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October 24, 2018, Michigan
This mid-term election will prove to be historic for many states in terms of cannabis reforms. In four states, voters are going to decide the fate of medical and recreational cannabis. Missouri and Utah voters will vote on medicinal marijuana while North Dakota and Michigan residents will have the opportunity to approve or reject recreational cannabis legalization.
Michiganders are going to vote on Proposal 1 (for the legalization of adult-use cannabis) on November 6. According to the communication director of the advocacy group that supported and canvassed for the initiative, the state will get two momentous benefits with the approval of Proposal 1.
- The wastage of law enforcement resources in continuing the meaningless war on drugs will stop. It is worth noting that the state arrests more than 20,000 citizens every year in connection with minor cannabis possessions and nearly spend whopping $90 million dollars in nabbing and prosecuting them.
- The state is in a perpetual financial crunch. Michigan’s Senate Fiscal Agency has estimated that the adult-use legalization of cannabis will inject $287 million annually into the income stream. An established recreational marijuana market can thus significantly help in improving the state’s monetary reserves.
The blanket legalization of cannabis will also help in curbing the ever-existing racial disproportion to some extent. The criminal record from the law enforcement entities suggests that color population of Michigan is 2.5 times more likely to bear the brunt of marijuana criminalization.
The provisions of Proposal 1 are fairly simple and have the potential to set up a winning legalization environment. People will be allowed possessing and consuming marijuana and its derivates (extracts, edibles etc). Moreover, Michigander can cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants on their properties for personal use. People can also buy and preserve up to 10 ounces of marijuana buds at homes.
The proposal also gives local municipalities power to ban or allow marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions. Moreover, every retail marijuana business will have to give 10 percent municipal tax to ensure better facilities in their areas of operations. Furthermore, Proposal 1 will also relegate many cannabis-related crimes to civil infringements.
As per recent polls, there is enough support on the ground to materialize Proposal 1 into law. However, the past record of Michigan implies that cannabis reforms face systematic opposition from legislators and private entities. MMJ operation of the state has already faced such understated yet strong animosity. The MMJ dispensaries in the state have experienced random raids. In order to disrupt the established MMJ businesses, the legislature has also used the weapon of zoning regulations.
Similarly, they have also made an attempt to exhaust MMJ retailers by forcing them to rebrand their businesses by replacing the word ‘dispensary’ with ‘provision centers’. Amid all these organized hurdles put by regulators and state machinery, MMJ businesses are somewhat managing their operations.
For now, Proposal 1 is not facing any formidable opposition. Nevertheless, only time will tell how adult-use legalization will be received by decision-makers.