GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — All three proposals that were on the ballot in Michigan Tuesday are projected to pass.
The proposal with perhaps the highest level of public interest will legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Under Proposal 1, recreational marijuana would be regulated in essentially the same way as alcohol. You won’t be allowed to use it if you’re under 21 and it will still be illegal to drive under the influence.
People will be allowed to keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana in their homes and grow up to 12 plans for personal use. Businesses would need a state license to sell marijuana and local governments could bar such businesses from opening within their borders.
“We’re wasting $90 million a year enforcing a failed policy of marijuana prohibition and polls across the country show that 66 percent of voters want to see marijuana legalized and regulated,” Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the group backing Proposal 1, told 24 Hour News 8 before polls closed. “If we don’t get on top of this now with some strong regulations, it’s going to get too far beyond us.”
Supporters said legalization would prevent some people from being followed by a minor drug conviction.
“Look at the never-ending cycle, especially in our urban areas, of young men and women getting arrested for something as like a dime bag of weed,” legalization advocate Jay Jones said. “They’re going into the system. They’re not getting jobs so they’re turning back to crime and it’s just a never-ending cycle.”
“We still have to work out … restoring people’s justice,” Cannabis Legal Group principal attorney Barton Morris said after victory was declared. “There are thousands upon thousands of individuals that have been disproportionately affected with cannabis-related convictions. We have to remove those convictions off their record.”
Michigan is the first state in the Midwest and the 10th in the national legalize recreational marijuana. The move could create tension with neighboring Indiana and Ohio, where voters soundly rejected a 2015 recreational marijuana measure.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz said before Election Day that if the measure passed, he and his colleagues envisioned “dedicated patrols” to spot drivers coming from Michigan who might be high or have pot on them.
Legalization does not go into immediate effect; it will take at least a couple weeks.
Proposal 2 is a constitutional amendment that will entrust the job of drawing the state’s voting districts to an independent commission rather than the Legislature and governor.
The ballot measure that passed Tuesday could alter the balance of power in a state Republicans have controlled since 2010.
The measure’s proponents say it will stop partisan gerrymandering, in which the party in power draws electoral maps to maintain or improve its position. Instead, it will entrust the once-a-decade process to a commission of citizens that will include four Democrats, four Republicans and five members who aren’t affiliated with either party.
Opponents say the measure will take power away from those elected to represent the people and give it to an unelected panel.
An Associated Press statistical analysis of the 2016 election results found that Michigan’s state House districts had one of the largest Republican tilts in the nation, trailing only South Dakota’s.
Voters also approved a wide-ranging constitutional amendment that will allow people to register and vote on the day on an election, request absentee ballots without having to give a reason and cast straight-ticket ballots.
The ballot measure approved Tuesday will also automatically register people to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or conduct some other type of business with the secretary of state’s office, unless they opt out.
The measure’s backers, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the League of Women Voters and NAACP branches, say it will make voting more accessible and secure.
Its opponents, including some prominent Republicans, argued that some of the measure’s provisions are duplicative and that it would add more bureaucracy and regulations.