Michigan voters will decide in November whether to allow recreational marijuana, after officials certified Thursday that there were enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot.
The proposal, which the bipartisan state elections board allowed to proceed on a 4-0 vote, would make Michigan the 10th state and the first in the Midwest to legalize the drug for recreational purposes. It would let people 21 and older possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants at home. A 10 percent tax on marijuana would be assessed on top of the 6 percent state sales tax.
While lawmakers could enact the citizen-initiated bill on their own, Republican House Speaker Tom Leonard said he did not expect that to happen.
“There is not much support in the caucus. I personally do not support it. So I believe this is something that ultimately the voters are going to have to decide,” he said.
Some Republicans fear the legalization effort could drive up Democratic turnout for the general election.
Organizers who secured 277,000 valid signatures out of 362,000 that were submitted cheered the advance of their proposal.
“This November, Michigan voters will finally get the chance to eliminate Michigan’s outdated marijuana laws,” said John Truscott, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Just like with alcohol, it is clear that prohibition doesn’t work and that regulation and taxation is a far better solution.”
The president of a ballot committee opposing legalization, Healthy and Productive Michigan, unsuccessfully urged the board to reject the pot initiative. Scott Greenlee said it is “fundamentally flawed” because federal law prohibits the cultivation, distribution and possession of marijuana and is “supreme.”
Though the House leader signaled the recreational pot bill is headed to a statewide vote, lawmakers do have another option that