When it comes time for people to vote in Michigan’s midterm election, it’s possible they will be deciding on whether or not to legalize marijuana in the state.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has turned in petition signatures to put the question on the November ballot. It’s 365,000 signatures are well above the 252,000 needed to get on the ballot. But we’re still waiting to see whether the Michigan Bureau of Elections will certify enough of those signatures as valid.
Another question is whether the state Legislature will choose to preempt the ballot measure by passing a legalization measure itself or offer an alternative for voters to decide in November.
Matt Abel is a Detroit-area attorney and the executive director of the Michigan Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) working on the ballot campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan.
Abel joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson and speaks about the implications of legalizing marijuana in Michigan and what Republicans might do.
According to Abel, a ballot proposal for legalized cannabis would “legalize marijuana for adults twenty-one and over.”
The proposed bill would also allow people “to grow up to twelve plants with a maximum of twelve plants per household. It would allow any individual to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or its equivalent. And it would license adult use recreation facilities.”
Detroit Today producer Jake Neher also joins the show. Neher has covered marijuana issues in Michigan for a number of years including as a state Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
Neher points out that Michigan Republicans have traditionally opposed legalizing marijuana. Oddly enough, Republicans might find a way to pass a measure that would legalize cannabis and keep the proposal off the ballot.
“The idea is something like this could drive Democratic-leaning voters to the polls in November,” he says. “This would be a way to stave that off.”
Click on the audio player above for the full conversation.