Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Petition For 2018 Approved For Circulation
The initiative seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan approved to circulate petition for 2018, Revenue would go to K-12 schools, road repairs and participating cities and counties
By Michael Bachara
On Thursday, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the language of a cannabis legalization initiative for the November of 2018 ballot. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RMLA), the group behind the initiative, has 180 days to collect 252,523 valid signatures from registered Michigan voters.
If passed, the proposal would legalize personal possession, cultivation and use of limited amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and older. It would also tax cannabis with a 10 percent excise tax and 6 percent sales tax.
“Prohibition didn't work with alcohol and it has clearly failed with marijuana as well,” said Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Spokesperson John Truscott. “Our campaign will make Michigan a national leader by creating responsible regulations that will end the waste of law enforcement resources that goes into enforcing Michigan's outdated prohibition laws while also creating jobs and generating much needed tax revenue for our state."
The ballot language was the result of a collaborative partnership between grassroots activists and key organizations, including: the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association, Michigan NORML, MI Legalize, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, and the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section.
The RMLA effort is backed by the Marijuana Policy Project - the group responsible for the legalization of Colorado in 2012.
MI Legalize, the group behind the failed legalization effort in the state in 2016, is working to collecting signatures.
“We’ve got petitions printed and we’re ready to go,” said spokesman Josh Hovey, noting the group will use paid petition circulators through National Petition Management of Brighton.
“We also have volunteers who are here today who are ready to go. We will be on the streets immediately, making sure we’re out there especially at the Memorial Day events.”
“We are clearly the most tightly controlled marijuana legalization initiative that has come to the state of Michigan,” Hovey said. “To argue that we’re misleading in any way I find to be laughable.”
Yousef Rabhi, Michigan State Rep. 53rd House District, speaking in support of a ballot initiative in Michigan said, "I'm here with you today because the reality is, whether you like it or not, people are using marijuana, and so the prohibition, it doesn't work. And so what we need to be doing is looking at ways to decriminalize and legalize, so that we can ensure that everybody is using marijuana safely. It is about safe usage."
Rep. Rabhi said, "The war on drugs has been a failure and has cost many millions of taxpayer dollars spent locking up the wrong people, hindering their ability to get jobs after they've been criminally convicted."
Consumption would not be allowed on public sidewalks. Local communities could decide whether they want to allow marijuana businesses.
To get involved in the effort to end prohibition in Michigan, contact Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol