On Monday, organizers of a ballot to drive marijuana legalization in Michigan for the use of recreational purposes submitted 365,000 signatures to the state. The sheer number of signatures have qualified the initiative for a statewide vote in 2018.
Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Michigan for nearly a decade. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol have noted that the prohibition against recreational marijuana is a “massive failure.” If a vote is made in favor of legalization, the state will be the ninth to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
State officials will have to review the voter signatures to make sure at least 252,000 are valid. This process usually takes a couple of months, after which, the bill would go to the Republican-controlled Legislature.
But what exactly would the new law mean for Michigan residents? If passed, people 21 and over could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants at home. A 10% tax on cannabis would be assessed on top of the already existing 6% state sales tax.
Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the coalition has said that legalizing recreation marijuana will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. This claim is not unrealistic either, as states that have legalized have seen huge profits from the new industry.
“Oftentimes it’s just adults using a plant that is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco,” he said. “You’re going to see not only the tax benefits of that but jobs, less crime and letting law enforcement go after things that are more important.”
Gallup’s most recent poll on the issue saw a majority of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization. In addition to this, a majority of Republicans are also in support of legalization. It remains to be seen whether the drive for marijuana legalization in Michigan will spark other states to alter their cannabis laws.