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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Monday, August 10, 2015

Competing Marijuana Initiatives Seeking 2016 Ballot

Michigan has two groups actively seeking the requisite 250,000 voter signatures for placement of marijuana legalization proposals on the state-wide ballot in November 2016.

The first initiative, sponsored by the cumbersome Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee  favors the "home grow" option of marijuana production and would allow a home grower to possess all of the yield from a grow cycle. The non-commercial transfer of up to two and 1/2 ounces would be permissible and a system of regulated marijuana commerce would be created.

Competing with this is the proposal of the Michigan Cannabis Coalition which does not appear to have a personal possession limit. This proposal does, however, grant municipalities the option of passing local ordinances regulating home grown marijuana. Municipalities can ban home grown pot, or it can increase the default of two ounces of personal possession.

Both proposals envision a well-taxed system of commercial marijuana production. Both proposals have strong immunity from prosecution provisions of the type featured in our medical marijuana act.

It remains to be seen whether both proposals make it onto the ballot. According to an April poll, only 51% of Michiganders favors legalization; way too close to call. Generally, Democrats and younger voters favor legalization, while Republicans and older voters oppose legalization.

At least 7 other states likely will have marijuana legalization on their ballots next fall, including Ohio. Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the Obama Administration have been proactive in removing marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Thomas Lavigne said...

The best one, the MCCLRC i.e. www.MiLegalize.com has raised over $200,000 from hundreds of donors, whereas MCC's money is reported from one donor and donor's company. The MiLegalize (MCCLRC) proposal also grants municipalities the option of passing local ordinances zoning and regulating dispensaries, or disallowing them too. This can then be voted on in a ballot initiaitve, even in townships, which normally cannot.

Importantly, violations are no longer a crime.

We began circulating the petitions in June, and plan to file them by December 21 this year (signatures are valid only for 180 days from the date of signing).

Not every state has the initiative process, so citizens of Michigan have some opportunities which are not present in all other states.

This initiative will allow any city, township, village or federally recognized tribe to license (or ban, subject to referendum) any number and size facilities for cultivation, processing, or retail sale. Michigan residency is not a requirement for investment or ownership of any facilities.

There would be a 10% tax in addition to the existing 6% sales tax applied at the point of retail sale. The excise tax would be distributed 40% to education, 40% to transportation, and 20% to the local licensing jurisdiction.

In addition to legalizing adult use of cannabis, the MILegalize proposal provides additional protections for medical marijuana patients, and it legalizes production of industrial hemp.

The population of Michigan is almost double that of Colorado. This is a huge opportunity for the emerging cannabis business sector to help bring a new market online in the very near future.

MILegalize already has raised over $200,000, but will need four times that amount to make the ballot.

Donations can be made online at www.milegalize.com, or checks may be made payable to MILegalize, and sent to PO Box 1358, East Lansing, MI 48826.

August 11, 2015 at 4:55 PM 
Blogger Timothy P. Flynn said...

Tom, thanks for your input on this; very interesting to see how this plays out in the year leading up to the vote.

August 13, 2015 at 9:34 AM 

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