GRAND RAPIDS, Mich: A bill, introduced by Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, would prohibit people from growing marijuana in their own homes.
Meekhof also wants to lower the tax rate on marijuana from 10 percent to three percent. All this comes, less than a week before recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Michigan.
It's pretty tough to get a super majority in both the House and the Senate, and that's what it'll take to pass Meekhof's bill. The legislature had the opportunity to approve or amend the proposal earlier this year, but instead, sent the measure to the ballot box.
"It's troubling, it's very troubling," MI Legalize organizer Tami VandenBerg said.
A historic vote for Michigan is now on the chopping block.
"I shouldn't be surprised. I think it's more accurate to say I'm extremely disappointed," Josh Hovey with The Coalition To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said.
Meekhof's bill introduced in the lame duck session, effectively changed Proposal 1.
In a statement, the senator's office said: "The state regulates alcohol and tobacco and it should also regulate marijuana. Meekhof respects the voters desire to decriminalize marijuana use, but he believes it still requires the state to regulate the substance."
"This is very much a slap in the face to the voters," VandenBerg said.
This Senate bill would not allow citizens to grow their own marijuana plants,
"That cannot be changed. That is a fundamental right, I believe; that's fundamentally American," VandenBerg said.
It would change the excise tax from 10 percent to three percent.
"It's troubling, our schools desperately need funds, our roads need funds and so this is really a slap in the face to people that voted for this who are not going to benefit economically or who are not users," VandenBerg said.
The bill wouldalso not allow micro-dispensaries.
"To remove that piece of it and to just hand everything over to giant business interest is-- it's terrible," VandenBerg said.
It would mandate a marijuana licensing board, similar to the state's current medical marijuana board.
"State regulators at LARA are very good at their job and are perfectly capable of regulating cannabis businesses without the use of a board," Hovey said.
Lawmakers had the ability to make changes to this initiative several months ago once the signatures were certified.
"They sent it to the voters and said 'you guys decide' and the voters spoke and now they're completely going against the will of the people of Michigan," Hovey said.
Senate Bill 1243 was referred to the Committee on Government Operations. There is no timeline for when the committee will hear that legislation.
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