Tax and Regulate

Michigan: Take action to support marijuana expungement

Click here to send a message to your state senator.

Earlier this month, the Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation to create a simple process for people to expunge marijuana convictions from their records. A package of bills that includes marijuana expungement is expected to receive a vote in the Senate during the first week of December.

Please send a message to your state senator urging them to vote in favor of allowing expungement for past marijuana convictions.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has expressed strong support for the idea and will likely sign the proposal into law if it reaches her desk. 

The legislation could impact an estimated 235,000 residents in Michigan who have been convicted of an offense that is now legal under the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law. These convictions unfairly hold people back and make it much more difficult to secure a job.

Last year, the voters of Michigan decided adults shouldn’t be treated as lawbreakers for using marijuana. But those who were harmed by the war on marijuana are still being punished. Please ask your state senator to support expungement and end this injustice.

Thank you.

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Michigan: The wait for legal marijuana stores will soon be over

Regulators have announced December 1 as the first day of adult-use sales

Big news! Starting next month, Michiganders will be able to legally purchase marijuana from regulated businesses. Yesterday, officials with the Marijuana Regulatory Agency announced that a “dozen or so” existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be authorized to open their doors and sell a portion of their supply to adults 21 and older on December 1.

It’s been just over a year since voters approved Proposal 1, which ended marijuana prohibition and paved the way for the establishment of a legal marijuana market. Since then, state regulators have worked expeditiously to establish a regulatory framework for legal sales. Compared to other legalization states, Michigan’s implementation timeline has been fairly quick.

In just a few weeks, adults in Michigan will be able to legally purchase marijuana from a licensed business. This is a huge milestone, because shifting marijuana sales into a regulated environment is a win for public health and public safety. And this was one of the primary goals when MPP decided to launch the legalization ballot initiative campaign back in 2017. This is what it looks like when we win.

Thanks to the hard work of the MPP staff and campaign team, volunteers, generous donors, and the wisdom of the voters, we’re seeing the beginning of a new chapter of marijuana policy in Michigan.

But marijuana remains federally illegal, and there are still only 11 legal states, so please consider contributing to MPP to help us bring reform to the rest of the country.

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Legalization + social justice in Michigan

If you live in Michigan, ask your state legislators to support automatic expungement for low-level marijuana offenses.

For decades, marijuana prohibition destroyed lives and harmed communities in Michigan. Fortunately, voters said enough is enough and passed Prop 1 last year. As the state now moves forward with implementing a legal marijuana market, we must take steps to undo past injustices and support those who have been most impacted by punitive marijuana laws.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has publicly called for prior low-level marijuana offenses to be erased from individuals' criminal records. And now, state Sen. Jeff Irwin is sponsoring legislation, SB 263, to automatically expunge prior marijuana use and possession convictions, which could affect nearly 250,000 residents in the state.

Send a letter to your state legislators and ask them to support this important legislation.

In a related update, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency recently released rules to implement Prop 1's social equity provisions. Residents of the 19 cities in which marijuana arrests rates were disproportionately higher than the rest of the state will be eligible for technical assistance, fee reductions, and educational resources to help them get a leg up in obtaining a marijuana business license. You can find a list of the cities and more details about the new regulations here.

As Michigan finds itself in an exciting new era of legalization, we cannot leave behind those who have suffered as a result of prohibition. It is encouraging to see policymakers taking steps to address these issues, and we will continue monitoring the state's progress.

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Michigan regulators publish rules for implementing adult-use legalization

Last week, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued emergency rules signed by Gov. Whitmer to guide the process of establishing a legal cannabis market for adults in Michigan.

The new regulations include several forward-thinking provisions, including the creation of licenses for on-site cannabis consumption areas and temporary events, so long as they are permitted by the local town or city government. The guidelines also address how the agency will work to promote participation in the cannabis industry by communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition. You can read a summary of the emergency rules here. Head regulators have announced their intention to begin accepting applications for marijuana business licenses by November, and sales are expected to start early next year.

MPP was the driving force behind passage of Proposal 1 — the 2018 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in Michigan. We are excited to see implementation moving forward, and we are proud of the progress that is being made. The voters agreed with us that prohibition must be dismantled, and now, we are watching that happen!

We are grateful to all of you who have steadfastly supported our marijuana reform efforts over the years. The hard work is paying off. Let's remain engaged and ensure that the implementation process in Michigan continues to follow the spirit and letter of the law.

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State officials are seeking input on Michigan’s marijuana regulations

As the state’s medical marijuana program undergoes significant changes and regulators take steps to implement the voter-approved adult-use legalization initiative, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency is asking the public the weigh in.

The newly formed agency will hold its first meeting on Thursday, June 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the Williams Building, located at 525 W. Ottawa Street in Lansing. If you are unable to attend the hearing in person, the event will be livestreamed on the state’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Facebook page. The public is also encouraged to email comments to MRA-Legal@michigan.gov.

Passage of Prop 1, which legalized marijuana for adult use last year, was a huge step forward in establishing more sensible marijuana policies in the state, but smooth and fair implementation of the law is also critical. If you have concerns or opinions about the future of marijuana in Michigan, please get involved and share your views with the agency.

Thank you.

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Developments in Michigan’s adult-use and medical marijuana programs

The Marijuana Policy Project led the successful 2018 campaign to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in Michigan. Since voters approved Prop 1 last November, Michigan’s marijuana landscape has seen significant changes. A few recent updates are worth bringing to your attention.

In March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order establishing the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The new agency will soon replace the controversial Medical Marihuana Licensing Board, which held its final meeting last week. Read more here.

A Michigan court overruled a previous deadline and is allowing dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open around the state, as caregivers continue to supply the market. Licensed businesses, which must comply with stricter regulations, want regulators to close these unlicensed entities down. A bill in the legislature would require businesses to be licensed by June 1 to continue operating.

State regulators are considering ways to satisfy a portion of Michigan’s adult-use legalization law that requires “a plan to promote and encourage participation in the marihuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marihuana prohibition.” The provision was included to address the fact that communities of color saw significantly higher marijuana arrest rates compared to predominantly white areas under the old law.

The final rules for Michigan’s adult-use marijuana market are due this December. As regulators and stakeholders continue to shape the future of marijuana in the state, we’ll keep you informed about new developments.

Stay tuned!

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Michigan: The fight for marijuana policy reform moves to the local level

After Prop 1's victory last November, we celebrated the end of marijuana prohibition in Michigan. But the effort to move marijuana policy reform forward isn't over. The frontlines have now shifted to cities and towns, where many municipalities are imposing bans on marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.

It's not only about holding the line. Local activism opens up the possibility of more progress, too. Organizers in Ann Arbor, for example, are working to put a social use initiative on the ballot in 2020.

We encourage supporters of sensible marijuana policies in Michigan to get involved in political spaces at the local level in two main ways:

  • Get to know your city council members and attend local meetings. Express your views on how you think legal marijuana could benefit your community — just remember to always be respectful.

  • Help organize a local petition effort to repeal bans on marijuana businesses. Prop 1 allows residents to place certain marijuana policy questions on the ballot, provided they collect enough signatures, equal to 5% of the number of votes cast for governor. Click here to see a map of cities and towns where bans have already been enacted or are pending.

In some communities, bans on marijuana businesses are being imposed despite the fact that a majority of residents voted for Prop 1. We cannot sit on the sidelines while the will of the voters is ignored by city officials.

Let's bring our movement for sensible marijuana policies to the local level in 2019!

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Prop 1 takes effect today, but it's under threat

If you're a Michigan resident, send a message to your legislators to stop SB 1243, which would gut Prop 1.

One month ago, Michigan made history. Through the power of the ballot box, the voters overwhelmingly rejected the failed status quo of marijuana prohibition and said YES to Proposal 1 to establish a more rational and humane marijuana policy in their state.

Today, the results of that vote become real and Proposal 1 is officially law, but unfortunately, some state lawmakers are trying to undermine the will of the voters. Please take a moment to contact your state legislators and urge them to stop the effort to repeal key components of Prop 1.

Sen. Meekhof’s bill, SB 1243, would eliminate funding for schools and roads, prevent the creation of marijuana micro-businesses, and remove Prop 1’s home cultivation provision. These proposed changes represent an effort to repeal what Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved.

As a result of our hard work and successful campaign, adults in Michigan are no longer considered criminals in the eyes of the state simply for possessing, consuming, or cultivating marijuana. But today, as we celebrate Prop 1’s victory and the progress it represents, we’re reminded that we must remain vigilant and engaged in the political process. Otherwise, we risk losing ground to opponents who wish to undo major pieces of Michigan’s legalization law.

Thank you for staying in the fight with us. Please forward this email to others who voted YES on Prop 1 so they can also take action.

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Action alert: Michigan, help stop legislation to undermine Prop 1

Send a message to your state legislators and urge them to oppose SB 1243, which would undo key provisions of Prop 1.

Now that voters have weighed in on the future of marijuana policy in Michigan, members of the state legislature are introducing their own proposals — some good and some not.

Most concerning is a bill, SB 1243, submitted by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. His legislation would dismantle major pieces of the voter-approved legalization initiative, including eliminating funding for schools and roads, preventing the creation of marijuana micro-businesses, and removing the home cultivation provision.

Please take a minute to contact your state legislators and ask them to publicly oppose and vote against this deeply misguided bill.

Despite some lawmakers’ attempts to undermine the will of Michigan voters, other legislators are doing the right thing and building on Prop 1’s foundation. Members of the House have introduced a proposal to release people from prison if they were convicted of a marijuana violation that has subsequently been decriminalized thanks to passage of Prop 1. And in the Senate, lawmakers have put forward a bill that would allow people to submit an application to the courts to have previous marijuana offenses set aside.

Although Election Day has come and gone, it’s crucial that we remain vigilant and involved in the legislative process. Forward this email to other Prop 1 supporters and ask them to take action, too.

Thank you for your help — and stay tuned for more updates.

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False TV ads from opponents of Prop 1 in Michigan were pulled from TV stations in lead-up to election

Opponents of marijuana legalization often rely on misleading arguments and fear tactics in their attempts to diminish support for sensible marijuana policy reform. In the run-up to the election for Proposal 1, the adult-use legalization initiative that recently passed in Michigan, the prohibitionist group Healthy and Productive Michigan went even further by publishing television ads with demonstrably false claims.

In their first TV ad, opponents claimed that Prop 1 would allow marijuana products with “unlimited potency.” The text of the initiative, however, plainly stated that the regulator would be required to impose a limit on the amount of THC in edible products.

When the YES on 1 campaign reached out to broadcast TV stations to inform them of this demonstrable falsehood, two stations, WWMT and WPBN, agreed to stop airing the ad. In total, the Prop 1 opposition campaign spent nearly $350,000 on broadcast television ads. The TV stations that pulled the ad accounted for about a third of the opposition’s broadcast TV budget.

“I pointed out that Proposal 1 required that the regulator, the Michigan department of licensing and regulatory affairs, set a maximum potency level for edibles per Section 8 of the initiative,” said Matthew Schweich, MPP’s deputy director who ran the Michigan campaign. “I felt it was necessary to prevent Healthy and Productive Michigan from misleading voters through the use of demonstrably false claims.”

In Healthy and Productive Michigan’s replacement ad, the group falsely claimed that marijuana tax revenue in Colorado has not benefited Denver schools or students. Public documents published by the city’s government disproves this allegation.

Fortunately, voters in Michigan didn’t buy the lies and propaganda peddled by opponents of Prop 1. The measure passed with a substantial margin, 56% to 44%.

“It is somewhat uncommon for TV stations to pull political ads, and this is the first time I’ve seen it happen on the six marijuana reform initiatives I’ve been involved in over the past four years,” Schweich added. “It is representative of the dishonest campaign that prohibitionists ran in Michigan.”

To read more about this story, click here.

 

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