Michigan marijuana legalization question on 2018 Ballot?

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Another push to legalize marijuana in Michigan could launch soon. On Friday, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol submitted petition language to the state Board of Canvassers for approval. If the group gets the nod, it will need to collect approximately 350,000 signatures from valid registered voters within 180 days to make Michigan’s 2018 ballot.

If ultimately approved by voters, the proposal would make recreational marijuana use legal. Purchases of up to 2.5 ounces would be allowed and individuals could keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana in their homes, the Detroit Free Press reported. But the proposal would also give communities the choice of whether or not to allow marijuana businesses.

“Prohibition is a failed big government program,” former state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who is the political director of the coalition, told the Free Press. “We have 20,000 people arrested every year in Michigan. And we’re now going to be in a position to give our citizens a choice to end that.”

An effort by MiLegalize failed to get the issue on the 2016 ballot. The group gathered more than 350,000 signatures, but not within the 180-day time limit, the Free Press reported. MiLegalize, as well as the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for Marijuana Legalization or Norml, have signed on to the latest effort and will bring its resources to the fight, the newspaper reported.

As for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, the group plans to raise big money — as much as $10 million — to get the issue on the ballot and conduct a successful campaign. If approved, the proposal would set up three classes of marijuana growers: those who can grow up to 100 plants, 500 plants and 2,000 plants. Marijuana would be taxed at a rate of 16 percent under petition language, the Free Press reported.

Other provisions include:

  • Tax marijuana sales at a rate of a 10% excise tax at the retail level as well as the 6% sales tax. The estimated revenues from the taxes are at least $100 million and perhaps as high as $200 million, Hovey said.
  • Split those revenues with 35% going to K-12 education, 35% to roads, 15% to the communities that allow marijuana businesses in their communities and 15% to counties where marijuana business are located.
  • Allow the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — and not the politically appointed licensing board that will oversee medical marijuana — to regulate and license marijuana businesses, ranging from growers, transporters, testers and dispensaries.

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Source: 420 Intel – United States

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