What Does Michigan Think About Legalization

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Last week we asked ClickOnDetroit readers questions about marijuana, and you responded — lots of you. So far, 2,349 people responded to questions about Proposal 1 and marijuana use, giving us a glimpse into how people feel about legalizing weed across the state. 

Here’s our report out on the survey with the reminder this was not a scientific survey. Most people who responded support Proposal 1 and seem to back marijuana use in general. Some responses are revealing, though, and the second half of this report is our attempt to answer the most frequently asked questions.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer, and it’s not too late to participate. Take the survey here and you’ll see the results at the end.  

Here’s our takeaways from your answers: 

  • 77% of respondents said they back Prop 1 – Not surprising for a self-selecting survey. People into the idea of legalizing pot are probably a little more likely to answer questions about it. Just 18% said they were opposed. 82% of men said they supported Prop 1 compared to 69% of women who said they support. WDIV’s scientific poll of likely voters in late October found Prop 1 approval leading 57 percent to 40 percent. 
  • 55% of people who responded said they’ll use marijuana if Prop 1 passes, while 34% said no and 11 percent answered undecided. It seems some people see more at play with Prop 1 than getting stoned, such as tax revenue from sales or decriminalizing use.
  • 36% said they would use marijuana if Prop 1 fails, while 52% said they would not. That’s another interesting gap based on legalization. A similar 36% of respondents said they use marijuana now, so passing Prop 1 may increase the number of people using across the state. 
  • We asked how people would consume marijuana, if it was legal. Here’s the breakdown: 
    • Smoke – 78% (80% of men, 70% of women)
    • Edibles – 61% (60% of men, 64% of women)
    • Vape – 46% (47% of men, 35% of women)
    • Oils – 37% (45% of women, 34% of men)
  • 84% of respondents said they wouldn’t use marijuana in front of their kids, while just 6.5% said they would, and 9.2% were undecided. 
  • Finally, we asked people if they would grow marijuana, which would be allowed if Prop 1 passes. 46% said no, while 33% said yes and the remaining 21% were undecided. 

Q&A 

Along with our survey questions, we asked people what questions they had about Proposal 1 and promised to seek out answers. Here’s our answers to the most commonly asked questions about the proposal to legalize marijuana in Michigan.

One note before diving in: There are many unknowns about what will happen if Proposal 1 passes. State legislators, local governments, workplaces, and police departments will all have to wrestle with implementing legal weed. Other states, like Colorado, have implemented recreational marijuana, so there’s a road map. But Michigan officials would make their own decisions on how to proceed. 

If this passes, when can I buy marijuana in Michigan? 

This was the most common question, and it’s one of the hardest to answer. It would be up to the state Legislature to set the rules for selling marijuana in Michigan, and that could take awhile. Colorado voters approved adult use in 2012, but couldn’t legally buy in their state until Jan. 1, 2014. 

Local governments will also have a say in where you can legally buy pot. Any municipality can ban marijuana sales, though they’ll lose tax revenue if they prevent legal sales. 

Can I lose my job if I fail a drug test? Will employers continue to test? What if I’m off the clock? 

Several variations on the question of what happens to drug tests at work. That will be up to your employer. Companies retain the right to test and reject job candidates and fire current employees under the proposal. And federal employees will still fall under the federal law, which outlaws marijuana use.

The law doesn’t protect a worker’s right to use marijuana. 

Will there be a law in place to prohibit operating a motor vehicle while smoking, ingesting marijuana products? 

The group organizing the legalization effort calls itself the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, so expect enforcement similar to alcohol. One key difference: No amount of marijuana would be allowed in someone’s system if they’re operating any vehicle, which includes boats, snowmobiles, airplanes and ATVs.  

A number of people asked about tests law enforcement officers can use to detect marijuana. Here’s how Colorado handles enforcement. Officers are trained to detect impairment caused by many drugs, and anyone who refuses a blood test is considered a high-risk driver with significant penalties, such as mandatory ignition lock for two years. 

Colorado also ramps up penalties for driving while impaired with children in the vehicle, and bans open containers of marijuana in the passenger area of a vehicle. Seriously, read Colorado’s Q&A on enforcement for an idea of what Michigan could implement. 

Medical Marijuana is All I’m Interested In.

“Adult-use” marijuana, which is what would be legal if Prop 1 passes, is treated separate from medicinal use. They would have separate regulations and likely not able to crossover between medicinal and adult-use sales. 

Several medical marijuana users asked about taxing their prescriptions. Right now Michigan charges a 3 percent excise tax and a 6 percent sales tax on medical marijuana. The 3 percent excise tax on medical marijuana would go away, if Proposal 1 passes. 

You will sill need a medical marijuana card to purchase medical marijuana. You won’t need a card for adult-use marijuana, though, like alcohol, you would have to be 21. 

How Do Taxes Work?

Many of you asked about how much Michigan could make off of legal marijuana sales and where that money would be spent. First, the proposal calls for a 10 percent excise tax on marijuana sales, which is over and above a 6 percent sales tax. Using that combined tax rate, state analysts project something like $130 million in new annual revenue for the state, which would be split among local governments, schools and the state road fund. Here’s the split: 

  • 35 percent  to improve state roads 
  • 35 percent for schools 
  • 15 percent to counties that allow marijuana sales 
  • 15 percent to local governments that allow sales

Those local taxes are interesting because they create incentive for local officials to allow marijuana sales in their communities. A number of officials have said they won’t allow sales, but we’ll see how that holds up with revenue available to pay for services or lower taxes. 

Michigan’s tax would not be the highest in the nation. Organizers say it’s to put a dent in the unregulated black market, driving people to buy regulated and taxed drugs. Charging too much for marijuana could encourage people to continue illicit buying. 

The proposal says, “Change several current violations from crimes to civil infractions.” What are civil infractions and what are the consequences for civil infractions?

Michigan’s proposal does not allow public consumption of marijuana. Using in public would be a civil infraction carrying a fine of up to $500. The proposal would allow communities to approve businesses for marijuana consumption — like a bar or tasting room for pot — as long as the business is not accessible to people under 21. 

What other taxes, license fees, insurance costs, etc. will increase if this proposal passes?

Interesting question that was hard to track down. Here’s one take on associated costs of legalizing marijuana, and another take on the net-positives of marijuana legalization. There’s a lot of noise on this issue. Legalization will bring in more tax revenue, but likely also higher law enforcement and social services costs. 

Proposal 1 will establish a responsible regulatory system to ensure the safety of all marijuana products. Before being made available for sale, items must be tested for potency and possible contamination. Products that do not meet regulatory standards set by state officials will not allowed on the shelves of retail marijuana businesses. Oversight will also ensure that products are properly packaged and labeled so that consumers are informed about what they are purchasing.

(e) testing, packaging, and labeling standards, procedures, and requirements for marihuana, including a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol level for marihuana-infused products, a requirement that a representative sample of marihuana be tested by a marihuana safety compliance facility, and a requirement that the amount of marihuana or marihuana concentrate contained within a marihuana-infused product be specified on the product label;

Will there be certain strains of marijuana which will still be illegal?

It seems likely there will be limits on potency determined by state legislators. 

Will this include the CBD products? 

Yes. The ballot proposal specifically allows for possession, processing, cultivating, transporting and transferring of industrial hemp, which is used to produce CBD. Listen to Michigan Radio’s interview with Brady Madden, director of e-commerce for MHR Brands, for more information about CBD. 

Would you be able to cross back and forth into Canada with marijuana on your person?

Nope. US Customs and Border Patrol made that clear after Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana in November that nothing changed in the federal law. “Although medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. states and Canada, the sale, possession, production, and distribution of marijuana or the facilitation of the aforementioned remain illegal under U.S. federal law,” Director of Field Operations Christopher Perry told WDIV in October.

Source: ClickOnDetroit

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