Cannabis in Michigan

Cannabis in Michigan is legal for medical use and recreational use, after passing a ballot initiative in 2018.[1] Regulated stores are expected to open early in 2020.[2]

Medical cannabis (2008)[edit]

In 2008, the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative, establishing a medical cannabis program for serious and terminally ill patients, was approved by the House but not acted upon, and defaulted to a public initiative on the November ballot. “Prop 1” was approved by 63% of voters, making Michigan the 13th state to legalize medical cannabis.[3]

Legalization initiative (2018)[edit]

In November 2017, supporters submitted 365,000 signatures to get legal recreational marijuana on the 2018 ballot. In January 2018, it was determined the initiative would appear on the ballot.[4]
Michigan voted to legalize marijuana recreationally on November 6 as proposition 1.[5]

Municipal legislation[edit]

Since the 1970s the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan has enacted some of the most lenient laws on marijuana possession in the United States. These include measures approved in a 1972 city-council ordinance, a 1974 voter referendum making possession of small amounts of the substance merely a civil infraction subject to a small fine, and a 2004 referendum on the use of medical marijuana. Since state law takes precedence over municipal law, the far-stricter state marijuana laws are still enforced on University of Michigan property.

The city of Keego Harbor voted to legalize marijuana for people 21 and older, with up to one ounce, and only in non-public places (such as a house).[6]


Recreational use of marijuana had not been decriminalized in Michigan until 2018. However, most cities had decriminalization laws. Possession of any amounts of the plant was a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year’s incarceration and a $2,000 fine, while actual using is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine. If possession is in a public park, the sentence is at most two years and a $2,000 fine. Distributing marijuana without remuneration is a misdemeanor punishable by at most one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.[7]

Additionally in the November 2012 election, the cities of Detroit and Flint decriminalized cannabis possession of an ounce or less for persons 21 years and older. Ypsilanti, Michigan, passed an ordinance to make cannabis the lowest priority for law enforcement activity.[8]

The sale and cultivation of cannabis used to be a felony punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and $10,000,000 in fines depending on the number of plants grown and the amount of usable cannabis sold.[7]

Public opinion[edit]

Public opinion on the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan
Poll source Date(s)
Margin of
% support % opposition % Undecided/Don’t Know
Marketing Resource Group[9] 2016 600 LV ± 4.0% 53% 42% 5%
Marketing Resource Group[10] September 9–14, 2015 600 LV ± 4.0% 46% 46% 8%
Marketing Resource Group[11] April 13–17, 2015 600 LV ± 4.0% 51% 46% 3%
EPIC-MRA[12] December 10–14, 2014 600 LV ± 4.0% 50% 46% 4%
Marketing Resource Group[13] October 6–10, 2013 600 LV ± 4.0% 41% 55% 4%

Note: for polls after 2016, see Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act