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Michigan Marijuana Legalization? A Guide To Multiple Petition Drives And How They Differ

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LANSING, MI — Multiple groups seeking to legalize marijuana in Michigan are hoping to put ballot proposals before voters in 2016, which means residents could be asked to sign multiple petitions this summer.

Two groups have already won approval from the Board of State Canvassers to begin circulating petitions for initiated legislation as they each attempt to collect the required 252,523 signatures. A third group is considering a possible petition drive of its own.

The following guide, which highlights key aspects of the various proposals, is designed to help residents understand what it is they're being asked to sign. It will be updated periodically and expanded if additional groups begin circulating petitions.

Registered voters can decide -- or decline -- to sign multiple marijuana legalization petitions. If more than one proposal for a citizen initiated law makes the ballot in 2016 and both are approved by a majority of voters, the one that receives the most votes would be enacted into law.

Here's a look at the two groups expected to begin collecting signatures this month, as listed in alphabetical order.


Status: Petition approved as to form by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. Organizers expect to begin collecting signatures in June.

Legalization: Marijuana and marijuana-infused products would be declared lawful for anyone over the age of 21 to purchase, possess, transport and use.

Taxes and revenue: The proposed law would not directly establish any taxes on retail marijuana sales. Instead, it would allow the state Legislature to establish a tax. The proposal does not recommend any specific rate but does specify that any revenue shall be used "for the purposes of administration of this act, education, public safety and public health."

Commercial growing and retail sales: The law would allow the Legislature to require the licensing of marijuana facilities. Doing so would establish a five-member Michigan Cannabis Control Board, which would also be tasked with creating health and safety regulations, testing and packaging rules, advertising restrictions and security requirements. Members would be appointed by the governor, House speaker and Senate majority leader. They would earn $30,000 a year each. If the Legislature had not required licensing or established the board before then, marijuana facilities could begin operating by 2018.

Michigan Cannabis CoalitionHear Matt Marsden of the Michigan Cannabis Coalition describe the marijuana legalization petition drive and potential ballot proposal.

Home growing: Adults 21 years and older would be allowed to grow no more than two flowering plants in any one home. However, a local municipality could establish an ordinance to prohibit home growing or an ordinance permitting residents to grow an extra two plants (up to four total) in a single home.

Medical marijuana: The proposed law would not amend, alter or supersede Michigan's medical marijuana law.

Local authority: As mentioned above, local municipalities could establish ordinances regarding home growing, but the state Legislature and appointed Michigan Cannabis Control Board would be responsible for establishing uniformed licensing rules and regulations for commercial growing and retail facilities.

Driving: Driving under the influence of marijuana is currently illegal, and the act specifies that it would not permit the operation, navigation or actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.

Other regulations: The proposed law does not permit the use of marijuana or infused products in any public place, on a school bus, on school grounds, at a child care facility, in any correctional facility or on any form of public transportation. Marijuana facilities could not be located within 1,250 feet of a school or employ convicted felons.

Who's involved: Matt Marsden, who has previously worked as a staffer for Republican lawmakers and heads up a political data and consulting firm in Pontiac, is the public face of the committee. He has not specified who else is involved in the effort.

Full language: Read the proposed law.


Status: Petition approved as to form by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. Organizers expect to begin collecting signatures in late June.

Legalization: Anyone over the age of 21 would be allowed to purchase, possess or use marijuana without fear of prosecution at the state or local level. The law would also apply to marijuana products, such as edibles. A person could transfer up to 2.5 ounces and consume on private property "or on public property as otherwise allowed by law." The proposal also includes language to legalize hemp farming.

Taxes and revenue: Retail marijuana sales would be subject to a 10 percent excise tax in addition to the existing state sales tax. Revenue would be divided between the department of transportation (40%), the School Aid Fund (40%) and the local government in which the retail store is located (20%). The state Legislature could reduce the tax but not increase it.

Commercial growing and retail sales: Marijuana manufacturing, testing and retail sales establishments would be licensed by local governments. Initial application fees could not exceed $5,000 and renewal fees could not exceed $500. Local governments would be responsible for establishing licensing rules, security requirements, efforts to prevent sales to minors, health standards and advertising rules. 

Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform CommitteeHear Jeffrey Hank of the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee discuss the marijuana legalization petition drive and potential ballot proposal. 

Home growing: Residents 21 years or older could grow up to 12 marijuana plants each, "in a manner so as to reasonably prevent unauthorized access to or harvesting of the plants." Home grown marijuana could not be made available for sale.

Medical marijuana: The proposal would not affect Michigan's medical marijuana law. Medical marijuana would not be subject to the proposed excise tax.

Local authority: In addition to setting up their own licensing and rule structure for marijuana establishments, local municipalities could establish an ordinance to prohibit them altogether. However, if a municipality does not allow marijuana establishments by June of 2017, local voters would have the option to decide the issue in a general election.

Driving: Driving under the influence of marijuana is currently illegal, and the proposal makes clear it would not authorize that behavior. However, it specifies that state and local governments cannot adopt "per se" standards -- which could detect trace or specific levels of marijuana in a person's system, sometimes long after use -- to determine whether someone is under the influence. 

Other regulations: Marijuana sold to consumers would have to be in child-resistant packaging with proper labeling, including warnings against driving while using the product. The packaging would have to specify whether the product was tested, and ingestible products would have to indicate the amount of active drug per serving and an FDA nutrition fact panel.

Who's involved: Jeffrey Hank, a Lansing-area attorney who ran a successful decriminalization campaign in East Lansing, chairs the board of directors of the ballot committee. Other members include prominent marijuana activists and attorneys from around the state, including Chuck Ream, Matthew Abel, and Steven Sharpe.

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Which group  actually removes marijuana from the criminal code?




MCC at least stated they are not and will not interfere with the MMMAct.

but the mcc cannot control the legislature or their cannabis board once this is over. Mmma will be gone in a few years, sad but true.
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