Michigan voters likely to see marijuana on 2016 ballot

At Mackinac lawmakers say the marijuana question will likely be on a future ballot.
A measure to legalize marijuana is likely to appear on next year's ballot -and not everyone is happy about it.

Petitions to place the issue of legalizing marijuana appears to be headed to the voters.  The first step was officially filed Friday. 

It is a voter initiative, a voter supported law, that supporters believe has many benefits. 

It was one of the topics at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

"It's been decriminalized in most municipalities," said attorney John Pirich. "And this state and virtually all the other states. It is a tremendous amount of revenue and policing that could come with regulation."

And the proposal would mandate State control of recreational pot.

"It would regulate the terms and conditions for any growing or use of marijuana in the state of Michigan," Pirich said.

The Board of Canvassers has to approve the ballot language and they have to collect about 250,000 signatures before voters have a chance to weigh in. But who is in favor of it?

"No," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "I just don't support it."

 "We don't need another drug issue in my community," said Detroit councilman Scot Benson.

"What's going to happen when they have to get a job," asked Detroit councilwoman Brenda Jones.

And how about the heavy hitters?

Gov. Rick Snyder good-naturedly did not want to discuss it.

"Again, I am focusing on skilled trades, putting lots of good Detroiters to work in career tech ed," Snyder said. "Nice try."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan also is a no.

"I'm a former prosecutor, I'm against it," he said.

There's got to be someone who is totally in favor of legalizing marijuana.

"They might as well, man," said Rep. Harvey Santanta (D-Detroit). "Bottom line is, too many guys are being hemmed up on weed charges being thrown in jail. That's costing Michigan tax payers $35,000 a year."

The proposal to legalize marijuana could be in the ballot as early as November 2016.

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