Yes, It Passed. No, You Can’t Legally Toke Yet

Proposal 1 to legalize recreational marijuana has been approved by Michigan voters, but that doesn’t mean you can smoke a joint today. Attorney Matthew Abel of the Cannabis Council says the new law won’t take effect until ten days after the election is certified by the Board of State Canvassers. A lot of work remains over licensing and how the industry will work in Michigan, and Abel says the retail operations likely won’t be open until at least 2020. He says cities cannot prevent residents from possessing or growing marijuana, “but they can opt out of allowing any type of commercial facilities if they desire.” The city of St. Joseph has already done that.

You can also still get fired from  your job for a positive marijuana test based on your employer’s policies, even after it’s legal.

“People over the age of 21 still will not be able to smoke (marijuana) in public,” says Abel. “There will need to be private lounges, eventually, open to the general public 21 and over like a bar.”

Rick Thompson was part of the coalition behind the ballot proposal and says you’ll be able to smoke legal weed sooner than you’ll be able to buy it in Michigan.

“By the end of the month for sure, those personal freedoms including consumption and cultivation of up to 12 plants per household will be in effect. But we won’t see businesses pop up until 2020, because the state of Michigan has 12 months to promulgate rules that would govern those businesses.”

It took Colorado a year and a half after similar voter approval before it went on sale. Additionally, the state of Michigan is still struggling to figure out the medical marijuana business, nearly a decade after that was passed by voters.