A whopping eleven Michigan cities had marijuana reform on their local ballots this year. Some were voting on decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana for those 21 and older. Some sought to make possessing and using marijuana the lowest municipal enforcement priority within their borders.
Results are now in and they were mixed. Overall though, Michigan made decent progress towards liberalizing its marijuana laws.
Michigan’s marijuana policies are few and for the most part relate to medical marijuana. It has a patient possession limit of 2.5 ounces of “usable marijuana.” Individuals are allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants so long as they are kept in a “locked facility.” Michigan has no state-licensed dispensaries allowed at this time.
Though the enactment of marijuana city ordinances does not impact Michigan’s marijuana laws, the cities that voted to decriminalize marijuana indicate a positive shift in attitudes towards marijuana in Michigan. Michael Callton, a Republican Michigan State Representative sponsored a bill that would allow communities to choose whether they will allow medical marijuana dispensaries — dispensaries are currently barred under Michigan law. The House approved the bill and it will be up for approval by the Senate this Fall. Another Republican Representative, Eileen Kowall, sponsored a bill to “extend the protections currently in place for smoked forms of marijuana to marijuana extracts,” a main ingredient in edibles, which are currently illegal under Michigan law.
Michigan stands to greatly benefit from marijuana legalization as it has one of the highest percentages of marijuana users of any state and its yearly tax revenues from marijuana have been estimated at $122 million.
Keep your eye on Michigan, people. This election demonstrates that many Michiganders are looking to move beyond their current fractured medical marijuana system and we are predicting legalized marijuana (medical at minimum) statewide in Michigan by 2016.