Will Michigan lawmakers take action on recreation pot proposal? - WNEM TV 5

Will Michigan lawmakers take action on recreation pot proposal?

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Will the state legislature approve recreational marijuana in Michigan or will voters decide?

Tuesday is the deadline for the legislature to act and vote to legalize recreational marijuana or leave the decision up to voters in November.

Supporters turned in more than 300,000 petition signatures for a ballot proposal that would legalize and regulate pot for all Michigan residents 21 and older.

Many state Senate Republicans opposed to the measure had floated the idea of approving recreational marijuana, so they could amend it. However, many of those lawmakers, including Senator Mike Nofs of Battle Creek, admit there likely won't be enough support in the Michigan House to pass it.

Nofs, like other Republican senators, dealt with amending the medical marijuana law voters approved in 2008. The citizen-written law had vagueness that resulted in court cases, uneven enforcement across the state, and eventually, legislative changes.

Nofs said the flaws in the medical marijuana bill could re-surface in the recreational pot proposal if not addressed by lawmakers.

"The initiative wasn't well written. I think there a lot of things we learned from that process," Nofs said. 

Many proponents, including Representative Jon Hoadley, D- Kalamazoo, insist lawmakers shouldn't touch the current proposal, just yet.

"Let's let the voices of the hundreds of thousands who signed the petition to be heard. If there are any problems in November, we can go back and take a look and fix it," Hoadley said. 

As proposed, the initiative would legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use. Those over 21 could use marijuana, but would still be unable to consume it in a public place or drive under the influence. 

Under the proposal, marijuana businesses would need state permits and communities could decide where such businesses could operate, similar to the medical marijuana law passed in 2008.

Lawmakers have concerns about the proposal, though, and laws approved by voters are difficult for the legislature to amend.

Per the Michigan constitution, it takes a three-fourths vote of the state legislature to amend a voter-approved law, while laws passed by the legislature can be amended with a simple majority vote.

Copyright 2018 CBS News / WWMT. All rights reserved. 

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