Michigan Voters Could Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use In 2016 Election
By: CBS Detroit
LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan is one step closer to having a state-wide vote to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
A proposal that aims to decriminalize the use of marijuana and allow residents to cultivate their own plants is on its way to the State Board of Canvassers. It the board approves the language, organizers would need to obtain 300,000 voter signatures for the issue to appear on the ballot. The goal is to get the Michigan Cannabis Revenue and Control Act in front of voters by Nov. 2016.
The proposal, which does not allow users to light up in public, would create a Cannabis Control Board for licensing commercial operations as well as home growers, who could cultivate plants as long as they don’t have a felony record. It also places a minimum age on who can possess the drug: 21 — just like alcohol.
Under the proposal the state could decide at which rate to tax marijuana, the proceeds of which would go toward education, public safety and public health. Experts estimate that marijuana taxation could generate as much as $200 million a year.
Listeners calling the WWJ Newsroom were divided on the issue.
“I don’t think it should be legalized anywhere. It just leads to stronger drug use and more fatalities and people acting crazy, shooting and killing each other,” said one woman.
“Speaking as the widow of someone who was killed by a drunk driver, Oh, I just so look forward to the day when I can get killed by a pot-smoking driver. That’s what’s going to happen,” another woman said.
“I’m very much against it. We’ll have a bunch of potheads running around and who knows what they’ll do,” said one man.
“I think it’s wrong. It’s a bad idea. Next thing I know we’ll be letting people use cocaine legally in the state of Michigan,” one woman said. “If they proceed with this I will be up there in Lansing with a group of people to protest this very bad decision.”
“I don’t see what the big problem is. Legal or not, people are smoking it so they might as well just put it on the books,” said another woman.
“I’m all for it as long as they tax the heck out of it and regulate it,” one man said.
“Listen, people are doing it anyway and that’s not going to change. The state might as well smarten up, legalize it and start making a buck off of it. This isn’t rocket science,” said another man.
Voters in six Michigan communities passed marijuana decriminalization measures in November. Voters in two Oakland County communities passed similar measures in August, while voters in Lansing were among residents in three cities who approved decriminalization proposals in 2013.
The decriminalization measures put the communities in potential conflict with state law. Michigan currently bans marijuana use and possession unless it’s medical marijuana.
If passed, Michigan would be the fifth state to defy federal prohibition on marijuana, following Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
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