Should state lawmakers consider legalizing pot after support in local elections?

Nov 11, 2013

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Marijuana advocates in Michigan hope successes in recent local elections will put pressure on state lawmakers to legalize or decriminalize cannabis.  


Last week, voters in Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing all approved ballot initiatives that allow small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property.

Tim Beck helped organize those local campaigns. He says their success sends a clear message to the state Legislature -- that it needs to consider easing penalties statewide. 

“Like 17 other states have done, including Ohio. It’s the equivalent of a traffic ticket in Ohio – a $100 fine. That should be very simple,” Beck said during an appearance on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

“And there’s huge public support, as demonstrated in all of these elections that we’ve had.”

But Beck said it’s still too soon for a statewide ballot campaign.

“The funders that funded the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act in (2008), they need to see poll numbers, okay?” said Beck. “Michigan, right now, is ‘hardcore support’ at 52% for full legalization of marijuana. That’s not good enough to run a ballot initiative. We need to get those numbers up.”

He also hopes lawmakers will pass bills that would ease restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and allow edible forms of medical pot.