Michigan could be the next state to legalize cannabis. Advocates in the state just launched a drive to get recreational weed on the ballot in 2018. If Michigan chooses to legalize it will be the ninth state in the U.S. to do so.
Michigan’s New Ballot Drive
On Friday, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol started a new ballot drive to try and get recreational weed on next year’s ballot.
The group submitted an official petition. It is now waiting for approval from the Michigan Board of Canvassers.
After the petition is approved, the group has 180 days to gather as many signatures as possible. If the petition gets the required 252,523 signatures it will qualify for the 2018 ballot.
The proposed initiative would complement Michigan’s medical marijuana program. It would make it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis.
Adults would also be allowed to grow as many as 12 plants at home. Additionally, the proposed plan would provide a way for people convicted of non-violent cannabis crimes to clear their records.
It would still be illegal to use weed in public. Similarly, it would be illegal to drive under the influence.
On top of all this, the proposed initiative outlined a plan for taxing cannabis. Under the plan, there would be a 10 percent tax on recreational weed. That would be on top of the state’s regular six percent sales tax.
Supporters of the bill believe that legalizing recreational weed could raise millions of dollars in taxes. Those revenues would be divided between state and local governments.
Public schools and road construction would evenly split 70 percent of all cannabis taxes. The other thirty percent would be divided between municipal and county governments. Municipalities that allow recreational weed will get 15 percent. Similarly, counties with legal weed will receive the final 15 percent.
The Final Hit
Supporters of the petition said there are several benefits to legalizing recreational weed.
“Our country’s marijuana prohibition laws have failed miserably,” said cannabis advocate John Truscott. “This initiative would make Michigan a leader in responsible adult-use marijuana laws, while also creating an entirely new industry and generating badly needed tax revenue for our state.”
Supporters of the petition hope to see Michigan become the ninth state to legalize recreational weed. Last year’s elections saw some big changes for weed laws.
Four states voted to legalize recreational weed. And four more adopted new medical marijuana laws. As a result of these changes, one in five Americans now has access to some form of legal weed. And so far this year, 29 states have tabled new cannabis laws.
The new petition in Michigan comes at a time when there is more popular support for cannabis than ever before. The most recent Gallup poll found that more than 60 percent of Americans support legalizing weed.
Support for cannabis has been rising steadily in recent years. For example, Gallup first started asking people about cannabis back in 1969. That year, only 12 percent of Americans supported legalization.
The first time that a majority of voters supported weed was in 2013. And by 2016, that number had climbed as high as 60 percent.
These national trends are reflected in Michigan. So far, legalization supporters have raised around $140,000 for the new petition. They hope to raise $8 million before next year’s elections.