State poised to become 10th in nation and first in Midwest to make marijuana legal for adults
* Statement below from Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Matthew Schweich *
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan State Board of Canvassers certified on Thursday that the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) has enough signatures to place an initiative that would make marijuana legal and regulated for adults on the state’s November ballot. If approved by voters, Michigan would become the first state in the Midwest with an adult-use cannabis law.
“This November, Michigan voters will have the opportunity to replace the failed policy of marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation,” said Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project and treasurer of the CRMLA committee. “With the certification process complete, we can now turn our attention to educating voters about why approving this initiative is a sensible public policy decision that serves the interests of the people of Michigan.”
In addition to allowing adults age 21 and older to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana, the initiative would: regulate marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana; legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp (used to make textiles, biodegradable plastics, food, construction materials, and fuel); protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail marijuana; impose a 10 percent excise tax on marijuana sold at the retail level on top of the state’s six percent sales tax; and give local governments the option of whether they want to allow marijuana businesses in their communities.
Voter-initiated laws in Michigan are required to collect 252,523 valid signatures to have an issue placed on the ballot. CRMLA submitted more than 365,000 signatures to the state Elections Bureau in November last year. Elections Bureau staff estimate that more than 277,000 signatures were valid.
Organizations supporting the coalition include the Marijuana Policy Project, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association, Michigan NORML, and MILegalize.
For more information about the ballot initiative, including full language of the proposed law, please visit www.RegulateMI.org.
The initiative is being certified at a time when national attention is focused on marijuana policy reform. Earlier this month, President Trump reiterated his position in favor of not interfering with state marijuana policies in a conversation with Sen. Cory Gardner and assured him that the Department of Justice would not target individuals and businesses that are in compliance with state marijuana laws.
“Congress is poised to effectively end federal marijuana prohibition this year or next, but states such as Michigan will still need to enact laws that dictate how marijuana will be regulated,” added Schweich. “Federal reform would not negate the need for this Michigan ballot initiative.”
Marijuana is currently legal for adults in nine states and the District of Columbia. Eight states have enacted laws legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use, and marijuana possession and limited home cultivation are legal in Vermont and the District of Columbia. More than 20 states are considering bills to make marijuana legal for adults this year.
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