Bay Mills Becomes First Tribe In Michigan To Legalize Cannabis

The Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) has become the first of Michigan’s 12 recognized tribes to legalize cannabis since voters approved Proposal 18-1 in November of 2018. The law went into effect on December 6.

On April 8, the Bay Mills Executive Council adopted an ordinance to allow adults over the age of 21 to cultivate, possess, and use cannabis.

“Our tribal government does not necessarily promote the use of marijuana, but we believe that criminalizing is bad policy,” said Tribal Chairman Bryan Newland in a statement. “Our new tribal law ensures that people on our lands are no longer at risk of prosecution for actions that are lawful everywhere else in Michigan.”

Under the new ordinance, adults may possess and gift up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or 15 grams of concentrates. Up to 10 ounces may be stored at home, and up to 12 plants may be cultivated for personal use.

Individuals with prior convictions in tribal court for cannabis offenses made legal by the new ordinance can move to have them expunged.

In 2015, the National Congress of American Indians established that “Indian tribes are sovereign governments with the inherent right to set local laws addressing marijuana, including its medical and industrial uses, according to the public health and economic needs of their unique communities.”

The BMIC does not currently permit commercial cannabis businesses.