The fight for marijuana legalization is turning a corner in the U.S. Nowhere is the change more evident than in Michigan, where recently an anti-marijuana action committee has flipped its stance in an attempt to try to gain control of state regulations, according to a Detroit Free Press report. The group, The Committee to Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools, has been fighting a ballot proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. However, as it is becoming more clear the initiative has growing support, the group is trying a different tactic: encouraging state legislators to fully legalize marijuana by passing an adult-use bill.
As our attorneys can explain, those opposing recreational cannabis in the state see the writing on the wall. They know if they allow the issue to appear on the November ballot, it has a strong chance of passing. However if group members can convince the Legislature to take up the initiative and amend it with strict regulations akin to the current medical marijuana guidelines, they are hoping to get a law on the books that is more restrictive than what voters might pass. One of the key differences would be how licenses are issued. Medical marijuana establishments currently obtain licenses through a board put in place by the governor, as well as House and Senate leaders. The ballot initiative would instead put licensing in the hands of the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department. In previous years, in order to pass a marijuana ballot initiative, advocates often had to jump through many hoops. They had to submit to studies to research the effects of marijuana on communities. They had to gather data from other states with marijuana laws. They had to make concessions, often only allowing medical marijuana, and sometimes putting deep, nearly prohibitive restrictions in place.
Now, though, cannabis advocates have a lot more leverage. More than half the states have medical marijuana laws that are helping tens of thousands of Americans with aches, pain, nausea, glaucoma, PTSD, and anxiety, among other health issues. With aging Baby Boomers looking for relief without too many side affects, cannabis has become a very appealing alternative to other medications. In addition, eight states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana without the apocalyptic results some naysayers predicted. In fact, local economies are benefitting from the new marketplace, and responsible users are enjoying an alternative to other traditional social lubricants, like alcohol. The proof is clear, and too many people are seeing the positive effects of cannabis to buy into the tired old propaganda anymore.
It’s no wonder, then, that we would see anti-marijuana groups desperate to keep a grasp on the legal landscape. It’s the old “If you can’t beat them, join them,” adage in some respects. Conversely, some lawmakers are in favor of the idea because they would rather not see a large turnout of people who might not align with them politically showing up at the polls during an important election cycle.
At the end of the day, all of us value safety and responsibility. It’s just more apparent to our Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers and our clients that these values are not in opposition to cannabis legalization. Our attorneys work hard to help marijuana businesses stay in compliance with state and local laws to support strong businesses and healthy and safe communities.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.
Michigan May Legalize Recreational Marijuana Before November Ballot, April 5, 2018, By Adam Drury, High Times
More Blog Entries:
More States Look to Legalize Marijuana in 2018, Jan. 21, 2018, Cannabis Law Group