Michigan became the latest state to allow recreational marijuana. From a Wisconsin perspective, we look at basic marijuana laws for the neighboring states of Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Lou Saldivar, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In less than a month, legal recreational weed will be closer to Wisconsin than ever before.
Both Michigan and Illinois have legalized marijuana. Some dispensaries already are open in Michigan, and more will open in Illinois beginning Jan. 1.
If you’re thinking about traveling south or east for the good green, here’s what you need to know.
How can people buy marijuana in Illinois or Michigan?
Recreational marijuana dispensaries generally allow the purchase of marijuana without a prescription and are legal in 11 states. Buyers must be 21 or older.
Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, so most banks will not allow credit card purchases at dispensaries, so be prepared with cash.
Wisconsin has legalized only cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD can be infused into oils, food, lotions and other products, which are sold in boutiques, bars and restaurants across the state.
What is a dispensary?
Traditionally defined as a place where people can purchase medicine, the term dispensary has been widely adapted by the cannabis community as a place to purchase both medical and recreational marijuana.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are already legal in 29 states, including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. Purchasing medical marijuana usually requires a prescription card.
Dispensaries in Illinois
In Illinois, 75 licenses will be issued in the first year. The first round will go to 55 existing medical marijuana dispensaries. As of early December, 30 of the dispensaries have received recreational licenses.
Four of the first 30 Illinois recreational dispensaries are within a half-hour drive from Wisconsin. Two are south of Kenosha:
- The Clinic Mundelein, 1235 Armor Blvd., Mundelein, Illinois.
- PDI Medical III, 1623 Barclay Blvd., Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
Two are south of Beloit:
- MedMar Rockford, 2696 McFarland Road, Rockford, Illinois.
- Mapleglen Care Center, 4777 Stenstrom Road, Rockford, Illinois.
And here are dispensaries within the city of Chicago that have recreational licenses:
- MedMar Lakeview, 3812 N. Clark St.
- Dispensary33, 5001 N. Clark St.
- Maribis, 4570 S. Archer Ave.
- MOCA Modern Cannabis, 2847 W. Fullerton Ave.
- Columbia Care, 4758 N. Milwaukee Ave.
- Million Illinois, 8554 S. Commercial Ave.
- The Herbal Care Center, 1301 S. Western Ave.
A map from the Chicago Sun-Times shows where current medical marijuana dispensaries are located in the greater Chicago area. Most have also applied for a recreational license.
Illinois municipalities can make recreational marijuana illegal but still allow medical marijuana sales, as Chicago suburbs Naperville and Arlington Heights have done.
After medical marijuana dispensaries have applied for recreational licenses, applications will open to those who do not currently own a dispensary. Those licenses will be granted May 1.
Marijuana can only be smoked in private residences and at some dispensaries.
Dispensaries in Michigan
In Michigan on Dec. 1, three recreational dispensaries opened in Ann Arbor and a fourth opened in Morenci. Each dispensary saw hundreds of visitors on opening day, according to the Detroit Free Press.
About 80% of Michigan municipalities have opted out of the recreational marijuana market, according to Michigan’s NPR. Those municipalities can opt in at a later date.
Muskegon, a city directly east of Milwaukee accessible by the Lake Express Ferry, will allow recreational marijuana. Its two medical marijuana dispensaries, Park Place Provisionary and Bella Sol Wellness, would be allowed to sell recreational marijuana, but do not yet have licenses.
There are also municipalities in the upper peninsula where recreational weed can be sold. Michigan’s Fox affiliate reported that Iron Mountain, a city just miles from the Wisconsin border, has paved the way for two medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries, though there’s no time frame for their openings.
Marijuana can only be smoked in private residences in Michigan.
Weed in Wisconsin
Neither medical nor recreational marijuana is legal in Wisconsin and probably will not be any time soon. Marijuana purchased in surrounding states may not be brought back into Wisconsin.
“I want to stress that although it may be legal in surrounding states, that it is illegal in Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Sergeant Todd Brehm. “Officers will respond if they have any indication that the vehicle may contain marijuana, even if it is legally obtained.”
Driving while high, or driving under the influence, is illegal in Wisconsin and surrounding states.
“We look for indicators for any controlled substance. They might be lethargic or their speech may be impaired, their fine motor skills might be delayed,” Brehm said.
What if a passenger is high but the driver is sober?
“It’s a grey area,” Brehm said. “The mere odor of marijuana is probable cause to search a vehicle.”
Metro Detroit marijuana shops give advice to first time recreational marijuana buyers.
Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press
Jordyn Noennig covers pop culture and entertainment in Milwaukee. Follow her on Instagram @JordynTaylor_n. Find her on Twitter @JordynTNoennig. Call her at 262-446-6601 or email Jordyn.Noennig@jrn.com.
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