Michigan Voters Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

Michigan Voters Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

Michigan voters will decide in November if marijuana for adult use ought to be legalized. The State Senate and House of Representatives adjourned today without taking up a pending medical marijuana initiative. The State Board of Canvassers decided in April that activists had turned in enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot. Lawmakers had a 40-day deadline to take up the issue. That deadline passed now without action from either legislative body.

Lawmakers had three options. They could pass the initiative with the choice to amend it later; write another proposal to compete with the initiative; or do nothing. They chose the third option, meaning the initiative will be on the November ballot.

Political Parties Differ On Plan

Some Republicans wanted to pass a legalization bill to keep the initiative off November’s ballot. They saw passing a bill as an chance to lessen voter turnout. Progressive ballot propositions such as cannabis legalization efforts tend to encourage voters to return to the polls. Consequently, conservative issues and candidates have a smaller likelihood of success.

Republican Political consultant Dennis Darnoi thought the bill idea proved to be a viable strategy. He told reporters that more voters at the polls could make a difference in some races.

“I believe it’s among the issues that will drive turnout,” he said. “And in aggressive state House seats, an additional 50 to 100 votes could swing an election. ”

Party strategists decided to allow lawmakers in the House see if they could pass a bill first. However, Republican Speaker of the House Tom Leonard told local press on Tuesday that he didn’t have the votes to pass the bill.

“There’s just not encourage in the room to pass this at this time. The voters will have to pick,” said Leonard. ”

Democrats wanted to let voters choose the initiative. House Minority Sam Singh said that his colleagues didn’t want to give Republicans an opportunity to rewrite the legislation.

“This is a decision which should go to the voters. This was an idea perpetuated by a small group of Republican donors who wanted to run the machine and that wasn’t something that Democrats were going to encourage,” said Singh.

Advocates Place Their Trust In Voters

Activists with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, supporters of this initiative, welcomed the news. Josh Hovey is a spokesman with the group. He thinks that the legalization drive will be successful at the ballot box.

“We are confident Michigan voters understand that marijuana prohibition has been an absolute disaster and that they will agree that taxing and regulating marijuana is a far superior alternative,” Hovey said.   “Multiple polls show that roughly 60 percent of Michigan voters want to see marijuana legalized and regulated. ”

Possession, Use, and Sales Would Be Legal

The state would then impose a tax on marijuana sales of 10 percent, in addition to the normal six percent sales tax.

Analysts believe that revenue from those taxes could total as much as $100 million per year. The state would spend the money on roads and public education. Cities and counties that allow commercial cannabis businesses would also get a cut.

Released at Wed, 06 Jun 2018 11:00:24 +0000

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