Is legalizing marijuana a reality for Michigan?
Now that eight states, including Washington D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana, the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has started to take action for the State of Michigan.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has begun a petition drive to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Michigan. The wording of the ballot proposal was approved by the Board of State Canvassers on May 18th. In addition, the group has been given 180 days from May 26th to collect 252,523 valid signatures in order to place the question on Michigan’s November 2018 ballot.
They are ahead of schedule. The CRMLA has collected more than 100,000 signatures in less than seven weeks.
Legalizing Marijuana – Next Steps if Approved
If the initiative gets approved by Michigan voters in November 2018, it would:
- Legalize personal possession, cultivation and use of limited amounts of cannabis for adults over 21.
- Legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.
- License marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana.
- Establish testing and safety regulations for the retail sale of marijuana
- Tax retail marijuana sales with a 10% excise tax and 6% sales tax, which would in turn go to support K-12 public schools, roads and local government.
This is the second attempt to get a proposal on the ballot after the first attempt in 2016 fell short because of invalid signatures.
As explained at Medical Marijuana Legislation Changes Coming to Michigan, medical marijuana use was approved by voters in 2008 for the State of Michigan. Right now, there are 212,928 registered medical marijuana patients in Michigan.
However, because the industry is new and unregulated, it can often be confusing for those attempting to legally purchase or grow medical marijuana. In addition, Michigan’s government has often left it up to the courts to interpret the law. This takes happens through criminal prosecution of people who thought they were complying.
Three bills have been moved by the house to solve some of these issues and sent to the governor for his signature. They include:
- HB4209 – Covers the licensing and regulation of provision centers, growers, processors, transporters, and safety facilities.
- HB4210 – Includes alternative forms of marijuana for medical reasons, including oils, edibles, liquids, and capsules
- HB4827 – Sets up seed-to-sale tracking of medical marijuana
Marijuana Friendly Cities in Michigan
In addition to the legalization of marijuana for medical use in Michigan, several cities over the state have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. This includes its use on private property by adults over the age of 21.
In many of these places, these city ordinances don’t mean much. Many of the police officers interviewed have stated they are sworn to uphold state law. While the law is still not in favor of recreational marijuana, it’s still in your best interest to receive a prescription to use it.
Legalizing marijuana in Michigan appears to be on the horizon. The laws surrounding the recreational use of marijuana may change in the near future. However, they are still confusing and open to much debate and the interpretation of individual law enforcement officers.
If you are facing charges related to illegal possession of marijuana, call an experienced criminal defense attorney. Having the right legal counsel by your side will make sure your rights are protected. Call my office today and let’s start fighting for your rights.