If you live in The Great Lake State or plan on visiting sometime soon, you should get familiar with the state’s drug and alcohol laws.

You may be wondering about the rules around drinking and driving. Is marijuana legal? And what are the consequences of breaking the law? We answer these questions about substance use in Michigan below.

DUI Laws in Michigan

Hundreds of people die every year in Michigan due to substance-related crashes. It’s thus illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI). Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more is a criminal offense.

Driving under the influence (DUI) laws apply to marijuana, controlled substances and intoxicants. Michigan tests for even small amounts of cocaine and impairing Schedule 1 drugs.

Zero Tolerance Laws in Michigan

Young and inexperienced drivers are more likely to cause accidents. Add substances to the mix and the roads become a lot more dangerous.

If you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or more. You can reach this limit after one drink. In fact, the act of transporting alcohol without someone over 21 present is a misdemeanor.

Is Cannabis Legal in Michigan?

For adults over 21, cannabis is legal in Michigan. This is true for both medical purposes and recreation. Restrictions include the following:

  • Traveling with up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or 15 grams of concentrate is permitted. However, school property and correctional institutions are an exception.
  • Giving 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or 15 grams of concentrate to another adult for free.
  • Individuals cannot sell marijuana without a license.
  • You can have up to 10 ounces of flower at home, but anything more than 2.5 ounces needs to be locked away.
  • Each household can grow up to 12 marijuana plants in an area not visible to the public. This depends on landlord approval.
  • You cannot consume cannabis in public areas.

Be sure to check your employer’s policy towards cannabis use. And check local city laws for restrictions on commercial marijuana.

Other Substance-Related Crimes in Michigan

  • Using a fake ID to buy alcohol
  • Selling or giving alcohol to a minor
  • It is illegal to have or use illicit drugs.
  • It is also illegal to make, sell or distribute these substances.

Penalties depend on how dangerous a drug is and how much a person has.

Penalties for Alcohol or Drug Abuse in Michigan

DUI Penalties in Michigan

First-time offenders face the following:

  • Up to 93 days of jail time
  • $100 to $500 in fines
  • A 6-month license restriction
  • Court costs and a fine of up to $150 for refusing to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)
  • 6 points to your driving record

For those with a High BAC over 0.17%:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • $200 to $700 in fines
  • Up to 360 hours community service
  • A one-year license suspension
  • Completion of a rehab program
  • Ignition interlock device

The more convictions you have, the bigger the fines. Priors also involve longer license suspensions, and jail time and/or community service. A third conviction is a felony as is a DUI that causes serious injury or death. Vehicle confiscation is also possible.

Michigan law requires license suspensions for drug convictions. This is the case even if you were not driving when the offense occurred.

Zero Tolerance Penalties in Michigan

First time underage offenders face the following:

  • Up to $250 in fines and/or 360 hours of community service
  • 30 days of license restriction
  • 4 points to your driving record

Cannabis Penalties in Michigan

  • Possessing more than 2.5 ounces is a civil infraction which results in a $500 fine for the first offense.
  • The sale of up to 5kg of marijuana is a felony which carries up to four years in jail and $20,000 in fines.
  • Cultivating more than 25 plants without a license can incur up to $500,000 in fines and 7 years in prison.

While we strive to provide updated information, the legal environment is dynamic. Consult with a local lawyer before making decisions that could lead to drug or alcohol charges.

Get Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Michigan

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is hope. We highly recommend seeking treatment. Health professionals can assist you to get back on your feet.

Treatment starts with a safe and supervised detox. Doctors minimise the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. Thereafter, therapy explores the causes of substance abuse. Counselors provide tools to avoid triggers and to deal with cravings.

Getting help shouldn’t be harder than getting drugs. Contact a rehab program near you to discuss the best options to suit your needs. It’s the first step towards a more healthy and happy life.


  1. DeVito, L. (2019). Michigan’s cannabis laws for dummies: The dos and don’ts of dope
  2. SOS – Substance Abuse and Driving
  3. Michigan Laws & Penalties – NORML – Working to Reform Marijuana Laws

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