Michigan Board of Canvassers Approves Ballot Measure to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

The date is set. On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Michigan voters will get to decide whether their state will become the ninth (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

Yesterday, the bipartisan Michigan Board of Canvassers certified by a vote of 4-0 that there are enough valid signatures – 277,000 out of the 362,000 gathered – on the petition seeking the referendum vote. Michigan voters legalized cannabis for medical use in 2008.

The ballot proposal, if approved statewide by voters, would legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. The proposal calls for people 21 and older to personally possess a maximum of 2.5 ounces of cannabis and to grow up to 12 plants at home. It also creates a 10 percent cannabis tax in addition to the current six percent state sales tax. Public consumption of cannabis remains illegal.

The ballot proposal proposes new state-issued licenses for retailers, safety compliance, transporters, processors, “microbusinesss,” and growers of 100, 500 or 2,000 plants. A person may hold up to five grower licenses at once, but that limitation will be lifted in 2023. Local governments will control whether and how such businesses will operate within their borders.

A cannabis microbusiness is exactly what it sounds like – the development of a craft cannabis brand in the style of microbreweries. The operator can grow up to 150 plants, manufacture, distribute and retail cannabis directly to customers in one small location, but they cannot provide cannabis or products from other providers or sell their product to other cannabis operators.

Of course, we will continue to cover this issue and advise our clients accordingly of the numerous business and licensing issues related to the potential expansion of the cannabis laws in Michigan and in other states.

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