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The New Criminal and Civil Penalties under Michigan’s New Marijuana Law

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knucklehead bob

With the passing of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) aka Proposal 1, there is a brand new and quite revolutionary set of laws which govern marijuana activities. They are quite different than what we are used to and it will take some time to get accustomed. Nevertheless, they are important to understand so here is a summary: (note – the interpretation summarized below was confirmed by the principle drafter of this portion of the initiative because its not always easy to discern).

We all now know that an adult possessing marijuana is legal but what about using it in public, or possessing more than what you are allowed to have? How about driving under the influence of marijuana or selling it without a license? Below I will break it down by separating different offenses by their penalties. (the applicable section number from which the penalty is derived in in parentheses)

$100 civil infraction (Sec. 15.1)

An adult using marijuana in public is punishable by a $100 fine. That is it. No matter how many times you commit the offense, it will always be no more than a $100 civil infraction. The same is true for cultivating marijuana in your residence in a manner where the plants are visible to another standing in a public place. Also, possessing more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana at your home without the excess being secure enough to restrict access from others. These three actions are punishable by a $100 fine only and forever.

Possessing or growing more less than two times the amount allowed by law (Sec. 15.2)

The MRTMA permits the purchase and possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana at one time. An exception is in one’s residence, an adult may possess up to 10 ounces and cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants. What are the penalties for possessing more than these amounts? The MRTMA makes a distinction of whether the amount possessed was more or less than two times the allowable amount. For instance, if an adult possessed 4.5 ounces of marijuana in their vehicle, which is less than two times the amount permitted (2.5 x 2 = 5.0), the penalty is as follows:

First violation  :  civil infraction punishable by up to a $500 fine only
Second violation  :  civil infraction punishable with a fine not more than $1,000
Third and subsequent violation  :  misdemeanor punishable with a fine not more than $2,000

All of these offenses also cary the penalty of confiscation of the marijuana. What is interesting, is the fact that once a person commits two violations for these acts, every following violation, for the rest of their life, is a misdemeanor. They will never go to jail (save for contempt of court) but its a criminal offense that will be reported to your record. The fine is quite large as well. Soon there will be the question of whether non-payment of the fine is grounds for a jail sentence and, if so, how much? Some court’s will undoubtedly cite a failure to pay the fine as a contempt of court punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Of course there are arguments against this interpretation so it will eventually be litigated to the Michigan Supreme Court. We can expect that process to take a few years.

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This section explains what the penalty is for cultivating up to 24 plants or possessing not more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana. What if someone cultivates 25 plants?

Possessing or growing more than two times the amount allowed by law (Sec. 15.4)

The penalty for possessing more than twice the amount allowed is a misdemeanor but the maximum fine is not identified nor does the number of violations matter. What does matter is whether there is proof that the violation was “habitual, willful and for a commercial purpose”. If so, the person can be punished by a maximum jail term of one year. If it cannot be proven there is any “commercial purpose” the penalty is a misdemeanor without any potential jail time. Commercial could be defined to mean profit, trade, business or money oriented. Therefore, a person possessing a half pound of marijuana with the intent or purpose of selling it to another over the age of 21 will be subject to a misdemeanor, probation and potential jail time. The government will likely argue that civil asset forfeiture will also be possible in this circumstance. What happens if there is a distribution or sale of marijuana to a person under the age of 21?

Marijuana Offenses Specific to persons under the age of 21 years old (Section 15.3)

There are offenses and penalties that are specific to those younger than 21 years of age but only if they are in possession of an amount equal to or less than 2.5 ounces or 12 plants. The following offenses are captured under this section:

using marijuana in public

delivery of marijuana to a person under the age of 21 or its receipt by someone under the age of 21

possessing or consuming while on school grounds

Under these circumstances if the offender is under the age of 18 the penalties are different as well as the number of previous offenses.

A first offense is a civil infraction with a fine of $100 or community service and the completion of a four hour drug education class.

A second offense is a a civil infraction with a fine of $100 or community service and the completion of an eight hour drug education class.

For those between the ages of 18 and 21 the penalties are the same but without the requirement of drug education/counseling.

Marijuana Offenses The Penalties for Which Will Not Change Despite the MRTMA

There are several offenses that are not specifically enumerated by the MRTMA. Those offenses will be punished as they would be before prop 1 passed on November 11, 2018. These offenses include the following:

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Distribution of marijuana to a person under the age of 21 is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. It does not matter if there was an exchange of money. Further, the distribution
of marijuana to any person in exchange for money otherwise known as “remuneration”, is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.

Marijuana Offenses Newly Created by the MRTMA

The following offenses where specifically prohibited by the MRTMA but the penalty was not identified:

Consuming marijuana while driving (not driving under the influence of marijuana).

Smoking marijuana in the passenger compartment of a vehicle

Possessing or consuming marijuana on school grounds or a correctional facility (over the age of 21)

Butane extraction in a residence or vehicle

These actions are prohibited by the MRTMA but there is no similar offense for this conduct in the Controlled Substance Act. It could be argued that they should not be penalized at all. I anticipate legislation to cover this issue.

The criminal changes to marijuana law in Michigan are significant and comprehensive. They are going to take some getting used to but they are probably the best set of marijuana criminal/civil infraction laws in the country.



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It all really sounds, well - not so bad.


Can these be altered without a vote of the people??

Can these be changed with a behind closed doors session??

What will things be like when it all pans out.


Colorado residents were allowed to have 12 plants in flower when the law went into effect.

They also allowed a 99 plant count for medical that has been restricted and now capped at 12 plants per residents(house), regardless of the number of residents.

They have even amended their state constitution.


Coloradans can grow marijuana in their homes for personal use. 
  • Up to six plants are allowed per Colorado resident over age 21, with as many as three plants flowering at one time. 

.A drop from 99 plants to 3 plants is huge if you ask me!

Should the fine folks of Michigan expect the same.


I really feel this will be the downfall of the new law.

"Narrowing down how many plants -- we see some plants that have one pound to three pounds of marijuana on each plant," Mikesell said. "That's not a mom and pop growing for their medical." 


Shag says:

I see this talk starting in Canada right now too.

People that are showing off huge plants are showing the world we only need 1 plant to reach the legal limit, and you bet your ass the govt will restrict your grows to a minimum.

The new talk says you only need one plant, because it can produce many pounds by it self.

So you see I expect plant counts to be very restricted in the near future.

There is nothing to stop it from becoming a reality if that is what they push for.


We will see what tomorrow brings.

Methods of inducing SAR Local Acquired Resistance and Induced Systemic Resistance                                   I.P.M. INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT

                Do plants need silicon?                   ODA finds bottled microbes with little live organisms                          Welcome to Z-Library!

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Gotta keep those drug task force officers safe....

Star plants have a universal signature ...

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 WTF is this shit????


A detective walks away from a house on Johnson Drive near 14 Mile and Ryan roads this past July. Investigators said a marijuana grow operation exploded in the basement, leaving a 40-year-old man with third-degree burns over his body.


I hope my plants don't explode, anyone else ever have their grow explode???  :smoking-a-joint-smiley-emoticon:


Reading the article again I was able to discover the motavation behind the statement...$$$$$$$$$$$$$

As a result, it's possible Sterling Heights would not receive any funds from taxes on marijuana for roads, education or law enforcement, officials said.


Police chief says:

The process takes "a lot of manpower, a lot of resources" that otherwise could be dedicated to other issues, the chief said. "We just don't have enough guys," he said.

Shag says:

Almost as much a a drug raid...LOL


Police chief says:

"By opting out, we're telling the community 'if you want marijuana, grow it in your house.' And we have a the police chief saying 'we can't have grow operations, we can't get our arms around grow operations.' 


Shag says

Sound like they don't want home growing allowed in sterling hts., this will be the new normal.


"Not only have you created this ordinance as a quick reaction directly opposed to the voters of Sterling Heights, but you also have pushed it through while the substance remains technically illegal,"

The war on home growing in michigan has been escalated in Sterling Hts.


If you ask me this is the real reason, their cashflow is going to be cut off.


Edited by shaggyballs

Methods of inducing SAR Local Acquired Resistance and Induced Systemic Resistance                                   I.P.M. INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT

                Do plants need silicon?                   ODA finds bottled microbes with little live organisms                          Welcome to Z-Library!

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