it was CBD dominant or THC dominant. Qualified marijuana users in Michigan, therefore, couldn’t take their 2.5 ounces just anywhere in the country but only to other states where marijuana was legal.

Farm Bill 2014

President Obama signed the Farm Bill – 2008. The bill legalized farming of industrial hemp and research on it and all its products. The said industrial hemp should contain 0.3% THC or less, and this made more marijuana products available for users. As a result of this legislation, Michigan put in place legal measures to enable research on industrial hemp in the state. It is, however, noteworthy that there are no separate laws for hemp products in Michigan; they are treated the same as regular cannabis products, and it is wise to be careful to follow any rules that apply.

Recreational Marijuana

Proposal 18 – 1 for the legalization of recreational marijuana was passed as a ballot measure on 6 th November 2018. The law allows the state government to regulate and tax recreational marijuana, just like it does alcohol. This law provides for possession and cultivation as follows:

  • Cannabis can only be possessed and used by adults who are above 21 years of age. It further allows individuals of the right age to : –
  • Be in possession, use, and give away to other qualified adults a maximum of two and a half ounces of marijuana. The law also allows them to purchase the same quantity of weed.
  • A person who is 21 years and above is authorized to grow up to twelve marijuana plants within their residential place. The plants shouldn’t be visible from the outside of the compound on which they are grown without the use of additional equipment such as binoculars, and the compound where it is produced should be locked.
  • It is also legal for them to have up to 10 ounces as long as only 2.5 ounces of the weed are on them at any given time. The ten ounces are to be kept in the person’s primary residence under lock and key. The law also makes it legal for a person who is qualified even to process and sell marijuana. It further allows them to manufacture related paraphernalia. It is, however, illegal, except under an exclusive license for anyone to extract marijuana resin using butane or any other flammable solvent that has a flashpoint that is below 1000 Fahrenheit.
  • While marijuana for recreation is legal, it may not be used in public places unless it is otherwise allowed. Instances, where such usage may be allowed, is in a municipality that has designated locations for public use. Failure to observe this restriction attracts a fine of $100.
  • It is illegal to possess marijuana in preschool or a K-12 institution and inside the compound of a correctional facility.
  • Employers and landlords are within their rights to prohibit their employees from using marijuana in the workplace, and landlords can restrict certain rights provided in this law.
  • This law also gives some leeway to local governments to limit the number of marijuana-related businesses within their jurisdictions, and to put in place other related restrictions.

Other powers given to municipalities include: –

    • Set the regulations for signage for marijuana businesses
    • Set the time limits within which marijuana businesses should operate
    • Designate places where marijuana may be used in public by adults and restrict access by underage people to the designated areas
    • Municipalities are also empowered to determine the penalties imposed on those who disobey regulations. These can only be civil infractions since all matters of marijuana have been decriminalized, and the maximum fine allowed is $500.
    • Citizens and interest groups in a particular municipality are allowed to petition the city to reduce the number of marijuana businesses in the town. There is no limit to how low the petition can go, and they can even petition for a total ban.

LARA is responsible for formulating and promulgating rules about the growth, processing, sale, and general management of hemp business, among others.

Do You Need a Medical Card for CBD in Michigan?

Initially, a user needed to have a permit to use CBD in Michigan. The Registry Identification Card, however, couldn’t precisely be categorized as a regular Medical Marijuana Card. A medical marijuana card is used to enable the user to access marijuana in an authorized dispensary. In Michigan, there were no dispensaries, as every patient grows their weed. Provision Centers are also run and stocked by licensed users and caregivers, and the licensed user, therefore, only needs to be known in the circle to get cannabis from provision centers.

The need for unique identification has further reduced by the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults over 21. The legalization means that virtually any adult in Michigan can grow marijuana solely for enjoyment. Any of the people who are qualified to use cannabis for therapeutic purposes can buy it over the counter.

This, of course, is unless the patient is below 21, which is the legal minimum age for recreational marijuana use. This is an improbable scenario since, below 21 years, there are only 20-year-olds before teenage. Research has shown that marijuana has a permanent effect on the mental health of teenagers. It means, therefore, that a teenager can only be prescribed to use marijuana if there is no alternative. If it has proven necessary for them to use medical marijuana, they’d need to have their permit as proof of authorization.

Michigan has a somewhat confusing body of laws where marijuana is concerned. Keep reading this article on CBD oil in Michigan to get a clearer picture.