Imagine buying two books for $65 and then receiving four marijuana edibles with your purchase.
One Michigan company is “gifting” people with marijuana for their book purchases.
There still aren’t any locations people can buy recreational marijuana in Michigan.
Michigan leaders have one year to figure out the rules of recreational marijuana, which means there isn’t anywhere that people can legally purchase weed.
So companies like Blaze Michigan are selling books and then gifting their clients with marijuana.
Recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan in January. While legislators determine where and when it can be sold, some companies are gifting marijuana instead.
“Pretty much demand has been hard to keep up with for the most part,” said Stephanie Swearengin, owner of Blaze Michigan.
Ann Arbor-based Blaze Michigan sells books to their customers. On the website it shows book bundles and tells how many “gifts” a customer would receive with each purchase.
“You’re buying gifts, and then the gift is unknown. We try to hint at what the gift is going to be, by how we name our book bundles,” said Swearengin.
The site doesn’t explicitly say what the gift is, but the name “Brownie Edible Book Bundle” implies the gift is a marijuana product you’ll be able to eat.
“We hand the books over, we check their ID and let them know they can’t receive the gift unless they are over the age of 21. And then separately after that’s done, we give them their gift,” said Swearengin.
The packages range from $65 to over $400, but since you can’t legally sell marijuana in Michigan, is it legal to “gift” it?”
“We’ve talked to multiple lawyers about the issue and as far as we can tell it’s just a large gray area,” said Swearengin. “Just like medical dispensaries. I mean with the state and the federal law, it’s already a gray area. Even though medical marijuana has been legal, they can still get shut down by the feds. So if you ask me it’s all kind of gray.”
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said to be careful.
“People engaging in this activity are definitely subjecting themselves to potential prosecution,” said Fitz.
Fitz said they would have to evaluate the reason for the purchase.
“Certainly when you’re gifting marijuana as part of the incentive of a transaction, that can very easily be interpreted that you are doing it for profit,” said Fitz.
He recommended everyone to err on the side of caution.
“It’s wise for people to follow the law. Tread softly and be cautious. The step you make may end up in causing you to be in court resulting in a civil infraction, a misdemeanor, or even a felony conviction,” said Fitz.
Again, actual recreational marijuana dispensaries won’t open in Michigan until sometime in 2020.