The Michigan Board of Canvassers is expected to certify a ballot measure on Thursday that could allow voters to decide whether recreational marijuana is legalized Michigan this November.
The proposal would let people 21 and older possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants at home. "This November, Michigan voters will finally get the chance to eliminate Michigan's outdated marijuana laws", said John Truscott with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group behind the initiative.
"The cannabis prohibition should be over today, not tomorrow, today", said Jeffrey Hank.
Kalamazoo Democrat Jon Hoadley says the legislature will have 40 days to either pass it or let it appear on the ballot.
If approved, MI would be the first state in the midwest to legalize recreational marijuana.
The board's two Democrats say there are questions about whether many petition circulators provided legal residential addresses as required by state law. Legalization would have an impact on not only the state's economy, but also its criminal justice system - almost 10 percent of the state's drug arrests are marijuana-related, according to Michigan State Police data. They could reject the legislation and propose an alternative, in which case both would be placed on the ballot. A similar 2016 marijuana legalization effort in MI failed when its backers were unable to get the petition signatures within the time frame required by state rules. The canvassers also will take up a proposal that would repeal a law requiring higher "prevailing" wages on state-financed construction projects.
If courts order the measure to be approved, it would first go to the Republican-led Legislature. Elections Bureau staff estimate that more than 277,000 signatures were valid.
"We had a clear opinion from the Secretary of State's office", Wiggins said. "You saw two ministerial people put on magisterial black robes and decided that they didn't like something", said Eric Doster, an attorney for the ballot committee, which will soon sue in the state Court of Appeals.