Flashpoint: Recreational marijuana, fall of Proposal 1

DETROIT – This week's episode of Flashpoint starts with an update on Detroit roads in wake of the one-sided vote against Proposal 1. Governor Rick Snyder's plan to fix the roads was shot down by voters, sending the state back to square one.

The Flashpoint panel started with a discussion about the potential of legalizing marijuana to raise money for the state.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero, who was previously against legalizing recreational marijuana, says he has changed his stance.

"This is an industry that is underground, this is an industry that is happening," Bernero said. "I'm in my 10th year as mayor of Lansing, so I've been in the front lines in the community, trying to keep our streets safe. And a lot of the crime that's related to marijuana is about the distribution, it's an old gang war like you used to have with the prohibition of alcohol."

He said police action is rarely needed to break up fights because of the use of marijuana.

Matt Marsden of Michigan Cannabis Coalition says that this change is coming sooner or later, so Michigan should take the reins and properly regulate it. Since people don't want to raise taxes, Marsden says, this option is an alternative.

April Demers of the Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition talked about the increase of marijuana use among young people and the decreased perception of harm. She said she is concerned about the perception that marijuana is no longer dangerous to use.

You can watch the entire first conversation in the video posted above.

In the second segment, Devin asked Demers about proof that the use of marijuana leads into other problems.

Demers said Colorado is an example that legalizing marijuana can increase crime, traffic crashes and deaths.

Bernero said that it's important to put regulations on use.

The panel argued on the availability of marijuana in its current state after it was legalized for medical use only, comparing it to underage teens trying to get their hands on alcohol.

Demers said that 17 percent of teens who use marijuana become addicted and that use among youth will definitely increase if it is legalized recreationally.

Click on the video below to watch the second half of the marijuana conversation.


In the third segment, democratic strategist Howard Edelson and republican strategist Paul Welday joined Devin to talk about the epic failure of Proposal 1.

Edelson said that early polling showed that 56 percent of people would have voted yes, but that the campaign was introduced in the wrong way. He said that Snyder initially left out some of the factors in the proposal when introducing it to the public, allowing the opposition to frame it as a bad proposal.

Welday said the fact that the opposition was so strong shows that there were way too many problems with the proposal itself. He said the vote is the people's way of showing they don't trust Lansing.

The conversation also touched on the topic of education in the proposal.

Edelson thinks that the proposal was defined as just about the roads, and the governor should have made it clear that education was a part of this plan. People thought this was a way to try to sneak the details past the voters.

The panel also took a look at Snyder's announcement that he will not make a presidential run, though Welday says there was definitely interest in doing so.

You can watch the conversation about the fall of Prop. 1 in the video below.