Republicans in the Michigan legislature want to vote on recreational cannabis legalization before the week is up. While Great Lake State conservatives could finally open the floodgates for marijuana policy reform in the Midwest, the socially progressive crossover is still flush with ulterior motives. Compound that initiative with polling data that shows over 60% of Michigan voters support legalization, and experts around the country have widely predicted the Great Lake State as a near-lock for legalization.
If passed, the ballot measure would legalize the possession, use, and sale of marijuana for adults 21 years and older. Residents and tourists alike would be able to carry up to 2.5 ounces of weed and purchase pot from state-licensed stores. Like Colorado, Michigan’s legalization program would direct cannabis tax revenue to local schools and road repairs, with a proposed 10% excise fee added to every marijuana product.
Put to a successful popular vote, Michigan lawmakers could amend the voter-approved ballot initiative with support from three-quarters of the state legislature. If the legalization effort is passed by legislative vote Sen. Meekhof and his Republican peers will only need a basic majority to make changes to the state’s marijuana laws. With a current conservative majority in Lansing, those changes could be made as quickly as the bill is approved.
For the cannabis advocates who worked tirelessly to construct and validate Michigan’s legalization measure, the legislative power grab is troubling.
If Senator Meekhof and Great Lake State Republicans are going to pass cannabis legalization on their own they will need to act fast. Michigan’s Senate and House of Representatives must both approve the initiative before the end of Tuesday, or the measure will automatically be sent to November’s ballot for a public vote.