Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Michigan on Thursday, Dec. 6 and police are preparing for the dramatic change.
While Michigan residents will be able to legally use marijuana, there are still come misconceptions regarding the new law.
“With this new law in effect, there’s not a lot of clarity,” Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser said.
The rules and regulations may not be set in stone just yet, but Kaiser said they are as ready as they can be.
“We’re relying on interpretation from our attorneys,” Kaiser said.
He touched on a common misconception about the new law.
“A lot of people are under the impression that with this new law that they can just smoke marijuana like they’re drinking a can of pop, anywhere they want,” Kaiser said.
That’s not the case.
“It allows someone to possess, consumer, grow, use marijuana in the privacy of their own home,” Kaiser said.
However, Kaiser said traffic stops may be different starting Thursday.
“Today if we stop a car and there’s marijuana smell, a lot of times we would search that car,” Kaiser said. “However, tomorrow if we stop that same car and we smell marijuana inside, it’s legal. There’s nothing we can do with that.”
One of the biggest questions is how police will determine if someone is driving under the influence of marijuana.
“You can have marijuana in your system just like you can have alcohol in your system. However, if it impairs your driving we’re going to do field sobriety test and it’s the same as it was before this went into effect, You could be placed under arrest for operating while impaired,” Kaiser said.
There’s a legal limit for blood alcohol levels when it comes to operating a vehicle. At this point there are no rules like that for marijuana.
Kaiser said it will be a process, but he said this is what majority of voters wanted.
“Michigan voters voted this law in. This is what they want. We will respect that and we’re trying to do it in a fair and impartial way,” Kaiser said.
With the new law, you have to be 21 years or older to use marijuana. You can have up to 2.5 ounces on you and up to 10 ounces at your house. You can only smoke on private property or specially designated areas.
As for people convicted of marijuana related crimes, it is up to lawmakers to decide whether to clean up their records.