Some Michigan voters started a ballot initiative on Thursday that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. If approved by the state board of canvassers, they would need to get 252,000 signatures to get it on the ballot for the November 2016 election. It would also require the consent of the state legislature before it could become law.
Michigan would join four other trailblazing states and Washington D.C. if the initiative clears all of the hurdles in ridding themselves of cannabis prohibition. Colorado and Washington led the charge a few years ago, and it has been an almost unprecedented success for both. Alaska joined those two earlier this year, and Oregon will do the same in July. Thirteen other states have ballot initiatives pending on the topic, all but one of which are scheduled for the 2016 election. Ohio is the only state that currently is moving forward for the 2015 election cycle. Well, unless you count the accidental legalization in Indiana by their shortsighted religious zealotry.
“We don’t want people going to Toledo spending money when we can collect (tax) revenue from it,” Matt Marsden, spokesperson for the ballot committee, said. ”We might as well take the reins, set it up responsibly and take the revenue from it.” He also mentioned that legalization was a foregone conclusion, and that creating new jobs from a cash crop is a good decision.
Other states have not been quite as forward thinking with the legalization and end of prohibition. Oklahoma and Nebraska have been attempting to sue Colorado, rather than attempting to compete with the state as Michigan is attempting to do with Ohio.
It’s become an issue that has transcended party lines, with both red states and blue states moving forward on legalization. Democrats favor legalization almost across the board, and states’ rights conservatives who favor less federal government control are in favor along those lines. The only real opposition to legalization are from large government conservatives, a relatively small group to begin with.
Not only that, but recent polls show massive support for legalization in key swing states, including Pennsylvania, Florida, and neighboring Ohio. Strong super majorities favor legalization for medicinal purposes, and a solid majority support recreational legalization as well in those three states.
The Michigan bill has some restrictions, however, just as the laws in the other states have. Age restrictions, licensing limitations, and zoning requirements would have to be followed. Additionally, there would be limits on how much an individual could possess at a time, also a restriction the other states have implemented.
Even if this initiative doesn’t go through, there are a number of others moving forward. Medical marijuana is already legal in the state as well, and would be unaffected by the new law.