Michigan Group Has 100K Signatures for Legalization

A group in Michigan seeking to put adult-use cannabis legalization on the 2018 ballot is now 100,000 signatures closer to making the cut and now only needs 152,523 valid signatures.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) said Tuesday that more than 100,000 signatures have been collected in support of putting the measure on next year’s ballot. If it gets there, state voters would have a chance to weigh in on the proposal to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults 21 and older.

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“The support we are seeing across the state has been fantastic. We are getting calls and emails every day from people who understand that marijuana prohibition is a massive failure and asking where they can sign and how they can help,” said coalition spokesperson Josh Hovey. “If we can keep up this momentum, we will have all signatures in four months rather than the six months required by state law.”

To qualify, the measure needs 252,523 valid signatures. If it makes it to the 2018 ballot and voters approve it, the initiative would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and consumption of small amounts of cannabis. It would also set up a system of legal distribution, licensing businesses to cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell cannabis products. Retail sales would be subject to a 10% excise tax and 6% sales tax, which would support K-12 public schools, roads, and local governments. The measure would also legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.

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In 2014, there were 35,762 drug arrests in Michigan. In 2015, there were 36,686. Approximately two-thirds of those arrests were for cannabis, and 85 percent of all cannabis arrests were for simple possession.

Michigan already has a medical marijuana law that was passed by voters in 2008. The resulting medical cannabis industry got off to a slow start, but it’s now is beginning to make profits—and even fund law enforcement.

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