News & Media

MSMS Opposes Recreational Marijuana Ballot Initiative

Thursday, August 30, 2018

This November, Michigan voters will be faced with the decision to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. If the ballot measure is approved, Michigan would become the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize marijuana, although it remains illegal under federal law. During the 2018 House of Delegates, MSMS membership approved policy that further cements existing policy recognizing marijuana as a public health problem and calls on MSMS to oppose the ballot initiative due to the known, as well as the unknown, adverse health impacts of marijuana, particularly in the adolescent population.

While the ballot measure would only allow adults 21 and older to possess, use and grow marijuana, other states that have legalized recreational marijuana have witnessed an increase in youth marijuana use. Moreover, there is still much we don’t know about the health impacts of marijuana and, consistent with MSMS policy on medical marijuana, our position is that further research on the short and long-term effects (positive and negative) of marijuana is critical before we move forward with any policies to legalize its use.

Additional details of the November ballot proposal include:

  • Allow adults 21 and older to possess, use and grow certain amounts of marijuana.
  • Impose a 10 percent excise tax at the retail level and the 6 percent sales tax on marijuana sales.
  • Split those revenues with 35 percent going to K-12 education, 35 percent to roads, 15 percent to the communities that allow marijuana businesses in their communities and 15 percent to counties where marijuana businesses are located.
  • Allow local governments, or electors via ballot proposal, to decide whether to limit or ban marijuana businesses.
  • Restrict purchases of marijuana for recreational purposes to 2.5 ounces but allow individuals to keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana in their homes and cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use.
  • Require the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to regulate and license marijuana businesses, ranging from growers, transporters, testers and dispensaries

MSMS has created this briefing paper for members to use when discussing the ballot proposal with patients. To support MSMS's opposition, please contribute to the Michigan Doctors Political Action Committee (MDPAC).