Chamber Blocks Extremist Efforts to Ban Fracking; Proposal to Legalize Marijuana Still in the Mix

June 6, 2016

With the deadline for groups hoping to get an initiative petition certified for the Nov. 2016 ballot now behind us, only one group remains standing. The deadline was last Wednesday, June 1. 

Thanks to the Michigan Chamber’s efforts to educate voters on the dangers of ballot proposals to increase the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) from 6 to 11 percent, ban hydraulic fracturing, and mandate paid sick leave, all of the organizations hoping to pursue these proposals folded. 

The only group that managed to file signatures was MILegalize, a group hoping to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Michigan. However, it remains unclear whether the issue will indeed make it on the ballot because the group collected over 50 percent of their signatures outside the statutorily-mandated 180-day window. MILegalize is expected to push the Board of State Canvassers to accept their stale signatures and, if they fail, will likely file a lawsuit with the hope of getting their issue on the November ballot.

If adopted by voters, the MILegalize proposal would legalize marijuana and marijuana-infused products for anyone over 21 years of age and impose a 10 percent excise tax on retail sales. Local units of government, not the state, would have complete regulatory and zoning authority, meaning there potentially could be over 1,800 local laws regulating the recreational use of marijuana in Michigan. The language prohibits the Legislature from enacting “per se” standards for drugged driving (e.g., blood-THC limits) and raises a host of concerns and liability exposure for employers with drug-free workplace policies.

The Michigan Chamber is opposed to the MILegalize ballot proposal and other efforts to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana as it would threaten the ability of employers to maintain a safe and drug-free workplace.

Please contact Wendy Block, Director of Health Policy & Human Resources, with any questions at wblock@michamber.com.