Two Cannabis Ballot Initiatives for Michigan in 2016

initiatives one-sheet jul2015 (1)A few weeks ago, two organizations received permission to begin collecting signatures to put a recreational marihuana question on the 2016 ballot here in Michigan.

I read through the two proposals, and I am supporting MILegalize over Michigan Cannabis Coalition (MCC). The general message I get from each of these is:

  • MCC: “Let’s get this passed, put together a board, and figure it out later.”
  • MILegalize: “Let’s give voters a completely thought-out initiative with rules that will guide them from Day One.”

Other than the general message, factors that enter into my decision to support MILegalize include:

  • Backers. MILegalize is composed of a transparent group of people who have been standing up for and standing behind this issue for decades. The MCC proposal is supported by an anonymous group.
  • Taxation and tax dollars usage. MILegalize spells out exactly how much and where, collecting up to (no more than) 10% in taxes, with 40% of those funds going to transportation (pot for potholes!), 40% to education, and the remaining 20% to the municipality where the taxes are collected.  The MCC initiative has no limit on taxation. Controlled by a to-be-created board, MCC’s funds will go to “administration.”
  • Personal possession amounts. Of course, this is outside of any marihuana used medicinally. I’m not a user, so maybe I don’t know, but MCC’s two plants per dwelling just doesn’t seem realistic. Considering growing cycles and harvest (of any plant),  MILegalize’s limits of 12 plants per person seems realistic. And it’s too low to be considered a commercial enterprise.
  • Consequences. Yes, marihuana (depending on the strain) can be psychoactive. MILegalize addresses that with moving-vehicle, providing-to-minors, zoning, and other guidelines that have escalating financial and penal consequences. MCC’s restrictions seems to be providing-to-minors and zoning – the control board will figure out the rest after the fact.

MILegalize addresses – and corrects – the mistakes other states have made, including the law of unintended consequences. In my opinion, the MILegalize initiative would do a better job of eliminating/reducing the black market. By allowing a free market, businesses under MILegalize have more incentive to offer quality and affordable products. Under  MCC’s plan, its regulation would address the black market as it has historically – by trying to regulate it.

How do you know which one you’re signing? The MILegalize initiative has the full text of its proposal printed on the back, the MCC one doesn’t. I am collecting signatures for MILegalize. If you’d like to sign it, has a map here. I’m also going to put together a list and will publish within the next couple of weeks.