Michigan recreational marijuana legalization proposal approved for ballot

Board of State Canvassers approves petition signatures

DETROIT - Michigan's Board of State Canvassers has certified signatures gathered to put recreational marijuana on the November ballot. 

The elections bureau said earlier this month there are enough. A stamp of approval was needed from the Board of State Canvassers. The board gave its approval during a meeting Thursday morning in Lansing. The proposal now could be on the ballot unless the legislature votes on it or makes a competing ballot proposal. 

A group supporting legalization in Michigan turned in more than 365,000 signatures from registered voters. They only needed more than 250,000 signatures. 

Analysts suggest that if recreational marijuana is allowed sales in Michigan could exceed nearly $1 billion a year. The proposal calls for legalizing possession and sale of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational use. It would be taxed at 10 percent, plus the existing 6 percent sales tax. 

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

The proposal also allows cities to decide whether they will allow the marijuana businesses. 

The canvassers also were taking up a proposal that would repeal a law requiring higher "prevailing" wages on state-financed construction projects.

UPDATE: Michigan elections board deadlocks on 'prevailing' wage measure for 2018 ballot

Legalizing weed before it's on Michigan ballot?

Meanwhile, 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. Experts say marijuana on the ballot would 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.

READ MORE: Michigan lawmakers consider legalizing recreational marijuana before November ballot

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