Recreational marijuana legalization drive launched in Michigan

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Marijuana proponents have launched a 2018 ballot drive to make Michigan the ninth state to legalize the use and sale of recreational cannabis and the first in the Midwest to do so.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted petition language Friday. It plans to soon begin collecting signatures once the Board of State Canvassers approves the petition’s form. The initiative is backed by state marijuana advocates and the Marijuana Policy Project.

Under the measure, there would be five categories of licensed marijuana businesses — retailers, cultivators, processors, testing facilities and transporters.

A special license would be available for small businesses to grow up to 150 plants and to process, package and sell the marijuana directly to customers. Industrial hemp production also would be legalized.

Adults 21 and older could legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants in their residence. Public consumption would be illegal. A 10% tax on marijuana would be assessed, in addition to the 6% sales tax.

The ballot committee needs more than 250,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November 2018 statewide ballot.

In 2016, a legalization campaign fell short in its legal battle to place an initiative on the November ballot. MILegalize had sued after the secretary of state ruled that it didn’t qualify for the ballot.

– Associated Press