History of Cannabis and CBD: Michigan
Marijuana started to enter Michigan residents’ public consciousness around the early sixties. At the time, a local college paper dubbed the Michigan Daily urged for statewide legalization of marijuana. This one article led to a direct response by Ann Arbor city officials, as well as protests around the state by college student activists.
Shortly after the article was published, famous poet John Sinclair was arrested for possessing two joints. He was sentenced to ten years in prison for offering cannabis to two undercover agents, which resulted in even more massive protests all across the state.
Ultimately, the protests resulted in a powerful decriminalization movement just a year later. The city of Ann Arbor successfully voted in favor of full decriminalization, trading jail sentences for small fines.
Cannabis, CBD, and Michigan
Before decriminalization, possession of any amount of cannabis was a misdemeanor offense punishable by one year of prison time and a $2000 fine. If the crime was committed in a public space, the sentence could be raised to two years.
Prior to statewide legislation, most cities in Michigan underwent their own attempts to decriminalize cannabis. Even if local resolutions weren’t legally binding when challenged at the state level, city councils went out of their way to make law enforcement for possession the lowest possible priority.
Ann Arbor led the charge with full decriminalization in 1972. It would take until 2012 for cities like Kalamazoo, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Oak Park to enact similar decriminalization efforts.
All across the United States, Ann Arbor remains a unique case of extremely early legalization. The college town has always been primarily occupied by college activists, resulting in referendums that have de facto legalized cannabis use.
In 2008, the state legalized medical marijuana under the Michigan Compassionate Care Initiative. Voters approved a bill that would allow patients with recommendations the ability to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis. Michigan became the first midwestern state to legalize marijuana for medical use and the thirteenth state overall.
Ultimately, this law came under fire from the Supreme Court because it was ruled the law didn’t adequately set up dispensaries. In fact, 75 out of 100 dispensaries in the state were operating in a legally gray area outside the provision of the state.
By November 2017, legalization proponents submitted 365,000 signatures to put cannabis on the 2018 ballot. Michigan voters ended up approving the proposal by a wide 56-44 margin, making Michigan one of the first to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
Throughout the state, public opinion continues to grow in favor of cannabis and CBD solutions.