Ann Arbor Cannabis—Know Before You Go
Recreational Marijuana in Michigan
Adult-use cannabis and possession by people 21 and older was legalized in the state of Michigan in 2018. Washtenaw County is home to over 20 medical and adult-use (recreational) cannabis dispensaries. You’ll find the marijuana shops located throughout the Ann Arbor area.
In addition, both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have “microbusinesses” that grow, process, and sell cannabis in the same location. These small businesses are new in Michigan and growing in popularity.
Consuming in Ann Arbor and Michigan—Laws to Follow
Adults 21 years and older may buy up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis products per day, and that’s the maximum you’re allowed to have on your person unless you are storing it in a Michigan residence (then you can have up to 10 ounces, but it needs to be secured). Concentrates are weighed in grams, and by law, you can have up to 15 grams of concentrates on your person.
Before You Leave the Store with Your Goods Know the Rules
What you CANNOT do:
- Cannot smoke or otherwise consume in a car or on any Michigan road. This goes for both drivers AND passengers.
- Cannot drive under the influence of cannabis.
- Cannot smoke in public places. You can smoke on private property, but not where the public can see you—think back yard vs. front yard.
- Cannot consume in your hotel or rental unless they’re specified as marijuana-friendly. (Note: there aren’t many of these establishments in Michigan.)
- Cannot consume on the property of a cannabis dispensary.
What you CAN do:
- Can consume in a Michigan State Park, but only in your tent or camper—not around the campfire, in an official park cabin, on a hiking trail, or at the beach.
- Can enjoy cannabis at one of the many licensed cannabis events in Michigan or one of the consumption lounges open in the state.
- Can smoke on private property, but it still needs to be out of sight of the public.
Other important things to note:
- It’s illegal to move cannabis across state lines. If you’re visiting Michigan, please consume your cannabis here before leaving for home.
- Selling cannabis, in any amount without a license from the State of Michigan, is illegal.
- If you’re a medical marijuana patient from outside of Michigan, your medical card and an ID are valid here.
Safe Consumption of Cannabis
Above all, we want people to have a fun and safe time visiting Washtenaw County, and if you’re new to cannabis, please consume it carefully. Our friends at the Washtenaw County Health Department have these suggestions for you.
Check these links for the most current and detailed information about cannabis in Washtenaw County and Michigan:
- Cannabis Regulatory Agency list of laws and rules regarding the product in Michigan.
- If you’re looking for a map of all licensed Michigan businesses' locations, this might help, but keep in mind some businesses might not yet be opened.
- The Cannabis Regulatory Agency has a library of educational videos about cannabis that are consumer-centric.
- The Washtenaw County Prosecutor's policy on cannabis.
- The City of Ann Arbor charter shows the details about the civil infraction for cannabis possession and is located on page 63 of the document.
History of Cannabis in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor has a long and storied history with cannabis, full of colorful characters and renowned activists. As far back as 1967, the Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan student newspaper, called for the plant's legalization. But it was the arrest and imprisonment of poet John Sinclair —for possession of two joints—that set Ann Arbor on the trajectory as Michigan’s (and perhaps the country’s) most pioneering cannabis community.
Sinclair, a poet, writer, and activist from Flint, was arrested for marijuana possession in January 1966 and was subsequently sentenced to ten years in prison in July 1969. Several years into his sentence, yippie activist Abbie Hoffman and poet Allan Ginsberg organized a “Free John Sinclair” rally at the University of Michigan’s Crisler Arena. They pulled in talented friends to the December 1971 event—John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and Michiganders Stevie Wonder and Bob Seger as well as other notable musicians including the Ann Arbor-based band Commander Cody. The Black Panthers provided security for the event. That night, in the act of civil disobedience thousands of people freely smoked weed in the packed arena while listening to speakers and musicians.
The protest was effective, and the Michigan Supreme Court freed Sinclair just three days after the rally. Justices ruled that the state's marijuana statutes were unconstitutional. Shortly thereafter the issue of making cannabis possession a civil infraction came before the Ann Arbor City Council. Two new members from the Human Rights Party successfully proposed that the City penalty for possessing less than two ounces of marijuana be a $5 civil infraction ticket. While some political tussling took place in the years that followed, the law remained on the books and was placed into the City’s charter by a public vote in 1974. Nearby Ypsilanti followed suit with a similar law.
The rally for John Sinclair quickly morphed into the Hash Bash. The first event was held on April 1, 1972 and was still protest-focused. Over the years, the Hash Bash continues to be held on the first Saturday of April on the Diag of the University of Michigan, where various activists and notable political figures take the mic. The nearby Monroe Street Fair with vendors and live music is coordinated with the Hash Bash. 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of Hash Bash.
This article/web page does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney to verify the accuracy of the information contained herein and the legality of the purchase, possession, and consumption of cannabis and cannabis products.