Voters to decide on Marijuana Legalization in Michigan

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on June 07, 2018.

Michigan residents will decide whether to legalize the sale, possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes in November. This was decided by the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday after a state board certified supporters had turned in enough signatures to qualify for the fall ballot.

The state Board of Canvassers agreed that backers of the ballot measure had turned in about 277,000 valid signatures, more than the 252,523 they needed to qualify for the ballot.

The Michigan Senate leader wanted legislators to pass the bill to make it easier to change later, but support was lacking in the House.

If the measure is now passed by voters in November, it will take a three-quarters super-majority vote to amend the proposal.

The proposal would: 

- Legalize the possession and sale of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal, recreational use for people over the age of 21. But an individual could keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home 

- Tax marijuana sales with a 10 percent excise tax at the retail level as well as the state's 6 percent sales tax

- Split those revenues, with 35 percent going to K-12 education, 35 percent to roads, 15 percent to the communities that allow marijuana businesses in their communities and 15 percent to counties where marijuana business are located

- Allow communities to decide whether they’ll allow marijuana businesses in their towns

- Require testing and safe transportation of marijuana in the state

- Allow for three categories of marijuana grow operations: up to 500 plants, up to 1,000 plants or up to 2,000 plants

- Have the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs set the rules surrounding recreational use of marijuana and take the lead in handing out licenses. Under the current medical marijuana law, a five-member board appointed by the governor, Senate majority leader and speaker of the House award licenses to medical marijuana businesses

If the ballot measure is successful, Michigan would be the 10th state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. It would also be the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational pot; most states that have passed ballot measures are in the West or Northeast.

Michigan voters had approved medical marijuana in 2008 by a 63 percent-37 percent margin and the Legislature passed bills in 2016 to regulate and tax the industry, which is expected to become a $700 million market annually once the state begins awarding licenses.

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