Many states have already passed recreational marijuana laws and many more are considering passing legislation this year. For example, fifty-seven percent of Michigan voters are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana.
Michigan Voters in Favor of Legalization
TV station WDIV Local 4 and the Detroit News conducted a survey that asked Michigan voters whether they were supportive of a proposal to legalize marijuana in their state.
The poll found that 56.6% of voters supported the proposal, 36.7% opposed it, and 6.7% were undecided. With the voters who supported and opposed legalization, there were subgroups within the supporters and detractors with regards to their level of support.
- Almost thirty-eight percent strongly supported the proposal
- Twenty-nine percent strongly opposed the proposal
Party lines have some influence on how voters believe:
- Those who identify as strong Democrats support legalization overwhelmingly with 71.5% in favor of legalization
- Those who lean toward Democratic beliefs support legalization by 675
- A little over half of Independents (51.1%) support legalization
- Voters who lean toward GOP support legalization with 44.7%
- Even strong GOP voters still support legalization with 43.5%
Surprisingly, the greatest indicator on a voters’ position is not party affiliation, but rather on past behavior. Forty-seven percent of voters polled stated they have smoked marijuana while forty-nine percent said they have not.
- For voters who have tried marijuana in the past, 72.7% were in favor of legalization
- For voters who have never tried marijuana, only 40.6% were in favor of legalization
However, with fifty-seven percent of Michigan voters admitting that they were in favor of some measure to legalize recreational marijuana, it seems that Michigan is heading toward a vote sometime this year. The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act is likely to come to Michigan voters in November.
The Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act
The ballot measure proposes establishment of a statewide commercial marijuana production and sale licensing program. Adults 21 years old and older may possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use. They would also be able to grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home.
In addition to growing plants for personal use, there would be state-approved dispensaries. A 10 percent excise tax and 6 percent sales tax would accompany any sales from these dispensaries with the proceeds going to K-12 public schools, road construction, and local governments. Each local government would be given the option to allow marijuana businesses in their communities.
In addition to marijuana, hemp is part of the discussion for legalization. Hemp, a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis plant used for cultivation, is used to make textiles, food, clothing, and cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil. Legal in all 50 states, CBD oil is already used by many people.
In order to secure a spot on the upcoming general election ballot, 252,523 signatures were needed. Last November, 363,000 signatures were submitted by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. However, Michigan’s secretary of state has not yet approved the measure formally.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol gains support from both national and local advocacy organizations such as:
- The Marijuana Policy Project
- The National Cannabis Industry Association
- The ACLU of Michigan
- The Drug Policy Alliance
- Michigan NORML
- The National Patients’ Rights Association
- MI Legalize
If passed in November, Michigan would be the tenth U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana. As one of the 29 states to already have legalized medical marijuana, Michigan seems to be in step the with direction of U.S. voters.
Other States Considering Marijuana Legalization This Year
Michigan is not alone in putting forth marijuana legislation in 2018. Other states include:
- Vermont – In early 2018, Vermont lawmakers moved to approve recreational marijuana. Governor Phil Scott signed the law into effect January 22 of this year.
- New Jersey – Governor-elect Phil Murphy has pledge to sign legislation for adult use marijuana within his first 100 days in office. Although, this depends on a Democrat-led Legislature sending the new governor a bill to sign.
- Delaware – A 25-member panel called the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force is expected to release a report in February evaluating the impact of legal cannabis in the state.
- Rhode Island – As neighboring states Main and Massachusetts have implemented their own policies, Rhode Island lawmakers are hoping to have some type of legislation passed on recreational marijuana before July 2018.
- Connecticut – In 2017, the Hartford City Council approved legalizing recreational marijuana. Although this was a symbolic move, it was hoped to spur conversation in the statehouse of legalization.
- Ohio – Responsible Ohio, a group campaigning to legalize recreational marijuana, is currently collecting signatures for a ballot proposal for 2018.
- Oklahoma – Depending on Governor Mary Fallin’s decision, Oklahoma voters will get to decide whether to legalize medical marijuana in June or November.
- Kentucky – Secretary of State Alison Grimes is pushing legislation aimed at legalizing medical marijuana in her state. She created a task force to draft the bill that aids veterans and patients who suffer from severe illnesses.
- South Dakota – Currently, the secretary of state in South Dakota is reviewing collected signatures for a ballot imitative for limited medical marijuana legalization. Results are expected in March allowing voters to decide whether medical marijuana would be legalized in their state.
- Utah – Currently, activists in Utah are gathering signatures of a 2018 ballot initiative to approve medical marijuana. By April 2018, organizers need 113,000 in order to get the initiative on the ballot.
- Missouri – New Approach Missouri currently has 100,000 of the 170,000 signatures needed for a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana. There are two other initiatives backed by former state lawmakers that are also in the works.
With so many states changing their laws pertaining to recreational adult use and medical marijuana, the face of the United States is changing from red and blue to green. Democrats, Independents, Republicans, men, and women are in support of change in their state. Is your state included?