Tax and Regulate

Michigan Legalization Initiative Qualifies for Ballot

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has cleared a major hurdle towards making marijuana legal in Michigan. This morning, the Board of State Canvassers approved the petition signatures, and the initiative to regulate marijuana will be on the ballot in November. If approved by voters, Michigan would become the first state in the Midwest with an adult-use cannabis law.

In addition to allowing adults age 21 and older to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana, the initiative would: regulate 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 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 six percent sales tax; and give local governments the option of whether they want to allow marijuana businesses in their communities.

Organizations supporting the coalition include the Marijuana Policy Project, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association, Michigan NORML, and MILegalize.

The initiative is being certified at a time when national attention is focused on marijuana policy reform. Earlier this month, President Trump reiterated his position in favor of not interfering with state marijuana policies in a conversation with Sen. Cory Gardner and assured him that the Department of Justice would not target individuals and businesses that are in compliance with state marijuana laws.

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Medical Marijuana

Michigan Lawmakers Adopt Regulatory System for Medical Marijuana, Allow Extracts

The Michigan Legislature passed a series of bills this month that overhaul the state’s medical marijuana program. This is the culmination of a multi-year debate on how, and whether, the state should allow and regulate medical marijuana businesses. It is a major — and controversial — milestone for patients and those who serve them. The bills now head to the governor, who is expected to sign them.
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For many years, federal and state law enforcement authorities obtained warrants, raided locations, arrested compassionate business owners, took property, and jailed individuals they said violated state law. It has been clear that Michigan’s patchwork system, in which some local communities embrace businesses that state law considers illegal, needed revision. News stories involving aggressive law enforcement tactics, particularly in rural communities in Michigan, have been far too common.
Based on similar laws in other medical marijuana states, the bills passed today represent an opportunity for businesses to get much-needed legal protections. While few business owners like the idea of being subject to more regulation and greater costs, the updates to Michigan’s program were important and to some extent inevitable.

 

In addition to providing for state-legal dispensaries, the bills will finally allow Michigan patients to use extracts and products like oils and edibles that are made from them.

MPP thanks the National Patients Rights Association and those who support it for working so hard to help guide these changes in the best direction possible

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