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Michigan voters to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana

Posted: 5:54 PM, Nov 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-06 17:58:46-05
Michigan voters to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana

Michigan voters will decide whether or not recreational marijuana should be legalized in the state as part of Proposal 1 on the ballot.

Josh Hovey with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol says marijuana prohibition has failed.

"It's failed to stop people from consuming. There's an abundance of the product on the market, and you don't know if it's regulated or if the products are safe, if they're tested for quality control. You don't know what's in it, and it's enriched criminal organizations," said Hovey.

The group is responsible for getting the proposal on the ballot.

"Well I think heroin is around, I think cocaine is around, I think LSD is around, I think that people assault other people, I think that people use firearms in the commission of crimes every day. So why don't we just legalize it all?" said Scott Greenlee, president of Healthy and Productive Michigan.

Healthy and Productive Michigan is a committee that formed to prevent Proposal 1 from passing.

"That's going to give more access to our kids. That's going to ignore the fact that marijuana is illegal federally, and if we choose to go down this path as a state, we're starting to pick and choose which federal laws we're going to adhere to," said Greenlee.

Hovey says 20,000 people are arrested in Michigan every year on possession charges.

"We're spending about $90 million a year to enforce prohibition, and we think, given that it's been such a complete failure, that's a huge waste of our tax dollars," said Hovey.

Speaking of tax dollars, the state's Senate Fiscal Agency estimates an additional $262 million generated by 2023, should the proposal pass. Greenlee says if Proposal 1 passes, it will be costly for the state.

"Expenses of setting up a whole new state department would have to come out of there, increased law enforcement cost, obviously increased prevention messaging to keep our kids as away from it as possible, not that it's going to be possible," said Greenlee.

If the proposal passes, the state will have two years to get the business licensing application in place.

"This isn't about being pro-marijuana. It's just recognizing that our current system of prohibition is not working and regulation and taxation is a far better solution," said Hovey.