A majority of Michigan voters want to legalize recreational marijuana, but they can't agree on how to make it happen, according to a new poll. Nearly 56 percent of Michigan voters supported legalization efforts, while 40 percent were against legal marijuana, a Michigan Public Radio Poll released Thursday found.
Among the 56 percent that want legal recreational marijuana, voters expressed differences in how they felt the state should go about implementing the change. Nearly 27 percent backed the state taxing and controlling recreational marijuana, with home-growing of the plant allowed. About 21 percent supported state taxes and controls with a limited number of growers. Almost 8 percent backed local taxes, controls and distribution. The poll surveyed 600 likely voters in the state from Aug. 4 to 8.
Jeff Williams, CEO of Public Sector Consultants, which helped carry out the poll, said the figures indicate Michigan could see legalization efforts stall because no one option can be agreed upon. "When you break it down, three options to get to 'yes'? The 40 percent 'no' will carry the day," Williams said, according to a post by Interlochen Public Radio that accompanied the poll results.
Competing groups have battled to get their legalization efforts on the ballot for Michigan's November election, according to a report from the Holland Sentinel in late July. The two main advocacy groups, MI Legalize and the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, must each earn 252,523 signatures by Christmas to land a spot on the ballot.
MI Legalize proposes making all forms of marijuana legal for adults 21 and over, and would allow local communities to license marijuana retailers. It proposes a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana that would go toward state funding for education and transportation, with a portion also going to local governments. The Michigan Cannabis Coalition proposal would also legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older, but outlines a system in which state lawmakers decide the tax rate and establish licensing guidelines.
Four states -- Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon -- and Washington, D.C., have passed referenda legalizing recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana is already allowed for qualifying conditions in Michigan.