On November 6, Michigan voters will have the option to either affirm or oppose Proposal 1, an amendment to the Michigan state constitution that will legalize the use of recreational marijuana. While public opinion polls convey support for the adoption of Prop 1, a recent Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) from the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) determines that “only 21 percent of local officials” support the initiative.
In her October 9, 2018 article, Bridge magazine’s Riley Beggin reports that the enforcement and regulation of Prop 1, if passed, will create headaches for Michigan’s local government officials. Anxieties stemming from discrepancies in the business application and licensing requirements to legal enforcement training and the state’s legal liability and the effects on minority communities constitute a complex conundrum at the local level.
While supporters of Proposal 1 “estimate its passage would bring in $520 million in combined tax revenue over the first five years,” only participating municipalities will see those new funds. Tom Ivacko (MPP ’93)—the associate director of CLOSUP—suggests that many communities' officials feel the logistical burdens outweigh the financial benefits. Despite the influx of revenue, says Ivacko, it will not “be enough to make it worth the troubles” of implenting it, should the proposal pass.
Although public opinion appears to favor Proposal 1, enforcement may suffer a rocky rollout as “these officials see a different side to the industry than most citizens do.”
Involved with CLOSUP since its founding in 2001, Tom Ivacko currently serves as the Center’s associate director. Ivacko also manages the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) program at the Ford School of Public Policy.