Michigan looks to be the next state to enter the marijuana industry. Petition wording for two new measures to legalize recreational marijuana was approved by the Board of State Canvassers. This isn’t the first time that Michigan has tried to legalize marijuana. Previous efforts to legalize medical marijuana failed, but the state now sees tax revenues as a way to help bolster the economy. Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, Colorado and Washington D.C.
An additional three measures to legalize recreational marijuana may soon be presented on the ballot. The resurgence of these petitions indicates an overwhelming acceptance of the medicinal and economic benefits of legalizing marijuana.
The petition wording was unanimously approved for the Michigan Cannabis Coalition and the Cannabis Law Reform Committee. But the approval didn’t happen without some expressed concern from the board, citing problems in some of the wording that was used. The Cannabis Law Reform Committee indicated that all the legal requirements were met in the petition, but the Board of State Canvassers felt the content was too small and narrowly spaced, making it difficult to read for members of the public.
The Committee didn’t agree with the board’s complaint about the content being too difficult to read. According to their chairman, attorney Jeffrey Hank, “I think it’s perfectly readable and the wording is publically available and has been for some time.”
The Michigan Cannabis Coalition appointed Matt Marsden as their spokesperson. He is a former Senate Republican staffer who claims the new proposal supports the licensing of cannabis growers and retailers, ultimately increasing tax revenues for the state. According to Marsden, “legalizing recreational marijuana can significantly reduce the Michigan prison budget because the state would no longer lock up marijuana violators.” The petition targeted sectors that would benefit financially from the legalization of marijuana. A collaborative effort between both committees detailed the petition that would legalize recreational marijuana for all adults over the age of 21.
Next, 253,000 signatures must be collected in order for the petition to go before the Legislature Committee. If the petition isn’t approved by law makers, the proposed laws would go before the public in November of 2016.
The Cannabis Law Reform Committee doesn’t intend to leave ongoing control in the hands of a Legislature. A previous state law which legalized medical marijuana was poorly managed by Legislature and the Committee doesn’t want the same thing to happen again.