Activists have submitted thousands of petition signatures to get a vote on legalizing recreational marijuana to the ballot for 2018.
Legalized recreational marijuana could be coming to Michigan. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alchohol (RMLA) has submitted approximately 360,000 signatures to the state’s Board of Canvassers today. This is well over the required 252,523 signatures required to get the issue on the ballots for residents to vote on. Often, the extra signatures are needed to ensure a proposal makes it to the ballot as authorities could deem some invalid.
If passed, adults 21 and over will be able to carry 2.5 ounces of marijuana in public and 10 ounces at home. Public usage would still remain illegal.
According to the Metro Times, the RMLA bill would:
- Tax marijuana at retail levels with a 10 percent excise tax and 6 percent sales tax
• Legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp (used to make textiles, biodegradable plastics, food, construction materials, and even fuel)
• License marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana
• Protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail marijuana
Another selling point on the bill from RMLA relates to criminal justice reform. In 2015, 23,000 individuals were arrested for marijuana-related charges. The vast majority of these arrests were for possession only.
“Just like with alcohol, marijuana prohibition has been a huge failure,” RMLA spokesman Josh Hovey said in a statement. “Instead of wasting law enforcement resources on a substance that is proven to be less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco, our initiative creates a tightly regulated system that will generate significant revenue for the state that will help fund our roads, public schools, and local governments – three of Michigan’s most under-funded needs.”
The Board of Canvassers is expected to take several weeks to review the submitted signatures.