Michigan lawmakers consider legalizing recreational marijuana before November ballot
Lawmakers concerned about impact of pot proposal on voter turnout
LANSING, Mich. – The politics of marijuana in Michigan might take another turn with a proposal asking residents if they support recreational use in the state expected on the November ballot.
There's talk in Lansing about legislatively approving recreational marijuana before it hits the ballot. Current polling shows if the vote was taken now, it would pass. It's also proven to be an issue that turns out voters.
In a very unique political year, the voters invested in the marijuana proposal could seriously impact other races.
Medical marijuana usage passed by a wide margin in 2008, as 63 percent of voters said yes. Now, recreational pot is heading to the ballot, and while the signatures are still being vetted, there aren't many lawmakers in Lansing who don't think it will win.
"If it were today, it would pass with 55 or 56 percent of the vote," Darnoi said.
In Darnoi's estimation, it would also likely up the voter turnout by 2 or 3 percent, which makes GOP sources in Lansing wonder if they ought to legislatively pass recreational marijuana now. They are concerned that putting it on the ballot would cause them to lose control of the State House.
In an unpredictable election year, that's a very real conversation for lawmakers.
"It is a legitimate concern, and if I were with the House Republicans, I would certainly take it seriously," Darnoi said. "But I don't think it's reached critical mass at this point."
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