This year will be the most drug-infused election season in Michigan history. Not only is the question of legalizing marijuana probably going to be on the ballot, the opioid crisis is going to be front and center as an issue. Every candidate for statewide office in Michigan is talking about the opioid crisis.
Gubernatorial candidates Gretchen Whitmer, Brian Calley, Shri Thanedar, Bill Schuette, and Abdul El-Sayed — as well as attorney general candidates Dana Nessel, Tom Leonard, Pat Miles, and Tonya Schuitmaker — have all, appropriately so, made the opioid crisis one of their big issues.
And it seems probable that at some point in the campaign, marijuana will actually be cast as a cure for opioid addiction. That is absolutely going to boggle some minds. But last fall’s headline on Forbes magazine, “Dr. Oz says medical marijuana could help solve opioid addiction,” is not an unusual sentiment these days.
Josh Hovey, spokesman for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), won’t go that far, but he does have some thoughts on the subject of marijuana vs. opioids.
“You’ll see a lot of policy makers admit that the war on drugs has failed,” says Hovey. “Given the opioid crisis, it makes sense to stop wasting resources on marijuana when you have an opioid epidemic.”
Even though all the candidates agree that something has to be done about opioids, the shrillest alarm bells will come from the marijuana prohibitionists. This may well be their last stand in Michigan. The latest polling shows that 57 percent of Michigan voters support legalizing recreational marijuana. Candidates notice this sort of thing.
“All of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates have come out in favor of legalization,” says Hovey. “Most Republicans have played the issue close to the vest. There is a pretty strong libertarian wing