State of Michigan approves marijuana legalization initiative for November ballot

The State of Michigan has approved the marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot. That means Michiganders might be able to decide in November whether to regulate marijuana like alcohol, for adults 21 and older. 

If we vote in favor, Michigan would be the first Midwest state with an adult-use marijuana law. Right now, nine other states and Washington, DC have legalized recreational marijuana.

The Board of State Canvassers' ruling Thursday, though, means the measure will first go to the Republican-led Legislature. Lawmakers could enact it themselves, or let it proceed to be voted on in November.

The proposal would let people 21 and older possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants at home. A 10 percent tax on marijuana would be assessed on top of the 6 percent state sales tax.

In addition, the initiative would: 

  • License marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport and sell marijuana; 
  • Legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp (used to make textiles, biodegradable plastics, food, construction materials and even fuel);
  • Protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail marijuana; 
  • Impose a 10 percent excise tax on marijuana sold at the retail level on top of the state's 6 percent sales tax; 
  • Give local governments the option of whether they want to allow marijuana businesses in their community. 

Voter-initiated laws are required to collect 252,523 valid signatures to have an issue placed on the ballot. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than 365,000 signatures to the state Elections Bureau in November last year. Elections Bureau staff estimate that more than 277,000 signatures were valid.