LANSING, Mich. (Nov. 6, 2018) – Today, Michigan voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, taking another step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in effect in the Great Lakes State.
Passage of Proposal 1 legalizes the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, along with the commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers.
Proposal 1 garnered 57.7 percent of the vote, with 53 percent of the precincts responding.
Under the law, individuals will be able to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption. It also creates a licensing and tax structure for cannabis businesses. Municipalities will be able to ban or restrict such businesses.
The measure also legalizes the cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of industrial hemp.
Despite the affirmative vote, the federal government still deems marijuana illegal in Michigan, and everywhere else in the U.S.
Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains complete prohibition of marijuana. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana in 2008. Legalization of recreational marijuana through Proposal 1 removes another layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.
FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By ending most of the state’s prohibition, Michigan sweeps away a vast majority of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Michigan joins a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice.
Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, and California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization passed in November 2016. In January, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through a legislative act.
With 33 states allowing cannabis for medical use, and 10 of those, including Michigan, allowing it for recreational use, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition anymore.
“The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.