The midterm election period was a roller coaster for many, but in the midst of the madness, Michigan voters chose to make recreational use of cannabis by adults legal by passing Prop 18-1. According to the language of the proposal, those over age 18 will be permitted to possess and use specified amounts of cannabis flower, concentrates and edible products.
Prop 18-1 received support from 56 percent of Michigan voters, and its passage will almost surely result in a notable decline in the number of drug convictions in the state going forward. Statistics from the Drug Policy Alliance reveal that between the years of 2007 and 2016, Michigan saw approximately 200,000 drug-related criminal arrests, and fully 84 percent of them were connected to cannabis. Arrests of these sorts are a significant burden on law enforcement, and it is thought that with the new law in place, there will be 50 fewer such cases each day in Michigan. As a result, police will be able to devote resources to more pressing concerns.
The new law in Michigan will permit residents to cultivate no more than 12 of their own cannabis plants at home for personal use. It should be noted, though, that only 10 ounces of cannabis products may be possessed in an individual’s home, and public consumption of cannabis remains prohibited. Possession of cannabis in dry herb form in public is restricted to 2.5 ounces per individual person, and possession of cannabis concentrates in public is restricted to 15 grams per person.
It is easy to see how the passage of Prop 18-1 will dramatically cut the wasteful use of law enforcement resources to pursue cannabis crimes. Another potential benefit is the likelihood that Michigan’s economy will experience a major boost due to the 10 percent sales tax to be imposed on cannabis products. These revenues will be channeled into areas including medical research, education and improved infrastructure.
The proposal does give municipalities the ability to opt out of broad legalization by restricting or even banning the operation of recreational cannabis enterprises, localities that do permit such businesses are certain to reap the benefits of the 10 percent sales tax.
Opting out by a municipality only means that commercial sales are prohibited within the jurisdiction, as localities are not free to impede on citizens’ rights to cultivate and possess plants for personal use at home.
In other states nationwide, states moved toward legalizing medical-use cannabis, whereas others resisted the push toward more liberal cannabis laws than those already on the books. North Dakota voters decliend to approve Measure 3, which was meant to remove marijuana, hashish as well as tetrahydrocannabinols from the Schedule 1 designation, something that would have essentially legallized recreational use of cannabis for the adult population.
54 percent of Utah voters supported Proposition 2, the language of which provides those with a broad array of health concerns the right to use numerous cannabis products including oils, edibles and raw flower. Some of these conditions include autism, PTSD, gastrointestinal issues and chronic pain. The proposition also lets certain patients to grow upwards of six plants for personal use and facilitates the establishment of medical dispensaries that will be overseen by the state.
64 percent of Missouri voters supported Amendment 2, one of a trio of proposed measures designed to permit medical cannabis use. The chosen Amendment places a 4 percent tax on all products designated as being for medical cannabis use. The revenues that result are to be directed toward health care services for veterans.