The requisite number of signatures have been gathered to put marijuana legalization on the ballet in November.
Support for Recreational Marijuana
Depending on which poll you want to believe, anywhere from 61 percent to a 48 percent majority of residents support marijuana legalization. Just last week even an anti-marijuana opposition group thinks the legislature should pass a legalization bill because they are afraid that the voters might actually get what they want this time. It seems as if the writing is on the wall and that Michigan is likely to join the handful of states who have already passed recreational marijuana bills. If Michigan legalizes and regulates marijuana huge changes will occur in Michigan’s cannabis industry.
What Is In The Proposal
The Language of the initiative, which can be read here, states that a person over the age of 21
- Can possess up to 2.5 ounces of Marijuana, except not more than 15 grams of marijuana may be in the form of marijuana concentrate.
- Within the persons residence they can possess, store and process not more than 10 ounces of marijuana as long as it is stored in a container or area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the contents of the container or area.
- Grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use. (marijuana from plants not subjects to 10 ounce rule). Plants must be in an enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices that restrict access to the area, and if grown outside the plants must also not be visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft or other optical aids.
- Give away or transfer without compensation or remuneration up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana though no more that 15 grams of the marijuana may be in form of marijuana concentrate. This transfer can not be advertised or promoted to the public.
- Can assist others over the age of 21 with the things listed above.
In addition, the initiative would also:
- Impose a 10% excise tax on marijuana sales and a 6% sales tax.
- The estimated taxes generation of 100 million would be split 35% to roads, 35% to k-12 education, 15% to communities that allow marijuana business in their borders and 15% to counties where marijuana business are located.
Future of Marijuana
If the measures passes, it will be a huge step above the current medical marijuana laws. The medical marijuana system will still be in place and run alongside this new Act, however, the new Act appears to be less restrictive on transfers, the amounts that can be possessed, and the regulation of grows and who can help with them. Moreover, it will likely have a very positive impact on the economy and the state budget, our schools, and our roads. Not to mention that releasing our foot off the pedal of the drug war will free up additional resources to be spent on real crime.
However, there will still be some issues that come up with initiative language. Some of the biggest potential issues may come up in Section 4.1 which lists activities that the act does not authorize an individual to do. The first is (a) “Operating, navigating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.” So the act states that you can not drive under the influence. However, what this act does not define is the meaning of “under the influence.” Under current Michigan law, any amount of a controlled substance, including marijuana, in a drivers system automatically makes them guilty of drugged driving, which is the equivalent of an OWI or drunk driving charge. It is not clear if this law will trump that aspect of state law or if judges will conflate under the influence and the any amount in ones system. Because driving while under the influence of drugs is a charge that is on the rise, this will be a very important point to look at. In addition to driving under the influence, the act would prohibit
- Consuming marijuana while driving a vehicle or smoking marijuana within the passenger area of a vehicle upon a public way
- Possession of marijuana to persons under the age of 21
- Transfer of marijuana to a person under the age of 21
- Consuming marijuana in public place or where it is prohibited by the owner, occupier or manger of the property
- Possessing or consuming marijuana on grounds of a public or private school
Notwithstanding the potential issues with this Act, it would be a huge improvement over the current medical marijuana law and Michigan voters should be well aware of all the benefits that its passage could bring to the state.