Michiganders can buy recreational marijuana December 1. Here’s what you need to know

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It's happening. On Sunday, December 1, Michiganders over the age of 21 will be able purchase recreational marijuana from licensed retailers.

But you can’t just walk down to your nearest pot shop without a medical card and stock up. The licensing process is still in the very early stages, and only a handful of businesses will be open Sunday.

So who can sell recreational marijuana today, and who can buy it? Here’s what you need to know.

Who can sell

On December 1, only three businesses will be licensed to sell recreational marijuana: Exclusive Brands, Arbors Wellness, and Greenstone Provisions. All three shops are located in Ann Arbor.

The state Marijuana Regulatory Agency is allowing shops to move up to half of their 30-day medical marijuana inventory, which has already been tested and approved, to the retail side.

The MRA began accepting retail license applications November 1, and issued its first license to Exclusive Brands on November 19. Five non-retail licenses have also been issued, and 69 applications for various types of marijuana licenses are pending approval. Non-retail licenses include licenses for growing and processing, testing, and events.

As of November 22, 1,411 municipalities have opted out of the licensed establishment portion of the marijuana law, meaning they have chosen to not allow retail sales in their communities. That leaves just a handful of cities that are currently allowing businesses to receive licenses, including the cities of Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids.

(Click here to see if your municipality has opted out.)

The Detroit city council voted to temporarily prohibit marijuana businesses until the details of the city’s marijuana ordinance can be finalized. The ordinance is currently set to expire January 31, 2020, but could be extended. Detroit has 39 licensed medical marijuana businesses, the most in the state.

Who can buy

Like alcohol, marijuana is legal to purchase and use for anyone over the age of 21.

There are limits to how much weed you can possess, and therefore purchase, at one time. Anyone with more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana on their person can face a fine of $100, and the punishments increase if you have two or more times that amount.

And even though anyone can now purchase marijuana, there are still rules about where you consume it. Essentially, it is still illegal to smoke weed in public spaces, such as walking down the sidewalk or in public parks. Also, like tobacco, landlords, leaseholders, and business owners are allowed to prohibit smoking within their premises.

What about medical marijuana?

There is some fear that the medical marijuana market may be negatively impacted by recreational sales. That’s why medical marijuana businesses and cardholders will see certain perks.

Existing medical dispensaries are being given priority in the recreational licensing process for the next two years. After that, all applicants will be on an equal playing field.

As for cardholders, it will be cheaper and easier for them to access marijuana.

Lisa Conine of Om Medicine in Ann Arbor explained to Stateside in October, “There will be… a [lesser] amount of tax that [people with cards] will have to pay at the register being in the medical program versus the tax structure for adult use sales. We anticipate that they’ll see shorter lines, wait times, and more attention on them.”

Medical and recreational customers will have slightly different purchasing experiences, and will be served separately, even if they are buying the same product from the same store.

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