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Michigan cannabis legalization bill approved for November’s ballot


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Voters in Michigan will be able to decide if they want to allow legal sales of social cannabis in their state come November.

Organizers of a ballot drive to legalize cannabis for social use have officially collected enough signatures for a ballot measure, with approval from Michigan’s election’s board.

The board’s ruling means the Republican-led Legislature could either enact the bill and legalize cannabis now, or let the bill go to a statewide vote this fall. Specifically, the bill would allow those aged 21 and older to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow up to 12 plants at their homes. Individuals are only permitted to buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis at once but may keep up to 10 ounces at home. A 10 percent tax on cannabis would be placed on top of a 6 percent state sales tax.

Social cannabis growers would be split into three classes, allowing 100, 500, and 2000 plants.

Analysts estimate social cannabis sales in Michigan could exceed $1 billion annually. Cannabis taxes are expected to reach $100 million annually, with the following split: 35 percent going to K-12 education; 35 percent going to roads; 15 percent going to communities that allow cannabis businesses in their borders; 15 percent going to counties where cannabis businesses are located.

“The people of Michigan deserve this. They earned it,” Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML, told the Detroit Free Press. “We’ve faced many trials and tribulations. We’ve had so many stop and go signs from the federal government. That’s why states have to take the reins on the issue and really be the crucibles of democracy that they’ve always been intended to be.”

A legalization bill previously had enough signatures to get on the ballot during the last general election, but it failed to get enough signatures within the state-mandated 180-day window and was thrown out. This time around, they got the signatures in time.

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