What Will Happen if Michigan Voters Say Yes to Recreational Marijuana
Now is the time to prepare for the potential of Michigan going green.
By: Emily Ridener
Marijuana. Weed. Pot. Devil’s lettuce. Kush. Ganja. Mary Jane.
For the sake of being prepared, now would be a good time to start familiarizing yourself with the various aliases of marijuana should it become legal. On Nov. 6, Michigan voters get to decide if marijuana will legally remain for medicinal use or be treated the same as alcohol.
The real question is what will happen if Proposal 1 passes?
First, the answer is no: you don’t get to freely blaze it on Nov. 7. Colorado voters said yes to recreational marijuana in 2012 but it took over a year for the gritty details, rules, taxation, etc. to be fine-tuned before citizens were able to walk through dispensaries on Jan. 1, 2014 to legally purchase.
Second, like with purchasing alcohol, you would have to wait until you are 21 to purchase and even then you are limited to 2.5 ounces.
Third, legalization of recreational use does not mean you can smoke freely like you would a tobacco cigarette. Use will follow similar laws as alcohol, with a potential for DUI if caught driving while high. The CBC broke the news of Winnipeg’s first cannabis ticket which was issued at a traffic stop…an hour after marijuana was legally available for purchase.
As of right now, WDIV reports the breakdown of the 10 percent tax imposed on marijuana sales would be split three ways; 35 percent to education, 35 percent to roads and 30 percent to cities and counties with marijuana businesses. This year alone in Colorado, the state’s Department of Revenue reported the total from taxes, licenses and fees have equaled over $200 million. In Michigan, analysts are suggesting sales could exceed $1 billion a year.
Even if you’re staunchly opposed to the proposed legalization, you must admit there are some serious potential benefits to the tax revenue. Think of the roads for the sake of all the commuters and people tired of seeing massive construction projects because all the highways are crumbling at once.
One problem with enforcing recreational laws, which would be similar to that of alcohol, is how to tell if a person is driving while high. With alcohol, a breathalyzer test can give police a numeric indication of someone’s sobriety in no time at all. As of now, the only reliable test for testing THC levels is a blood test which would involve officers having to take individuals to the hospital and could become costly.
Getting down to numbers, a 2018 Gallup poll showed 64 percent of people say marijuana should be legal. A study in 2014 by the Pew Research Center, expressed the public’s view on what drug is more dangerous: alcohol or marijuana. Of those surveyed, 69 percent said that alcohol was the most dangerous drug whereas only 15 percent believed marijuana was. These figures provide an insight into the changing opinion on the plant commonly associated with the 1960s and the Counterculture.
Bottom line: the choice is yours. On Nov. 6, go to your precinct and choose yes or no on Proposal 1.
You can find Emily Ridener on Twitter: @EmilyRidener