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For the second time in a decade, Michigan voters made it clear on Election Day that they support comprehensive reform of cannabis laws across the state. 2008 saw a nearly two-thirds majority of Michigan voters supporting the state’s medical cannabis act. There was also a strong margin for the passage of the new recreational legalization measure in Michigan.
Unfortunately, Michigan has one of the most corrupt governments in the country. The lawmakers in Michigan routinely act in ways that completely contradict the wishes of their constituents. Michigan voters, for example, have previously passed a ballot initiative against the highly corrupt and questionable emergency manager program initiated by Republican legislators under a previous Republican administration. Unfortunately, those law makers went ahead and pass legislation directly countermanding the will of the citizens of Michigan by actually reinforcing and expanding the emergency manager law.
Lawmakers have used the same selfish and corrupt approach to handling cannabis perform as well. At the time of its passage, activists across the state of Michigan to believe that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act would make Michigan one of the most liberal states with a medical cannabis policy. Lawmakers quickly moved to micromanage every aspect of the medical market, effectively hamstringing the progress that activists fought so hard to create. They took years to convince to pass even the most restrictive expansions that could allow for legal dispensaries.
After nearly a decade of failed efforts to work with lawmakers to revise the medical program, it became abundantly clear that full legalization was the only way to truly uphold the will of the voters in Michigan. Once again, voters turned out in record numbers to support cannabis reform this year, passing Proposition 1, which allows for retail cannabis sales for adults and home cultivation of up to a dozen plants.
And now, once again, state lawmakers are doing everything in their power to undermine what their voters want. Specifically, Republican legislators are currently working to ban home cultivation in Michigan. They would happily create a near monopoly where only large corporations will have the funds to participate in the state cannabis economy. This move ignores the fact that the home cultivation provision in both the medical and recreational initiatives was key to garnering adequate support from the public.
Many in Michigan have a deep-rooted sense of independence, and there are also strong ties to the agricultural community throughout the state. It only makes sense that voters in Michigan would support the idea of a cash crop (hemp) available to farmers and the home cultivation of an item that they don’t want to be dependent on businesses for.
Lawmakers currently seem to want to hand the medical cannabis and recreational cannabis markets in Michigan directly to corporations. While it is highly unlikely that this ridiculous measure will pass in a lame duck session before more Democrats joined the House and Senate, it is infuriating that lawmakers would even attempt to gut the legalization bill that has passed by voters less than a month ago.
One can only hope that this shady move will inspire even more people to continue voting for fresh faces in the state legislature and at the federal level. Until such a time as all of the old blood at state and federal levels have been replaced, we will still have to fight against prohibitionist seeking to prop up the failed War on Drugs and undermine legalization efforts.