Michigan is set to become the latest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use Thursday and the first state in the Midwest to do so after voters gave the idea their blessing on November 6.
“It’s certainly going to smell like freedom,” said pot activist and Detroit lawyer Matt Abel, according to ABC News.
That “freedom,” though, comes with some major restrictions.
It will only be legal to smoke pot in prescribed areas — none of which will be in public view. Homeowners will be able to smoke in their own homes, but landlords and rental properties will still be allowed to prohibit tenants from using pot on their properties. The state’s colleges and universities have also signaled that pot will remain banned on campus. Further, business owners will retain the right to fire employees for drug use.
Other restrictions also apply. Only people 21 and older can possess or smoke pot in the Wolverine State, they can only transport 2.5 ounces or less in vehicles, and only 12 plants per household can be grown, but not in public sight. Also, 2.5 ounces can be given to another person 21 and older, but not for any sort of payment or barter.
There is also a bit of a gray area, at least for a while, in how Michigan residents can get their pot.
The new pot law does make detailed provisions for pot shops to sell pot to the public, but those shops are still in the planning stages and are months away from opening. This means that pot users will only be legally allowed to grow pot plants for their use until the shops open for business. Some may begin getting their pot through illegal sales and the black market until the shops open, too, which will be a dicey situation with the police.
Prosecutors across the state, though, have already vowed to begin dismissing small-time pot charges. On the other hand, federal prosecutors will not join the rush to dismiss pot charges since federal laws against the substance still stand.
Finally, the law allows local cities to ban pot shops, too, and many state municipalities have already taken steps to ban pot shops from opening within their borders.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.