Proposal 1 is a 2018 ballot initiative that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in Michigan for adults aged 21 and older. If voters approve Proposal 1, marijuana would be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

Michigan voters will decide Proposal 1 on Election Day 2018 (November 6, 2018). In order to pass, Proposal 1 must receive more than 50% of the votes cast.

 

Proposal 1 allows adults aged 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Within a residence, adults will be permitted to grow up to twelve marijuana plants and/or possess up to ten ounces of marijuana (provided that any amount greater than 2.5 ounces is stored under lock and key). Violations of the law would result in civil infractions or criminal charges, depending on the severity of the offense.

Proposal 1 establishes a legal framework for licensing and regulating marijuana businesses in Michigan including cultivators and dispensaries. The initiative requires all marijuana and marijuana products to be tested for safety and includes strict tracking requirements to ensure that marijuana is not diverted into the unregulated market.

Proposal 1 allows cities and towns to regulate, ban, or limit the number of marijuana businesses in the community.

Proposal 1 establishes a 10% tax on marijuana products in addition to Michigan’s 6% sales tax. Proposal 1 will generate $738 million in tax revenue by 2023, according to the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency. The revenue will be allocated to roads, schools, local governments, and PTSD research.

Under Proposal 1, Michigan’s state government will create regulations on: labeling and packaging of marijuana and marijuana products; and the advertising and marketing of marijuana, marijuana products, and marijuana businesses. The state will have strong regulations in place to ensure businesses are not marketing to children.

Selling marijuana without a license, or selling marijuana to a minor, would still be criminal and would hold the same harsh penalties as today. At the same time, Proposal 1 will ensure that use and possession, even by minors, is not a cause for law enforcement to ruin the life of a young person.

Proposal 1 also allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp, an important agricultural crop that can be used to produce a variety of commercial products, including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. 

 

Proposal 1 does not allow people under the age of 21 to possess or purchase marijuana.

Proposal 1 does not allow anyone to drive while impaired by marijuana. It specifically prohibits anyone from consuming marijuana “while operating, navigating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle, or motorboat.” It also prohibits “smoking marijuana within the passenger area of a vehicle upon a public way.”

Proposal 1 does not allow public consumption of marijuana.

Proposal 1 does not change the existing medical marijuana program in Michigan.

Proposal 1 does not allow individuals to sell marijuana unless they are employees of a licensed and regulated marijuana business. Unregulated sales will remain illegal.

Proposal 1 does not allow more than twelve marijuana plants in any single residence. The maximum number of plants is twelve regardless of how many adults live in that residence.

Proposal 1 does not allow marijuana businesses to cultivate, process, sell, or display marijuana or marijuana products anywhere that is visible to the public.

Proposal 1 will establish six categories of licenses for marijuana businesses: cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters, retail stores, and microbusinesses. Like Michigan’s 2016 medical marijuana law, communities will have the ability to regulate, ban, or limit the number of marijuana businesses in their communities.

This initiative creates three classes of cultivator licenses: the Class A “microgrower” license will allow for the cultivation of up to 100 marijuana plants; the Class B license will allow for the cultivation of up to 500 plants; and the Class C license will allow for the cultivation of up to 2,000 plants. No one will be allowed to hold more than five grower licenses of any type at the same time through 2023. After that point, the cap will be lifted. Microbusinesses – similar to microbreweries or microdistilleries – are licensed to cultivate up to 150 marijuana plants and process, package, and sell directly to consumers. They help ensure opportunities for small businesses.

Proposal 1 directs regulators to develop a plan to “promote and encourage participation in the marihuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marihuana prohibition.”

 

Marijuana businesses will not be allowed to cultivate, process, sell, or display marijuana or marijuana products anywhere that is visible to the public.

Under Proposal 1, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will be empowered to establish restrictions on the advertising and marketing of marijuana and marijuana businesses.

Proposal 1 will establish a responsible regulatory system to ensure the safety of all marijuana products. Before being made available for sale, items must be tested for potency and possible contamination. Products that do not meet regulatory standards set by state officials will not allowed on the shelves of retail marijuana businesses. Oversight will also ensure that products are properly packaged and labeled so that consumers are informed about what they are purchasing.

Yes. Proposal 1 requires that marijuana products, including edibles, be sold in child-proof packaging. Proposal 1 also establishes testing, packaging, and labeling standards for marijuana products.

No, that is completely false. Proposal 1 clearly requires that the state government establish a maximum THC level for edibles.

All members of the ballot question committee worked hard to find a way to include expungement in the ballot proposal. Unfortunately, legal experts determined that including both expungement and cannabis legalization in a single ballot proposal would violate rules in the Michigan Constitution. The initiative would likely not have qualified for the ballot if expungement language had been included. After the measure passes, the state legislature can and should pass an expungement law.

Federal law will not prevent the implementation of Proposal 1. For over two decades, beginning with passage of California’s medical marijuana voter initiative in 1996, states have been passing laws to overturn the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. Over 30 states have now adopted measures to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, and nine states plus Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adult use.

Though federal law presents some challenges for the legal marijuana industry, the US government has permitted states to proceed with implementing legalization policies. While technically possible, a federal assault on states that have passed sensible marijuana policy reforms would be a tremendous political risk for any administration. A 2018 national poll released by Gallup found that two in three Americans support legalizing marijuana for adult use. Other surveys consistently find that an even greater majority of the electorate opposes federal interference in state-approved marijuana laws. 

According to crime statistics collected by the FBI, there were over 200,000 marijuana arrests in Michigan from 2007 through 2016, averaging roughly 21,000 per year. Of those arrests, 84% were for simple possession.

The statistics reveal that African Americans are disproportionately targeted by marijuana prohibition laws, despite similar or lower usage rates compared with other racial groups. From 2007 to 2016, African Americans were roughly three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites.

In recent years, more than 70% of all marijuana possession arrests have involved amounts of 7 grams or less. These arrest records often result in long-lasting and harmful consequences for individuals and their families. A marijuana offense can create barriers to employment, affordable housing, and student loans.

In addition to the standard six percent state sales tax, Proposal 1 will establish a 10 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales. Two analyses have been conducted to estimate how much additional tax revenue Prop 1 will produce for Michigan. VS Strategies, a marijuana business research firm, built a model that projects the state will see $520 million in new revenue in the first five years following adoption of the measure. The Michigan state Senate Fiscal Agency produced a projection using a slightly different methodology. Their analysis predicts that Proposal 1 will generate $738 million in new revenue by 2023.  

Much of the new revenue collected from the six percent standard sales tax on marijuana will go to Michigan’s School Aid Fund. For the 10 percent excise tax, Proposal 1 directs 35 percent to improving the state’s roads, 35 percent to schools, and 15 percent to local governments with marijuana businesses within their jurisdiction. The Senate Fiscal Agency anticipates that Prop 1 will contribute an additional $140 million each year to the School Aid Fund by 2023.

A large group of stakeholders worked collaboratively to write the text of Proposal 1. This included the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the Marijuana Policy Project, MILegalize, Michigan NORML, the National Patients Rights Association, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, and lawyers representing the Marijuana Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. These groups brought local and national perspectives and expertise on a wide range of issues relating to marijuana policy. Proposal 1 was based on best practices from other states that have successfully legalized and regulated marijuana.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is a Michigan campaign committee working to pass Proposal 1 on Election Day. The committee is comprised of a campaign director, a campaign manager, a communications director, a fundraising director, an outreach director, and numerous volunteers.

Michiganders from across the state have made donations to support the campaign. National groups, funded by philanthropists who support ending marijuana prohibition, have also contributed to the campaign. All of the campaign’s donations are listed on publicly available campaign finance reports.

While a few marijuana businesses and industry group have made donations, the majority of the campaign’s funding has come from individuals and non-profit political organizations.

The goal is simple: replace the failed policy of prohibition with a system of regulation and taxation. Removing marijuana from the unregulated market will be beneficial for public health and public safety while generating hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue for Michigan.

By removing marijuana from the unregulated market, we can ensure that marijuana and marijuana products are tested and safe for adults to use. Additionally, regulating marijuana moves sales to licensed businesses that check IDs and do not sell dangerous drugs.

Furthermore, Proposal 1 will improve access for those Michiganders who use marijuana for medical purposes. While Michigan currently has a medical marijuana law, implementation of the policy has been challenging and many patients lives hours from the nearest medical marijuana dispensary. Furthermore, there are potential medical marijuana patients who are unwilling or unable, for a variety of reasons, to be placed on a government registry of patients.

Instead of arresting Michiganders for marijuana, law enforcement and prosecutors can focus more on serious and violent crime if Proposal 1 passes. There are still unsolved murders and untested rape kits in Michigan. Marijuana enforcement is a waste of time and resources that would be better used to prevent crime that destroys lives in Michigan. According to the ACLU, Michigan spends roughly $90 million per year on enforcing our current, broken marijuana laws. Those funds can be redirected to fighting serious crimes.

As one would expect, states with legalization have seen arrest rates for marijuana plunge. For example, from 2012 to 2015, marijuana-related court filings in Colorado plummeted by 81%, and in Oregon, marijuana arrests declined by 96% from 2013 to 2016.

Marijuana legalization dramatically decreases the number of people arrested for marijuana offenses among all races. However, it does not address all factors that lead to racially disparate arrest rates and policing. Opponents of legalization assert that marijuana legalization has not solved the disproportionate marijuana arrest rates for juveniles in minority groups in Colorado and that public consumption arrest rates for African Americans have increased in Washington D.C. These arguments, however, are misleading. First, racially disproportionate arrests are caused by many factors that are unrelated to marijuana policy. There is no evidence or reason to believe that legalization is responsible for any increases in arrest rates for minority teens in Colorado. Second, arrest rates for marijuana possession in Washington D.C. dropped by 98.6% from 2013 to 2016. Prior to legalization, a person consuming marijuana in public would likely be charged with possession. Afterwards, though, that same act would instead lead to a charge of public consumption. Given this, one would expect an increase in the number of citations for public consumption after legalization.

The bottom-line is that far fewer people of all races are being arrested for marijuana following the adoption of legalization. The suggestion that legalization does not relieve much of the burden of marijuana arrests for communities of color is simply dishonest.

Simply decriminalizing marijuana fails to solve many of the problems associated with prohibition. Marijuana would not be tested or safe. More problematic is that fact that a simple policy of decriminalization will create the largest possible unregulated market without providing the benefits of regulation and taxation.

Driving under the influence is illegal today and will remain illegal after Proposal 1 passes. While it is true that marijuana “breathalyzers” are still in development, there is also no reliable roadside test for prescription pain killers and many other intoxicating substances, which is why Michigan law enforcement professionals are well-trained on how to detect people who are driving under the influence of anything. They will continue to use the same training and protocols regardless of the outcome of the election.

No. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Public Health compared crash fatality rates in Colorado and Washington (both of which approved laws legalizing marijuana for adult use in 2012) to those of eight other control states from 2009 through 2015. Pre-legalization fatality rates were similar among all states analyzed, as were post-legalization rates. The paper concludes, “Three years after recreational marijuana legalization, changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates for Washington and Colorado were not statistically different from those in similar states without recreational marijuana legalization.” 

Another recent study similarly found no evidence linking legalization with increases in fatal car accidents. The paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed the rates of drivers found with THC (marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient) in their systems after fatal car crashes from 2013 to 2016. The researchers then compared the patterns of THC-positive drivers in Colorado and Washington during that time period to those in other states without legalization. In a summary of their results, the authors conclude, “We find the synthetic control groups saw similar changes in marijuana-related, alcohol-related and overall traffic fatality rates despite not legalizing recreational marijuana.”

Opponents of legalization frequently manipulate reports and data to mislead the public on this issue. For example, citing a 2018 report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety, Project SAM, an anti-legalization group opposing Prop 1, tweeted, “New study found that nearly 73% of some 4,000 drivers charged with a DUI in Colorado in 2016 tested positive for marijuana.” This is false, as the report itself states: “there were 27,244 case filings with at least one DUI charge” in 2016. In fact, according to the report, toxicology tests found the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in only 10.6% of drivers charged with DUI that year.

Study after study has concluded that marijuana policy reform is not linked to increased rates of marijuana use among teens. Several definitive reports have looked at the effects of legalizing medical marijuana. A meta-analysis of 55 academic papers and multiple data sources published by the journal Current Addiction Reports in September 2018 found that, “Liberal forms of medical cannabis regulation … have not to date increased rates of cannabis use among adolescents.” These results are consistent with another study covering 24 years of data published in The Lancet Psychiatry, which also found that medical marijuana laws are not associated with an increase in teen marijuana use.

In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana for adult use. Both have conducted large-scale surveys involving tens of thousands of high school students in the years since. In each case, the results (see below) show an overall reduction of past 30-day marijuana use among teens since passage of legalization. Data on teen marijuana use collected in other states that have recently legalized marijuana for adults show similar results.

Washington State Healthy Youth Survey (past 30-day use) — Law enacted in November 2012

 

2010

2012

2014

2016

8th grade

9.5%

9.4%

7.3%

6.4%

10th grade

20.0%

19.3%

18.1%

17.2%

12th grade

26.3%

26.7%

26.7%

26.4%

 

Colorado Healthy Kids Survey (past 30-day use) — Law enacted in November 2012

 

2011

2013

2015

   2017

9th – 12th grade

22.0%

19.7%

21.2%

19.4%

State

Total State Tax Revenue from Adult Sales (excludes licensing and other fees)

Colorado

(sales began Jan. 2014)

$754,433,508 (as of Aug. 2018)

Washington

(sales began July 2014)

$1,096,715,863 (as of June 2018)

Oregon

(sales began Oct. 2016)

$190,664,459 (as of Aug. 2018)

Nevada

(sales began July 2017)

$69,759,783 (as of June 2018)

California

(sales began Jan. 2018)

$135,100,000 (as of June 2018)

Yes. In states that have ended marijuana prohibition, illegal drug trafficking organizations are deprived of an important revenue stream. Additionally, by regulating rather than criminalizing marijuana, police can focus more on solving serious crimes.

In a letter to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Governor Jay Inslee and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington (which legalized marijuana for adults in 2012), wrote in 2017:

A few years ago, the illegal trafficking of marijuana lined the pockets of criminals everywhere. Now, in our state, illegal trafficking activity is being displaced by a closely regulated marijuana industry that pays hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. This frees up significant law enforcement resources to protect our communities in other, more pressing ways.

Recent research analyzing crime data from Colorado and Washington backs up these claims. A 2018 study published in the journal Police Quarterly found that, since the implementation of legalization, law enforcement agencies in Colorado and Washington are solving and prosecuting offenders for crimes like assault and burglary at significantly higher rates.

Yes. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that states that permit greater access to marijuana experienced 25% fewer opioid-related deaths than states with more restrictive marijuana laws. The findings are consistent with other research indicating an association between medical marijuana legalization and lower rates of opioid-related public health problems.

Legalizing marijuana for adult use makes it more accessible to patients who need it for medical reasons. In recent years, as adult-use legalization laws have been adopted and implemented in Washington and Colorado, opioid death rates in those states have remained flat while rates have climbed nationally according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Before legalization, both Colorado and Washington maintained annual opioid death rates that were greater than the national average. Today, the incidence of opioid-related fatalities in both states is below the national average.

The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency estimates $1.6 billion in annual marijuana sales by 2023. This economic activity will create hundreds of new businesses and tens of thousands of new jobs. One analysis estimates that Colorado, a state with just over half the population of Michigan, created over 18,000 full-time jobs by legalizing marijuana for adults. Legalization in Michigan will also produce positive spillover effect for ancillary industries and professions such as electricians, accountants, construction workers, and many others.

Legalization opponents claim that legalization will somehow hurt existing businesses in Michigan, but there is no basis for this argument. Proposal 1 makes clear that employers can continue to prohibit their employees from using marijuana, conduct drug screenings, and impose the same disciplinary actions as that they do today. Nothing changes for businesses after Proposal 1 passes.

No. Big Tobacco used advertising to mislead the public on the dangers of tobacco and to lure young Americans into cigarette consumption. Proposal 1 empowers Michigan’s state government to regulate all forms of marijuana advertising. By controlling advertising activities, we can prevent the marijuana industry from replicating the damaging behavior of the tobacco industry.