Michigan: Most Voters Favor Eliminating Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Offenses

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 23, 2013

    Nearly 80 percent of Michigan voters favor eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana offenses, according to survey data released by Epic-MRA Polling and commissioned by the Michigan state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

    Forty-seven percent of respondents said that they backed legalizing marijuana “by taxing it and regulating it like alcohol.” An additional 16 percent of respondents endorsed “replac[ing] criminal penalties for marijuana offenses with a fine” only. Another four percent of respondents supported an outright “repeal” of all state criminal penalties for cannabis offenses.

    Only 26 percent of those polled said that supported continuing the present system of state criminal penalties for marijuana offenses. Under state law, the possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

    Six hundred likely voters participated in the survey, which has a margin of error of ±4 percent.

    Lansing voters will decide this fall in favor of a municipal initiative repealing criminal and civil penalties involving the adult possession of cannabis by adults on private property. Last year, voters in four Michigan cities — Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Ypsilanti– all voted overwhelmingly in favor of municipal measures to depenalize marijuana offenses.

    15 responses to “Michigan: Most Voters Favor Eliminating Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Offenses”

    1. Scott says:

      What efforts are being done to get legalization on a state wide ballot/vote? How early can a state wide vote take place ?

    2. scott says:

      they decriminalized in the 70’s and look how that worked out after Reagan came into power. “Marijuana is the worst drug out there” is what he said. If you don’t legalize now what do you think is going to happen when Honey boo boo is elected?

    3. Anonymous1 says:

      Keep the good news comin’. Makes my day a teeny bit brighter.

    4. Why? says:

      Excuse me, but why is the question being asked about regulating cannabis like alcohol? Alcohol is the most dangerous drug known to humans. Its consumption totally incapacitates the human and destroys brain cells. Thousands die each year because of it. It is highly addictive and destructive. Women are date raped on this drug. There is no comparison between alcohol and cannabis. Comparing it will only encourage already racist and ignorant officials to create rules and laws like blood tests for THC!

    5. Mtoot says:

      Why – agreed from the perspective of a savvy cannabis consumer but remember that people unfamiliar have only alcohol as a point of reference. In their minds, drinking a beer is no big deal so the logical comparison is to equate it to mild alcohol consumption ( while I agree with everything you said)

    6. whynot says:

      Get it to the same level and let science tell people the answer of fact to help them understand the fascist politicians and vote for the real american peoples president; get past this bs of a two party system.

    7. Miles says:

      @Why? – I believe the main reason that people always seem to think marijuana should be regulated like alcohol, in spite of the fact that marijuana is about 1000 times safer, is because there are a lot of uneducated people out there that are more likely to go along with that as opposed to outright legalization.

      The more educated one is on the subject, the more likely they are to support outright legalization, but to get the most support some compromise is necessary. My hope would be that if it were, at least in the beginning, regulated in a manner similar to alcohol, that eventually the laws could be changed yet again to truly reflect it’s true dangers and harms; which, of course, are extremely minimal…

    8. Joel: the other Joel says:

      80 percent do not like to be politically treated as criminals in a state were they felt like they are under a lifetime of probation and to be treated as such with threats of drug testing and being hassle with home invading searches by the State Police Swat Team and having a family dog killed by them because they barked and showed disrespect to the loud armed commandoes with their armored gear and finger on the trigger. Who made cannabis dangerous?

    9. Demonhype says:

      @Why?: You’re probably right about them coming up with BS rules and laws like blood tests for THC, except for the blood tests. They’d probably just use the typical drug tests they use now, that are highly inaccurate, unreliable, and don’t actually test for impairment. Because most people are so ignorant of how drug tests work they actually think it “keeps them safe” by keeping “impaired” people out of the workplace, even though all it does is mostly detect whether or not someone has at some point in the last month to three months used a bit of MJ (detection for the hard drugs is a complete joke–it simply doesn’t detect them because of the narrow detection times).

      And the drug testing companies, that started their businesses in the eighties under Reagan with skewed data and outright lies, riding on both moral panic and public ignorance of how drug testing works, will jump right on board. And will probably use those tests to “prove” that MJ users are “much worse” than alcohol users and “cause more accidents” because most people won’t realize that those positive tests are for month-old metabolytes and had no impact on, say, causing the car accident that happened yesterday. That way, the dishonest drug testing companies can both preserve their dishonest business, possibly expand it to become mandatory for all people applying for a driver’s license, and maybe even create a whole new ream of fraudulent data they can use to push a new wave of public moral panic and ignorance and force a new wave of physical violation onto the American public that will reach even further than it does now.

      And the alcohol companies will love it, because it would create the illusion that MJ is more dangerous rather than less dangerous than their own product.

      I mean, why would they bother with blood tests, which are more expensive and are going to cause more ruckus, rather than use the tests commonly used now, that people have been acclimated to accept and that people are so ignorant of that they trust it absolutely to screen out drug users despite robust evidence that it does not, in fact, screen out drug users–quite the opposite?


    10. Demonhype says:

      Forgot to add: This is one of the reasons I think strong opposition to drug testing is going to be crucial in protecting and cementing our legalization efforts. Drug testing was based on lies and deliberately skewed data designed to make those lies look true, and it continues that way, and I think the scam that is drug testing is going to be the final battleground they use to fight legalization on several levels: By ensuring that anyone who avails themselves of legal MJ will be unemployable, and by playing their newly acquired lies and skewed data against public ignorance of how drug testing works and why it doesn’t actually work at all.

      Which is why I think raising awareness of the realities of drug testing is going to be extremely important if we’re going to maintain our victories in legalization.