Michigan Decriminalization Bill

Some big news hit the Wolverine State earlier this week, as it was announced that Democratic State Representative Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor had introduced legislation that would decriminalize marijuana within the Michigan’s borders.

Under Irwin’s proposed law, Michiganders would not be jailed if they were in possession of one ounce or less of cannabis. Instead, those found with cannabis would be subject to a small fine.

Think about that for a second. Lawmakers in OUR state are actually thinking about decriminalization!

This would reduce the number of people jailed throughout the state who were caught with a meaningless amount of cannabis. Our state would reap the benefits of not spending money to convict those who committed a victimless crime. Irwin says that the state is currently spending about $300 to prosecute and jail those in possession. That is a burden we can certainly live without.

Now I’m not saying that decriminalization is the answer to all of our problems within the state in regards to marijuana. We could do a lot better by legalizing, taxing, and regulating cannabis. This would generate a lot of money and jobs… but I feel that decriminalization is the first step toward that goal.

One peculiarity that I failed to mention is the fact that this bill has bi-partisan support. Given the political gridlock that we have all become familiar with in recent years, I find this to be a sign that this bill will be passed. You can’t get something done solo, and getting Republicans on board will help ease this bill through both Houses.

It will be interesting to see what Governor Synder does if this gets to him. He seems to be a wild card, and one can’t help but think that the money the state would save by not having to worry about prosecutions is a tempting carrot.

My prediction? Marijuana becomes a civil, rather than criminal infraction by the end of this year. I also believe that if this is passed, voters in 2016 will move to legalize cannabis.

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