How Long Did It Take for Michigan to Legalize Marijuana?
NOTE: This article is not taking sides on the usage of marijuana...it is intended for information.
I was remembering the other day about the time when a patch of marijuana was found growing in a field behind one of our local radio stations. This was in the late 1980s, and as soon as it was discovered it was immediately confiscated. We always wondered what happened to it...
Even though there have been marijuana growers in our state for well over 100 years – some legal, most not - Michigan's journey on making marijuana legal began in 1967.
An Ann Arbor college newspaper, the Michigan Daily, did an article asking for the state to decriminalize the use of marijuana. This request was pretty much ignored until 1969, when activist/poet John Sinclair was arrested for the possession of two marijuana joints...after offering them to two undercover officers.
The court sentenced him to ten years in prison...which did not sit well with public opinion. A rally was held in Ann Arbor on December 10, 1971 to persuade the authorities to release Sinclair – a rally that included celebrities like John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, Commander Cody, and Allen Ginsberg.
Just three days later, Sinclair was released from prison.
Questioning the fairness/unfairness of Michigan's marijuana laws, Ann Arbor decriminalized marijuana the following year. Basically, anyone caught with 2 ounces or less was fined $5.....today, it's $25. Before it became legal in Michigan, punishment for any amount of possession was one year in jail and a fine of $2,000. Giving – but not selling – marijuana was 1 year and $100.
In 2008, Michigan pushed for – and received – legal medical marijuana, becoming the 13th state to do so.
On November 6, 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to make marijuana legal to use as a recreational substance. Michiganders over 21 could possess 2.5 ounces publicly, 10 ounces at home, and grow 12 of their own plants on their own property.
Now marijuana can be found throughout the state legally...a faint reminder of when the Michigan town of Seney had its own marijuana/hemp farm in the 1920s (see photos below).
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The Metro Times