One of the most active committees against the legalization of Marijuana in Michigan has reversed their position- temporarily. The Committee to Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods recently told the Detroit Free Press that they now support the legislature and wish for the GOP run house to amend the legislature before the June 5th deadline. The committee’s hope is for the legalization of recreational marijuana to be as tightly regulated as the medicinal side, and they feel that if the legislature is amended before the deadline, they will support the bill. The committee has also publicly stated that if amendments are not suggested before the deadline, they will reverse their position back to being in opposition of the legalization of marijuana.
One issue that the Committee to Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods (what a mouthful) has with the current legalization proposal is that the bill would create a different tax rate for recreational marijuana, at a 10% excise rate and 6% sales tax. The excise rate for medicinal marijuana is currently at 3%, with the standard state sales tax. The group stated that they feel the tax rates should be equal for both full legalization and medicinal use, as overall they feel the medicinal and recreational should be regulated exactly the same.
Another interesting change that the full legalization proposal states is the removal of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board (MMLB). The MMLB currently reviews all licensing applications for medical marijuana, and is appointed by the governor and approved by the State House and Senate leaders. Under the recreational marijuana proposal, the MMLB would be replaced by the State Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department.
The issue is now becoming more and more political as well. Republicans are expected to attempt to amend the issue before June 5th, which could allow legalization without it even reaching the ballot on November 6th. If the issue does reach the ballot however, voter turnout is expected to increase dramatically, which has historically helped the Democratic party. In other words, Republicans are expected to amend the legislature to protect their own jobs. There are many rumours regarding how they will amend the proposal, but there is a strong sense that they will attempt a tax cut to make the bill more palatable for the right side of the aisle. It seems as though nothing is in the way of the legalization of Marijuana, and those opposed are now resorting to focusing on making sure recreational marijuana is regulated strictly.