Michigan: the next state to legalise recreational marijuana?

Last Friday marijuana legalisation proponents launched a 2018 ballot drive to make Michigan the 9th state of US to legalise cannabis for recreational use.

Under the measure, adults 21 and over could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants in their residence. Public consumption and driving under the influence of the drug would be illegal. The initiative would tax retail cannabis sales at 10% and 70% of the resulting revenue would fund K-12 schools and construction projects, and the rest would be divided between cities and counties.

There would be five categories of licensed marijuana businesses (retailers, cultivators, processors, testing facilities and transporters). However, each city and county would have the option of banning these shops.

A special license would be available for small businesses to grow up to 150 plants and to process, package and sell the marijuana directly to customers. If the measure takes effect, industrial hemp production would also be legalised.

According to the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, legalising and taxing marijuana sales could raise more than $200 million a year for state and local governments.

Among the advocates, we found Troy-based tobacco retailer Smokers Outlet Management, Lansing entrepreneur Sam Usman Jr., Andrew Driver Jr. of Gaylord and the Marijuana Policy Project. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol hopes to raise $8 million for the campaign.

“Because Michigan was the state that led this nation out of alcohol prohibition, we think Michigan can be one of the states that leads this country out of cannabis prohibition”, said Jeff Irwin, coalition director of Ann Arbor, a former state legislator.

Recreational marijuana has been legalised in eight states, including California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada since the November elections. Voters from Michigan said yes to the laws that regulate medical marijuana in 2008 and according to the backers of the proposed law, this measure is the perfect compliment.

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