Michigan is one step closer to legalizing cannabis


Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

Michigan is officially one step closer to legalizing social use cannabis. A proposal to legalize cannabis that received over 360,000 signatures has now gone unchallenged by opposition groups, which had until recently to do so. The Secretary of State’s election office will be reviewing a 500-signature sample to validate the received signatures.

The proposal was created by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, and it was turned in in November. Cannabis advocates are excited things are moving along, and it’s looking like Michigan residents may get to vote on legalization in November.

“The campaign is moving along very well so far,” Josh Hovey, the communications director for the Committee to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, told Cannabis News Box. “Given that recent polls show that nearly 60 percent of voters support legalization, we are in a strong position to win. However, nothing is guaranteed. We know there will be a well-funded and organized opposition effort that will use misinformation and ‘Reefer Madness’ scare tactics to try and convince a ‘no’ vote.”

Hovey says the group is currently focused on fundraising efforts, and they’re preparing to battle whatever misinformation opponents will likely put out. This has been a problem across the nation. Hovey believes if people actually do their research and study cannabis and the War on Drugs, they’ll know it’s time for prohibition to end.

“Research shows that marijuana is less harmful and less addictive than either alcohol or tobacco, yet inexplicably it remains illegal,” Hovey said. “Just like with alcohol, the prohibition of marijuana has been a massive failure. Prohibition has done nothing to curb consumption and continuing to reinforce this failed policy wastes millions of dollars in law enforcement resources that could otherwise go toward real issues — like the opioid epidemic or violent crime.”

Instead of wasting money enforcing cannabis laws, the Committee to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol believes Michigan should be making money from cannabis taxes. That money would go toward funding public schools, roads and local governments. Like in many other states, the proposal would allow communities that don’t want cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction to ban them. It would also ban people from consuming cannabis in public.

Though nothing is certain yet, it seems like Michigan is on the path to legalize. Advocates know they just need to put out a strong message and educate the people. There’s a fight ahead for them, but they’ve been scoring some wins so far.