LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Will 2018 be the year Michiganders legalize pot?
As long lines for the pungent product form Tuesday on the west coast — here at home, appears residents are gearing up for a vote on the issue of marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday, November 6.
In case you missed it, organizers of a ballot drive to legalize recreational pot in Michigan submitted 365,000 signatures to the state last November, which appears to be more than enough to qualify the initiative for a statewide vote in 2018.
The measure would legalize the recreational use and possession of marijuana for adults, and enact a state tax on marijuana sales. [Petition wording] If passed, people 21 and older could possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of pot and grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home.
State officials have been reviewing the signatures; and they’re expected to announce late this month whether at least 252,000 (or around 70 percent) are valid. The next step: the bill would go to the Republican-controlled Legislature which would have 40 days to adopt the measure (which is believed to be unlikely) or it would be placed on the November 2018 statewide ballot.
Legislators could also propose an alternative marijuana bill to put before voters alongside the initiative.
If the new proposal were to make the ballot and win voter approval, it would make Michigan the ninth state to legalize the drug for recreational use.
This comes as California Monday became the nation’s largest state to offer legal recreational marijuana sales, with a 15 percent excise tax on retail purchases of all cannabis and cannabis products, including medical pot. Legal weed in Calif. comes with a lot of restrictions, including where it can be smoked. First, there is no smoking in public, near schools or daycare centers, while driving or anywhere where tobacco is prohibited. [Learn more].
It should be noted that in states where pot has been legalized, it still remains illegal at the federal level. And U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an outspoken opponent of cannabis, has hinted at a possible crackdown.
According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization. Gallup’s latest survey gauged support at 64 percent, up from 12 percent from when the question was first posed in 1969.
Michigan has allowed medical marijuana use for nearly a decade.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.