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Pot proposal, voter ballot questions lead

Buy Photo Proposal 1 would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana…

The effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use jumped out to a lead in balloting throughout Michigan, according to early returns, as two other proposals also held early leads.

Proposal 1, which would legalize small amounts of pot, held a 56.1 percent to about 43.9 percent lead, according to early returns with 13 percent of precincts across the state reporting.

Proposal 2 would create an independent commission to redistrict Michigan’s political maps, and voters gave it 58.6 percent support. And Prop 3, which would greatly facilitate access to the ballot box and reinstate straight-ticket voting, had a strong lead with 64.7 percent support in early returns.

The ballot proposals have been met with intense debate. They have drawn millions of dollars in support and opposition; prompted attack ads; and, in some cases, spawned legal battles on their path to making the November ballot.

If approved, the plan to legalize recreational marijuana – or Proposal 1 – would allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants per household.

The ballot proposal from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol would prohibit marijuana consumption or smoking in a public place or private place where the owner forbids it.

The measure allows for licensing of companies that grow, process, test, transport or sell marijuana with three classes of cultivator licenses. Municipalities would be able to prohibit or limit the number and types of facilities within their boundaries.

Proponents say the initiative aligns with a new, strong regulatory system for emerging medical marijuana businesses in Michigan, and that it could add millions annually in tax Revenue. The plan would impose a 10 percent tax on retail marijuana sales in addition to the state’s 6 percent sales tax.

In a room decked out in campaign signs and literature at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing, organizers and advocates of the The proposal was “cautiously optimistic” late Tuesday about the chances of marijuana legalization in Michigan.

Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the ballot committee, noted poll results have consistently favored the measure and “we’re just hoping that everyone gets to the polls. “

Wearing a cowboy belt buckle, a Stetson, and a T-shirt that read” Cops say legalize pot, “Howard Wooldridge joined advocates of the pot proposal in Lansing. A retired Bath Township police detective, 67-year-old Wooldridge said he felt confident about Proposal 1’s chances Tuesday.

“I’m here because I want to have my colleagues in Michigan focus on serious bad guys, pedophiles, drunk drivers and other public safety threats,” Wooldridge said. “We will do a better job going forward tonight if we stop wasting time on marijuana. “

But some advocacy groups and community leaders have come out against the plan, saying that it could lead to more crime while failing to offer solutions to social justice issues. Those include the Detroit Branch NAACP and Healthy and Productive Michigan, a committee that has been working to defeat it.

If the proposal passes, possession would become legal immediately after the law goes into effect, which would be 10 days after the election results are certified. The state would have to start accepting license applications within 1 year.

Voters also are deciding a proposed constitutional amendment that would ax Michigan’s current redistricting process – in which the party in power redraws legislative and congressional district boundaries every 10 years – in favor of an independent, 13-member commission made up of four self-identified Republicans, four Democrats and five people not affiliated with any party.

Ballot Proposal 2 has seen more than $ 1 million in campaign contributions on both sides of the measure that’s faced multiple hurdles on its path to the ballot, including disputes before the Board of State Canvassers, the state court of appeal and the Michigan Supreme Court.

In their argument before the Supreme Court, Lawyers for Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, an opposition group funded by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, argued the plan puts the task of redistricting into the hands of ra Native Appointees, instead of representatives elected by the people.

The proposal, put forward by the committee, is not Politicians, seeks to combat rerrying, the manipulation of political boundaries to ensure a certain party dominates elections.

“Absolutely, I approve of being a board of citizens who holds leverage in decision making in the drawing of districts,” said Dior Gabrielle Nicholls of Westland, 31, who works for Delta Air Lines Inc. “I’m for a proposal that promotes the end of rerrying or any steps that we can take towards eliminating that issue.”

The proposal has garnered support from celebrities and politicians and received roughly $ 13.8 million in contributions from late July through late October. But opponents contend it’s overly complex and lacks spending caps.

The redistricting commissioners would be paid at least 25 percent of the governor’s salary of $ 159,300 a year, or $ 39,820. Commissioner salaries together with consulting, legal and administrative costs would amount to at least 25 percent of the Secretary’s general fund budget, or $ 4.6 million.

The commission would convene no later than Oct. 15, 2020, the year of the next federal census, and adopt a redevelopment plan no later than Nov. 1, 2021. Michigan Freedom Fund, which has ties to the DeVos family of west Michigan, has chipped in roughly $ 2.8 million of the opposition group’s $ 3.1 million in funding.

Finally, the “Promote the Vote” initiative, or ballot Proposal 3, seeks to amend the state’s Constitution in the name of “voting rights” to allow no-reason absentee voting by mail, to reinstate straight-party voting and easy Residents register to vote up to and on Election Day.

Opponents contend it would make the state more vulnerable to voter fraud and is overly vague, creating redundancy with state and federal laws. The measure is backed by a coalition that includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the League of Women Voters of Michigan, the Detroit chapter of the NAACP, the Michigan League for Public Policy and others.

If approved, the proposal will allow state Beboers om te stemmen per mail of in persoon tot 15 dagen voor een verkiezing, vanaf 30 dagen gedekt onder de huidige wet. Voters could also register in-person with proof of residence through Election Day.

The effort also seeks to restore straight-ticket voting which was eliminated by the State Legislature, a move upheld by a panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

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Jonathan Oosting contributed

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