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Marijuana advocates 'closely' watching Michigan lawmakers as deadline approaches

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Marijuana advocates say they are watching “very closely” as a deadline looms for Michigan’s legislature to decide whether to act or not on a petition to legalize recreational pot.

Supporters turned in more than 300,000 petition signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.  The initiative would legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use for Michiganders over 21 years old. Under the proposal, adults would not be allowed to use marijuana in a public place or to drive under the influence. 

Marijuana businesses would need state permits and communities could decide where such businesses could operate.

Tuesday is the deadline for the legislature to either give its blessing to recreational marijuana or leave the decision up to voters in November.

Legislators opposed to recreational pot have floated the idea of approving it, just so the legislature could amend the law. Senate Republicans appear ready to do just that. But its future in the state House is unclear.

Josh Hovey is the spokesman for the group “Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol”.

Hovey says they are having “conversations with lawmakers”, but he insists the proposal “should be enacted as written with no amendments.”   The initiative closely follows the 2016 Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act.

“Our position on the legislature adopting it is that there's no reason to delay ending the failure of marijuana prohibition,” says Hovey.  

Jeff Hank with MILegalize has spent years working to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan.  He’s now waiting to see what the legislature will do.

“We're just watching the drama very closely,” says Hank. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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