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Free Minds & Free Markets

Michigan Becomes the 10th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

It is the first state in the Midwest to allow nonmedical use.

JZSJZSMichigan just became the 10th state, and the first in the Midwest, to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. On Tuesday, the state's Marijuana Legalization Initiative, a.k.a. Proposal 1, was favored by 57 percent of voters with two-thirds of precincts reporting.

Proposal 1 allows adults 21 or older to possess 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana in public, transfer that amount to other adults "without remuneration," possess up to 10 ounces at home, and grow up to 12 plants for personal consumption. The initiative charges the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs with creating a licensing system for commercial production and distribution, subject to a 10 percent tax on retail sales. The department can issue special licenses allowing on-site consumption, subject to local approval. Municipalities can choose to ban or restrict marijuana businesses within their borders.

The initiative takes effect 10 days after the vote is certified, which usually happens about three weeks after the election. The provisions related to personal consumption therefore should take effect in early December. The licensing authority is required to start accepting applications from would-be marijuana merchants with a year of that date, meaning that legal sales might begin sometime in 2020.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008, when 63 percent of voters approved it. Michigan joins nine states in legalizing recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. All but Vermont legalized commercial production and distribution, although licensing is still pending in Maine. Vermont, like Washington, D.C., allows possession, home cultivation, and noncommercial transfers.

"Western and Northeastern states have led the way on legalizing marijuana, but the victory in Michigan powerfully demonstrates the national reach of this movement," Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a press release. "With such overwhelming public support for marijuana legalization, even including majorities of Republicans and older Americans, there's only so long that the federal government can continue to hold out."

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Proposal 1 allows adults 21 or older to possess 2.5 ounces or less of marijuana in public, transfer that amount to other adults "without remuneration," possess up to 10 ounces at home, and grow up to 12 plants for personal consumption.

    It's so great when the free market prevails.

  • Kevin Smith||

    Its not really a free market since people still can't sell it

  • Tankboy||

    I don't know Mr. or Ms. Fist personally, but I'm pretty sure that comment was meant to be sarcastic.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    It's only been since 2012 that the first two states did this. That's an increase from 4% to 20% of the states in just six years.

  • JeremyR||

    Michigan really isn't Midwestern though. It's close to a NE state politically and culturally.

  • dangeerraaron||

    As a lifelong resident of that, I am wondering how you arrived at that conclusion? We are normally NOT leading the way on any social issues nationally or in the Midwest (opposite in some ways, see below), so this passing in Michigan is a bit surprising because we beat our neighbors to the punch, but not unexpected.

    Keep in mind our state narrowly voted for the Orange Man, had all three branches of state government controlled by Republicans (up until last night), up until recently had a state Constitutional ban on gay marriage (supreme Court overturned), and generally is a marginally Dem leaning state in national elections. This does not strikes me as a New England type state, except for NH or possibly Maine.

    Illinois and Minnesota might fit your criteria better, imo.

  • dangeerraaron||

    Lifelong resident of MI*

  • Robert||

    I think he means it's part of Upper Canada.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Michigan is really just occupied Canadia, to be sure. But, that would be Lower Canadia, not Upper Canadia.

  • aed939||

    Stop calling it recreational or nonmedical. It is presumptuous to characterize the reason that any particular person uses marijuana--just as it is presumptuous to consider all bicycling as recreational in nature. Some people use bikes as a transportation mode--to get to work or to run errands. We should just call it non-prescription use.

  • Uncle Jay||

    No marijuana initiative should be passed.
    MJ only allows the masses to relax, lower pain levels and enjoy life instead concentrating on making our ruling elites more powerful and aggrandizing The State's power.
    Besides, who in their right mind would want to smoke weed when you can memorize passages from "Das Kapital?"

  • Tankboy||

    So with the departure of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, will the Federal prohibition finally be lifted?

  • Architect of Liberty||

    Still a bunch of hard-asses in the Senate...

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