MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan became the first Midwest state to legalize recreational marijuana. The proposal passing 56 to 44 percent. The passage of ‘Proposal 1’ will go into effect within the next 30 to 40 days.
In a downstate press conference Wednesday, Dr. Kevin Sabet, President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana says to expect more scrutiny from law enforcement now that Michigan is moving forward with the legalization of marijuana.
"There's going to be a lot of problems and a lot of headaches for law enforcement. They're actually telling us that they're going to be more vigilant. Because they're worried about car crashes and DUIs," Sabet announced.
Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese agreed that based on previous recreational marijuana legislation, car crashes and DUI cases are statistically more likely to rise in the Great Lake State.
"We do know from other states that the drugged driving has increased. Right now, probably close to half of our driving while intoxicated cases involve drugs," Wiese reckoned.
He says once recreational marijuana becomes legal within about 30-40 days from now, adults age 21 and over will be able to carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Adults may also possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana on their premises and may also cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use.
But be warned, weed can still get you into trouble.
"You can't smoke it in public. You can't drive while you're high," Wiese warned.
Under no circumstances may a person under the age of 21 be in possession of any form of marijuana.
"That was one of my concerns. The marketing to children as candy was a concern of mine. And the state ultimately can set restrictions and limitations on that if they so choose. But it would require three-quarters vote of the legislature to do that," Wiese advised.
There’s also the matter of when and how to test for marijuana.
"I think most of us don’t want truck drivers high. I think most of us don't want our doctor high. I think most of us don't want our kids’ bus drivers high. That’s' where this goes from being an individual liberty decision to a decision that affects non-users," speculated Dr. Sabet.
There are a number of parameters with which one can be tested for alcohol consumption. However no similar test exists for marijuana impairment for workplace and courtroom purposes. Researchers are still working to find a viable field test.
Until that test can be effectively administered, a urine test remains the primary testing method. However, experts say marijuana can take days and weeks to metabolize and that time can vary from person to person.
It'll eventually be up to each city, village or township to decide how many dispensaries (if any) will be allowed within their limits.
There's a lot more to unravel in the months and years ahead.
For example, legislators will have to find a way to regulate pesticides and other additive chemicals that might be used in the future large-scale production of marijuana.
Legislators will likely also regulate the percentage of THC in various edibles, vaping products and other non-conventional consumption methods.
United States Border Patrol will also likely shift their resources in order to more closely monitor potential illegal transportation of Canadian marijuana into the U.S. via Michigan borders.
These are just a few of the questions raised as votes are still being tallied. So check back with us for updates.