Michigan’s Ballot Initiative on Marijuana
Michiganders will likely take up the question of legalizing recreational use of marijuana in November. I have listened to folks in the district — veterans, parents, the elderly, and law enforcement officers — to understand the range of views about this issue. I strongly believe that for this matter, voters should be able to decide. Too often the priorities of voters are discounted by legislators who claim they are voting in our name. Opening up marijuana for recreational use is a big decision for our state, and voters should have their voice heard.
I have seen firsthand how medical marijuana can help people who are dealing with long-term chronic conditions. I support the use of medical marijuana, which was approved by Michigan voters in 2008. We must ensure the implementation process continues in a manner that is transparent and accessible for all folks in need.
I also support the decriminalization of marijuana, a step that some of our communities have already pursued. Every dollar used to prosecute marijuana offenses is a law enforcement dollar that isn’t being used for more pressing issues. By removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, we can reduce the backlog of non-violent, marijuana-related incarcerations — and streamline our criminal justice system for the better.
Like a lot of folks, I am reviewing the impact of the legalization of recreational marijuana on the local economy, public safety, and healthcare in states like Washington and Colorado, to understand if, on balance, it would be a net positive for our communities here in Michigan. I’m keeping an open mind, and welcome the opportunity to meet with groups on all sides of this issue to better inform my thinking.