Group upset recreational pot wouldn't be taxed enough if approved in Michigan

- Even before it has hit the ballot, recreational marijuana is firing up the debate over how the legislation is worded.

The language of it is filled with smoke and mirrors according to the group Healthy and Productive Michigan. 

Former state senator Randy Richardville is a spokesperson for the group. His biggest gripe against the ballot language is the 10 percent excise tax that's being slapped onto the use of recreational marijuana.  It is "not enough" he says.  Law enforcement needs more, he claims.

"It's the lowest tax of any proposal in the country," Richardville said. "It's not enough money generated for law-enforcement to be able to fund the enforcement of these laws. The rules just aren't in place so this is a real problem."

It is a problem he says Colorado is already facing.  They legalized recreational marijuana and he says auto insurance rates have skyrocketed. 
 
Richardville says the amount that the ballot language allows, is too much - 2.5 ounces. And then there's kids, he said they're not safe guarded under the current language.  

"There's nothing in this ballot proposal at all that illuminates things like Gummy Bears, ice cream, lollipops," he said. "These are things that in Colorado ... a second-grader brought in Gummy Bears that were somewhere between three and 20 times the level of THC in a typical joint." 

Jerry Millen own The Green House, a medical marijuana facility in Walled Lake waiting on a license to open. He says recreational marijuana should also be legalized.  

I understand the police are going to lose revenue because they're not going to be able to arrest somebody for having a gram of marijuana in the cup holder, “Millen said. "That's all going to change but do we really want to waste our resources on policing a plant when there's much more serious crimes?"

Millen says the recreational marijuana will be tested and regulated.  Legalizing it will pump cash back into the local economy.  

"It all goes back to being an adult in a country that's supposed to be free," Millen said. "If you're 21 years old and you can make choices on other vices and some decisions you want to make, if you want to smoke marijuana - it's a plant, it's not an opiate."

Still, though Richardville is weary about the language.  

"We would be the only ones in the Midwest and people would flock to Michigan so that they can smoke dope," Richardville said. "That's not the kind of state we want."

Richardville said he is supportive of medical marijuana, but does not like the recreational aspect.
 

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