Marijuana Goes to Legislature, Maybe Ballot

Apr 27, 2018

Credit Tom Arthur/Wikicommons

(MPRN-Lansing)  It appears the question of legalizing marijuana in Michigan is headed to the November ballot. A state elections board has certified the campaign has enough petition signatures to take the next step. 

That next step is to put the question to the Legislature, which has 40 days to approve it or it goes on the ballot. But the state House leader says Republicans don’t like the measure, and a vote in the Legislature isn’t likely.

“At this point, I do not anticipate it happening,”

says House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt).

“There is not much support it in the caucus. I do not personally support it, so I think this something that ultimately voters are going to have to decide.”

That’s fine, says Jeff Hank of the group MI Legalize.

“We look forward to winning in November,” says Hank. “At the same time, it would be great if the Legislature adopted it as is, and started this already. Cannabis prohibition should be over today. Not tomorrow. Today.”

Polls show wide support for legalizing marijuana in Michigan. A group opposing the measure says it may go to court to block the proposal.

“There’s no two ways about. Marijuana is not legal due to the Controlled Substances Act -- federal government,”

says Scott Greenlee with Healthy and Productive Michigan.

“Any state doesn’t have the right to overturn that, so it’s fundamentally flawed in and of itself.”

That has not kept eight states and Washington DC from allowing recreational use of marijuana. Polls show wide support among Michigan voters for legalizing marijuana.

Republican leaders in the Legislature discussed adopting the initiative in an effort to forestall increased turnout among young voters, progressives and single-issue voters considered more likely to cast ballots for Democrats.