- Ballot language for the recreational marijuana proposal is finalized
- Overall, the language describes the system fairly well
- One major issue comes from not identifying main restrictions, which could sway voters on the fence
Michigan’s cannabis community has been through major ups and downs since the MMFLA became official in 2016. From government boards slowing progress to the nearly 200 provisioning centers shut down in early 2018, Michigan’s marijuana industry has proven its resiliency.
This resiliency is a result of the strong support of the extensive marijuana community and culture that exists throughout the state, and it is no secret that this November’s general election will seal the fate of marijuana in Michigan. Proposal-1 will appear on the ballots on November 6, thanks to the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Back in April, this group collected over 365,000 signatures to petition for this proposal to appear on ballots, with over 250,000 of these signatures accepted.
After these signatures were accepted, the Committee to Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods formally asked legislators to pass the petition before it went to a vote. Lawmakers were unable to act before the end of the session, which actually was good for the Cannabis industry as the Conservatively dominate state congress would have changed the very nature of the bill.
“When even your opposition is arguing in support of marijuana legalization, it is clear that now is the time to end cannabis prohibition in Michigan,” CRMLA spokesperson Josh Hovey said in an official statement. Support in Michigan is overwhelming, with over 60% voter support for the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The board approved the official ballot language this passed Thursday, September 6.
Actual Ballot Language- What Voters Will See
A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers
This proposal would:
Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.
Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces to be secured in locked containers.
Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them.
Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10% excise tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.
Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.
Should this proposal be adopted?
[ ] YES
[ ] NO
Issues with the Ballot Language
While the language accurately describes how recreational marijuana will be supported by the State from a legal point of view, there are some minor issues with the approved language that may sway voters on the fence. One of the biggest obstacles recreational marijuana faces in Michigan is lack of voter awareness and education.
Mainly, the language that voters will see does not outline many key restrictions that will be in place if (and when) recreational marijuana is effective in Michigan. These are as follows:
- No public consumption
- Driving under the influence of marijuana would remain strictly illegal
- Businesses could still test employees for marijuana use, and punish as seen fit
For many undecided voters, these restrictions could be a deciding factor. If someone has no issues with others using marijuana, but is concerned about the smell, knowing that public consumption is prohibited could sway their vote. Furthermore, many small business owners may find comfort in knowing that they would still have the right to drug test their employees.