Michigan voted to legalize recreational cannabis during the midterm elections last November, making them the first midwest state to do so. However, those hoping to actually go out a buy some legal weed are in for a bit of a wait since the state government won't set up a framework for recreational cannabis retailers for at least another year.
But some enterprising individuals though have figured out how to play within a legal gray area—cannabis gifting.
"With all the legal and licensing fees, we couldn't afford [applying for a license], so we figured out a legal loophole," Brandon Anthony, who operates a company called On High Road explained. Here's how his business works: a customer orders a "munchies bag" (priced from $55 to $120) from the company's website, and they receive their order along with a complementary stash of weed to go with it as a 'gift.'
Gifting up to two-and-a-half ounces of flower or 15 grams of cannabis extracts is technically legal under Michigan's current laws. The legality of Anthony's business and others like it are questionable though, since the law states that it only counts as gifting cannabis if there is no remuneration. So its possible to interpret getting a supply of weed with an order of excessively marked up baked goods as violating the terms for cannabis gifting.
But Anthony doesn't think he'll run in to any legal issues.
"I have an attorney that tells me all the legal loopholes are covered," he said.
The gift economy is largely how things work in the District of Columbia too. Similar to Michigan, recreational marijuana is legal in DC, but the only legal way to actually get the stuff is to grow it yourself or via gifting. Law enforcement in DC has largely left the cannabis gift economy alone, but police in Michigan haven't clarified what approach they'll take to gray-market gifting in their own state.
Unlike DC however, people of the Great Lake State will be able to have a properly regulated cannabis market with any luck by this time next year. Until then, we predict the holiday gift-giving season is going to last a whole lot longer in Michigan than anywhere else.