MORENCI, Mich. — The southernmost town in Michigan is now a popular destination for Ohioans looking for recreational and medical marijuana.
With a population just below 2,200, Morenci is home to one of the state’s first recreational pot shops, Michigan Supply & Provisions, conveniently located near the Ohio-Michigan border.
Unsurprisingly, Michigan Supply & Provisions has caught the attention of quite a few Ohioans and out-of-state customers as well as Michigan residents, General Manager Coleman LaBarr acknowledged.
The shop, which started as a medical marijuana provision center, checks for a government-issued ID or driver’s license to ensure customers are of legal age — 21 years-old in Michigan — and can only sell up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time. But beyond that, any adult can purchase cannabis legally so long as they consume it in private and don’t cross state lines.
And soon, Michigan will allow licensed recreational gatherings in what the state is calling consumption sites, which have their own set of regulations.
Some Michigan pot retailers are taking a don’t ask, don’t tell approach with their out-of-state customers.
“What they do when they leave with it is none of our concern,” said Amber Ali, general manager of 20 Past 4 Provisioning Center in Jackson, Michigan, which started selling recreational marijuana on Wednesday. “We try not to have that conversation with them because if we hear something that is incorrect (or illegal), that would have to be reported.”
The provisioning center, which sells medical and recreational marijuana, is still relatively new. But Ali has already seen at least 20-30 customers from Ohio. While that only amounts to about 3.5% of the shop’s customers thus far, Ali said 20 Past 4 has witnessed an influx of out-of-state customers since recreational marijuana hit store shelves this week.
Ohioans caught with marijuana purchased in Michigan, or any other state where recreational cannabis has been legalized, can still face criminal charges.
Minor possession — classified as less than 100 grams — is considered a minor misdemeanor in Ohio. There’s no jail time for a minor misdemeanor, but the citation does carry a $150 fine.
Even Ohioans who are registered medical marijuana patients can’t legally bring Michigan pot back to Ohio, as the state has not adopted reciprocity.
“Michigan laws are different than our laws. In Ohio, it’s not recreational,” said Lima Municipal Court Chief Prosecutor Rick Eddy. “It’s medical (only). The forms you can have in Ohio are more limited than in Michigan, where you can have loose-leaf marijuana.”
While the recent legalization of hemp last year caused some difficulty for law enforcement and prosecutors to differentiate between hemp and marijuana, Eddy said Lima Municipal Court is still prosecuting pot possession cases, the majority of which involve less than 100 grams of cannabis.
“The testing now requires more than we used to have to do,” he said. “We used to use a microscope and (roadside) test. Now, we have to do a more in-depth test at the crime lab, but we still have our local agency citing for it and we do still prosecute it.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.