On the evening of Nov. 6, Michigan residents approved recreational cannabis sales by a respectable margin. Cannabis possession will officially be legal for Michigan adults ages 21 and over 10 days after the election results are certified, or early December.
Michigan is now the first Midwest state to legalize adult-use sales. Retail sales could begin as soon as early 2020 once regulations are ironed out, such as recreational cannabis licensing. Under the new law, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has a year to develop regulations.
Industry leaders in Michigan were overwhelmed with joy as the news broke. “We welcome Michigan to the growing number of states that are moving the cannabis industry into a more structured environment where the rules for businesses and consumers are better defined, ensuring the sustainability of the industry,” Patrick Vo, CEO of BioTrackTHC said in a statement. “Regulated sales in the adult-use market need guardrails to protect public health and prevent diversion to illicit markets, while also giving businesses the regulatory environments which allow them to thrive.”
Michigan voters approved Proposal 1 with 56 percent voting in favor of the measure, effectively legalizing recreational cannabis sales in the state. Under the sweeping new set of rules, Michigan adult residents can legally grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home, possess 2.5 ounces in public and store 10 ounces at home.
According to Leafly, Michigan’s approval of adult-use cannabis sales brings the population of people living in recreational states to about 80 million—meaning 25 percent of the U.S. population now lives in a recreational state.
“Legalization of marijuana will end the unnecessary waste of law enforcement resources used to enforce the failed policy of prohibition while generating hundreds of millions of dollars each year for Michigan’s most important needs,” Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol spokesperson Josh Hovey said in a press release. According to Michigan’s former elections director—this year’s midterm election yielded the highest midterm turnout by percentage in almost 50 years.