November 21, 2017 Michigan
In Michigan, cannabis advocates have succeeded in submitting the petition with around 365000 signatures to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. Number of signatures are probably enough to have the legalization question in the next year’s state ballot.
If the petition to legalize adult-use marijuana goes into state ballot and get the approval from voters, then Michigan will be the ninth state to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. People 21 and over will be allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate 12 marijuana plants in their lawns and backyards with state benefiting with 16% of net taxes on the adult-use cannabis sales. Josh Hovey, a representative for a cannabis support group stated that the state would easily pocket millions of dollars in tax revenue with adult-use cannabis operations. Nearly twenty thousand people in Michigan get arrested for cannabis cultivation and possession every year. Hovey, talking to the press outside the State Bureau of Elections said, “Oftentimes it’s just adults using a plant that is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.” Empathizing with how this has been breaking and destroying families and communities alike, he further elaborated on the importance of imposing regulations to create a new industry in the state. “You’re going to see not only the tax benefits of that, but jobs, less crime and letting law enforcement go after things that are more important.”
The petition will go to the Republican dominated state senate if the percentage of valid signatures is at least 70% . Legislatures will have an option to adopt and implement the measure or else putting it on the state ballot of the next November. They can also come up with another cannabis bill and get the voter’s approval on it.
However, organizers of the legalization initiative are not very optimistic about the legislature’s reception of the proposal in the state’s senate. They think that lawmakers will reject their proposal of legalizing adult use of marijuana. Political director of a cannabis advocate group The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, Jeff Irwin, was a former state representative and a democrat. He evaluates that it is very less likely to get the majority of lawmakers to make the proposal a part of legislation. His assessment was based on its experience as lawmaker in the same legislature.
Irwin also talked about the dirty politics that would get involved in opposing and resisting the proposal of the legalization. According to him, opioid dealers and manufacturers will go on to fund the opposing voices to the proposal in the state legislature. Same has been done in other states to the ballot drives related to cannabis legalization.
According to various nationwide survey and polls, a simple majority of US citizens support marijuana legalization. As per the latest survey conducted by Gallup, 64% of Americans support legalization. It is interesting to note that only 12% of citizens were in the favor when Gallup conducted its first survey regarding the legalization of cannabis.