Skubick: Legislators may take legal marijuana decision out of voter hands


There is growing evidence that Michigan voters will not get a chance to vote on legalization of marijuana.  

There are indications that, for the first time, negotiations between the House and Senate are underway to have lawmakers approve it instead.
Senate Republican leader Arlan Meekhof continues to quietly push for a House and Senate vote to legalize pot even though the House Republican speaker reports the 55 votes are not there.

“There is only a handful of votes in my caucus to do this,” said Speaker of the House Rep. Tom Leonard.

The Speaker now says there might be two dozen plus votes and, even though he is a no vote, it would allow a vote if the count gets to 55.

Republican Senator Mike Shirkey is engaged in talks with Republican Representative Lee Chatfield,  who was on the Senate floor today on this issue.

“We’ve been talking openly with House members making sure they understand what the constitutional obligations are,” said Sen. Shirkey.  “We won’t throw in the towel until the last dog dies.”

House members will be told that if they don’t vote to legalize pot and the voters approve it in November, than any changes the lawmakers want to make will take over 80 votes to do.

Mr. Chatfield thinks it might be better for lawmakers to make the changes now when only 55 votes are required.

“I think it’s important that we have a framework in place to regulate marijuana and see what other states have done and amend it if necessary, as the peoples’ chamber moving forward,” said Rep. Chatfield. “That’s the best way to deal with these sorts of issues.”

The two Republicans don’t have much time left to resolve this but if they do Michigan voters won’t get a chance to legalize pot.  

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