Michigan marijuana legalization one step closer to 2018 ballots

ISHPEMING — It’s been a hot button issue for years, but action in Michigan to legalize recreational marijuana has hit the ground running.

Back in 2008, the State of Michigan moved to legalize medicinal marijuana. Now a decade later, a slew of marijuana legalization advocacy groups have teamed up to put the recreational use of marijuana up on the 2018 election ballots.

“It’s becoming legal everywhere,” said Brenda Frazier, a member of the Michigan Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or Michigan NORML. “It’s going to become a multi-billion dollar company in the future and we want our communities to accept us.”

Michigan NORML, along with Michigan Legalize, the Marijuana Policy Project, the Michigan Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and the Michigan Cannabis Coalition all came together to create a petition for the hopeful-ballot measure. According to Frazier, the petition calls for full legalization of marijuana with regulations similar to that of alcohol, from seed to sale. A 21-year-old age criteria will be placed on the usage with licensing standards and other state-controlled aspects, like taxation. The taxes from the marijuana sales would be divvied up and given back local communities, roads and education.

“We are putting back into the community, we are not a detriment to the community – we’re actually going to be an asset to the community,” Frazier said. “We want to put back into our communities and that’s why we decided there should be a city and county tax to put back into our communities.”

The petitions hit a mile stone earlier this month, hitting 100,000 signatures in just seven weeks, way ahead of schedule. In order to get the measure on the ballot, over 250,000 signatures must be collected within 180 days. This isn’t the first time the groups have made an effort to get a ballot measure passed, having missed the 180 day mark just a few years ago.

“There’s an old law in the books if the petitions are more than 180 days old, they can reject them,” Frazier said. “From what I was told, that law has never been used, never been enforced and they enforced it on us. So here we are, two years later, doing it all again and we’re wiser and smarter. We will have out petitions in before the 180 days.”

Frazier said there is still plenty of time to add your name to the petition if you would like to see the legalization of marijuana in Michigan and you can click here.