Marijuana would be legalized for recreational uses and taxed at a rate of 16% under a petition which was turned in to the Secretary of State on Friday.
In the event that the state Board of Canvassers approves the petition, the group driving the initiative ? the Coalition to Regulate Marijuan Like Alcohol will have 180 days to gather 252,523 signatures from valid registered voters in Michigan. As a way to get a cushion to account for signatures which may be thrown out, the group is establishing a target of accumulating 350,000 signatures.
That?s a job which will require money, said Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the Coalition. The group hopes to raise between $8 million and $10 million as payment for people who will gather the signatures needed to get on the ballot and to wage a campaign to get the measure passed in November 2018.
?Prohibition is a failed big government program,? said former state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who?s the political director of the coalition. ?We have 20,000 individuals detained every year in Michigan. And we?re now going to be in a position to provide our citizens an option to stop that.?
Located close to the town of Merced in the Central Valley, which generates over half of the fruit, nuts and vegetables grown in the country, the Sisters of the Valley grow and reap their very own cannabis plants.
However, despite the moniker, the sisterhood stresses that its seven members don?t belong to any order of the Catholic Church.
?We are against religion, so we are not a religion. We consider ourselves Beguine revivalists, and we reach back to pre-Christian practices,? said Sister Kate, who founded the sisterhood in 2014.
The group says its Holy Trinity is the marijuana plant, specifically hemp, a form of marijuana which has really low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the plant which gives a high.
The hemp is turned by members into cannabis-based balms and ointments, which they say have the ability to enhance health and well-being.
More than two dozen U.S. states have legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use, but the drug remains illegal at the federal level. California legalized recreational use of marijuana in November 2016.
Some doctors in Toledo are already giving patients cards enabling them to buy medical marijuana, and classes are popping up for Ohio physicians in this new legal field.
But proper rules to help physicians sail these uncharted waters are still months away. No physician has been certified in Ohio to recommend cannabis, and no continuing education seminar has been formally sanctioned.
Omni Medical Services, which began in Michigan and runs in Florida and Illinois, also provides doctors to clinics in Toledo, Lima. Qualifying patients walk away with ?affirmative defense? letters as well as a list of Michigan dispensaries where they may buy marijuana to bring back to Ohio, without hindrance by law enforcement.
It could be as late as September 8 before Ohio?s rules for physicians are finalized, and the program?s deadline to be completely functional isn?t until a year after that. Marijuana still cannot be lawfully sold or bought here.
The Ohio State Medical Association has advised members to wait until rules are finalized before stepping into this overcast legal territory.
Lawmakers are debating whether to delay licensing of marijuana ?social clubs? in Maine, following the lead of other legalization states confronting unwanted scrutiny from federal officials or concerns about public health.
But legalization advocates warn that it?s better to have licensed, closely regulated marijuana clubs than illegal places running in the shadows.
?These clubs will pop up. They already are, and delaying isn?t going to prevent any of that activity,? said Becky DeKeuster, a consultant on cannabis issues who formerly ran medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine and California.
The legalization referendum narrowly backed by Maine voters in November contains references throughout the ballot initiative to ?social clubs? where adults age 21 and over purchase and consume on shop premises. The fully accredited social clubs were pictured as places where users could lawfully assemble ? similar to a bar or smoking lounge ? to use marijuana in a carefully regulated and monitored setting.
Yet Maine could be the first state to allow marijuana clubs ? a prospect that certainly concerned some lawmakers on the committee in charged with preparing the state for retail sales.
It feels like Christmas for the country?s legal marijuana stores today. Not only Christmas but all other holidays rolled in to one one smoky party known as 420.
April 20 has for a long time been a day full of civil disobedience by marijuana users, who assemble in public to light up weed at 4:20 p.m. The phrase ?420? is a longtime code for marijuana users, who work it into dating profiles or post it on signs to show their common interest. But while it used to be a celebration held using a particular degree of furtiveness, the swiftly growing legalization of cannabis means an increasing number of Americans no longer face critical, if any, punishment for smoking weed.
All states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana also have prohibited public consumption, but those rules in many cases are dismissed on April 20, when crowds assemble on college campuses and central parks to light up. That means huge sales days for shops, particularly in states with operating marijuana marketplaces: Washington, Oregon and Colorado, which could see single-day 420 sales of $20 million.
One of Colorado?s largest marijuana stores, the Medicine Man, anticipated to see more than double the regular number of customers each day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.