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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Election Day is finally here. With the help of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters across the state, the YES on 1 campaign has done all it can to educate the voters of Michigan about the benefits that Proposal 1 will bring to the state.
Now, all that’s left is to go out and VOTE! Find your polling location and set a time to go there today. Polls close at 8:00 pm ET tonight.
Having trouble finding your polling location? Please email us and we would be happy to help.
Michigan is poised to become the 10th state in the country to officially end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. Be part of this historic reform effort and vote YES on Prop 1!
This has been a long campaign, stretching back for two years. Now is when we bring it over the finish line. VOTE TODAY!
Bringing legalization to the Midwest would be a game changer — support the YES on 1 campaign today
It’s incredible to see the progress we have made in recent years. Marijuana has been legalized for adults in nine states and Washington, D.C., and polls show two out of three Americans want to end the failed policy of prohibition.
But our opponents think they can stop our momentum — and they’re spending a lot of money to defeat Prop 1 in Michigan.
A win in Michigan would demonstrate the strength of our movement. But imagine the headlines if Prop 1 fails. Project SAM and their prohibitionist allies will claim that the tide is turning. Politicians in Congress would take note, and if they think voters are changing their mind, our reform efforts at the federal level could be jeopardized.
We have to prove the anti-legalization voices wrong. Make a donation to the YES on 1 campaign to help them fight back against their opposition’s fear tactics.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol produced a series of powerful ads. These TV and digital ads tell the truth about legalization, and they are the perfect antidote to the opposition’s demonstrably false attack ads. Your contribution will go directly towards helping the campaign share these messages with more Michigan voters.
There’s not much time left. Election Day is just a few days away. We can’t emphasize enough how important Prop 1 is for the future of our legalization movement. Please, get in the fight and support the campaign today.
Having worked in states across the country to pass humane, sensible marijuana laws, it’s exciting that in just two weeks voters in my home state, Michigan, will have a chance to legalize marijuana!
While polls are encouraging, the opposition is ramping up its misleading attacks, and we can’t take anything for granted.
Growing up in Michigan, I saw firsthand how marijuana prohibition failed my home state. When I was in high school, teenagers had easy — and dangerous — access to marijuana. While buying marijuana from an open-air drug market, someone I knew had a gun pulled on him. It’s heartbreaking to think of kids growing up on that street.
During college, two friends’ dreams of teaching and practicing law were derailed due to cannabis convictions.
Now, when I go back home, I experience pothole-plagued roads and read about shockingly high rates of unsolved crimes, while police waste time on marijuana.
At long last, we have a chance to end Michigan’s wasteful, cruel policy of marijuana prohibition. Proposition 1 will move marijuana sales off of the streets and into regulated stores, while creating good jobs and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. Cannabis consumers will have a safe, tested product, and adults won’t be criminalized for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.
Michigan can set an example. So far, only East and West Coast states have legalized marijuana. Let’s bring sensible marijuana policy to the Midwest.
Together, we’ve got this!
- MPP Director of State Policies Karen O'Keefe