Great Lakes State Takes Great Step Toward Legalization

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It’s progress that has been a long time coming. Support for legalized cannabis has been growing among Michigan voters for years, but in 2018, they will finally have a chance to vote on it. The signatures associated with a ballot initiative were finally approved by the Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers in a unanimous vote. That means that registered Michigan voters will get to decide this fall if they support legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes in the Great Lakes state.

Image of a stack of boxes of signed petitions.

From the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Facebook page

Activists with the Coalition to Regulation Marijuana like Alcohol turned in more than 365,384 signatures to the Bureau of Elections back in November of 2017. In order for the initiative to make it on the ballot, they needed 252,523 signatures. Of the amount collected, 3,282 were excluded. The remainder is well over the amount required to present the issue to voters.

What Would Legalization in Michigan Look Like?

Under the proposed language, the law would become known as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. Instead of creating an amendment to the state constitution, this ballot initiative would create a legislative bill that lawmakers could then pass. Adults ages 21 and older will have the right to purchase and consume cannabis for recreational purposes. The bill would also legalize industrial hemp, a boon to Michigan farmers.

If passed, this bill would also create a regulatory system at the state level. That would mean licensing dispensaries, as well as commercial growers, testing laboratories and processing facilities. The language of the law would allow adults to posses as much as 2.5 ounces while outside of their homes. Inside their homes, they may have up to 10 ounces. Those over the age of 21 will also have the right to grow as many as 12 marijuana plants in their residence.

Image showing historic image of alcohol poured out during prohibition with a caption stating that "Prohibition didn't work last time and it's not working now."

From the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Facebook page

Interestingly, this bill also includes language that focuses on smaller businesses and growers, called “microbusinesses.” The intention here is to prevent major corporations and big businesses from forcing smaller, mom-and-pop style operations out of business.

If this bill succeeds, it will greatly reduce the wasted resources spent on enforcing cannabis prohibition in Michigan. It will also help Michigan bolster its tourism trade and pave the way for public services and infrastructure improvements thanks to an excise tax. Some people call it “pot for potholes,” given the notorious condition of Michigan roadway. Everyone here at Ladybud congratulates the local activists in Michigan who have worked tirelessly to get to this point. Here’s hoping for a successful vote in November!