A closer look at Michigan's Proposal 18-1, initiative to legalize recreational marijuana

Here's what could happen if proposal is approved by Michigan voters

Medical marijuana in jars (WDIV)

Michigan voters will be asked if they want to legalize recreational marijuana when they head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. 

Here is a closer look at the language that will appear on the ballot, followed by what happens next. Keep in mind you may see Proposal 18-1 referred to as "proposal 1" or "prop 1." 

Proposal 18-1: Legalizing recreational marijuana

Official ballot language:

A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers.

This proposal would:

  • Allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles, and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.
  • Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers.
  • Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses and allow municipalities to ban or restrict them.
  • Permit retail sales of marijuana and edibles subject to a 10 percent tax, dedicated to implementation costs, clinical trials, schools, roads, and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.
  • Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.

If the proposal is approved, then the Michigan legislature has to create the law. If Michigan law is changed accordingly, then you may have these questions: 

How would you buy marijuana?

You would be allowed to purchase the allowed amount of marijuana from a licensed business. Businesses would be licensed by the state. The initiative allows cities to decide if they want to allow these businesses in their municipality. The timeframe for when businesses could obtain such a license is unclear. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs probably won't be able to issue such licenses until 2019. 

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Will the strength of the marijuana be regulated?

Under the proposed law, recreational marijuana sold by a licensed business would be tested by the state to regulate a maximum THC level. There will also be "a requirement that the amount of marihuana or marihuana concentrate contained within a marihuana-infused product be specified on the product label."

Can you grow your own marijuana?

Yes, you will be allowed to grow no more than 12 plants at your home. If you have a license you will be allowed to legally grow more.

Here are the license types that would be offered: 

  • Marijuana retailer
  • Marijuana safety compliance facility
  • Marijuana secure transporter
  • Marijuana processor
  • Marijuana microbusiness
  • Class A marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100 marijuana plants
  • Class B marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500 marijuana plants
  • Class C marijuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000 marijuana plants

How would it be taxed?

It would be taxed at 10 percent, plus the existing 6 percent sales tax. Analysts suggest that if recreational marijuana is allowed sales in Michigan could exceed nearly $1 billion a year.

Where would that tax money go?

Revenue splits are supposed to be as follows: 

  • 35 percent to education
  • 35 percent to roads
  • 30 percent to cities and counties with marijuana businesses

View the full initiative language here

READ: How Michigan's potential marijuana legalization compares to other states

Timeframe: Colorado law, as an example

Colorado voters approved recreational marijuana legalization in their state in 2012, but it didn't officially become legal to sell it until January 2014. 

Colorado voters passed their initiative on Nov. 6, 2012 and had to wait a month until a new state amendment went into effect on Dec. 6, 2012, making marijuana officially legal in Colorado. 

However, as stated, businesses were not legally allowed to sell marijuana until Jan. 1, 2014. 

That's the kind of timeframe we could be looking at in Michigan. But it all depends on the legislature. 

In Colorado, the state legislature had to create laws for marijuana use, driving and traveling, specific youth laws, laws for home growing, and more. As would be the case in Michigan, Colorado allows municipalities to pass their own stricter marijuana laws. 

To read more about marijuana laws in Colorado, go here

MORE: ClickOnDetroit's guide to the 2018 Michigan General Election


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