Now that voters have passed Proposal 1 that legalizes recreational marijuana in Michigan, now what?
The proposal allows anyone over age 21 to possess and grow personal-use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates and allow licensing activities related to commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.
However, it's not like you can go to a grocery store next week and buy a few bags of pot.
It should be noted that both sides were vocal on the issue before voters approved the proposal. Those favoring it believed resources were wasted on dealing with marijuana-related crimes, with people convicted of those offenses stigmatized.
They also indicated Michigan's infrastructure and schools would be well served by the tax dollars raised by marijuana sales.
Opponents of the measure believed another substance that causes impairment would not be good for the overall health and safety of the state.
Regardless of anyone's opinion on the now-passed proposal, there are some things people should keep in mind.
Marijuana won't officially be legal until 10 days after the election results are certified, which is expected to be in December. After that, the state must put regulations in place and issue licenses for recreational sales, which means, according to a Detroit Free Press article, marijuana probably won't be commercially available for sale until early 2020.
People also can be arrested if found to be driving under the influence of marijuana, just as they would if they were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol.
Cities also can ban retail marijuana sales within their borders. News reports noted Niles and Pinckney, both located downstate, have decided for now not to allow sales.
Marijuana still is illegal under federal law, but that, in recent times, hasn't been closely enforced. However, some industries such as federal contractors are still required by the federal government to test for marijuana and may fire users. Also, visitors to national parks and other federal lands can't light up. Well, they can, but it would be illegal.
There's still a lot to be worked out now that Proposal 1 has passed. It represents a big societal shift.
So, we urge municipalities and residents to proceed with caution with the new recreational marijuana situation. Although you won't be arrested as you would have in the past, that doesn't mean you can smoke pot anytime and anywhere.
— This editorial was published in the Nov. 14 edition of The Mining Journal (Marquette).