GOP Lawmakers in Michigan Considering Tying Cannabis Legalization to Income Tax Bill

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Republican lawmakers in Michigan are considering tying recreational cannabis legalization to a bill to cut the state’s income tax amid fears that having the issue on November’s ballot will drive voter turnout, especially among young voters who tend to vote Democrat, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Republicans working on the plan to cut the state’s 4.25 percent income tax say cannabis legalization would make up for the losses to state coffers by including a 10 percent excise on top of the state’s 6 percent sales tax.

The plan would also give lawmakers more control over what legalization looks like and how it is implemented. However, one House Republican said the party doesn’t have the votes for cannabis legalization. Speaker of the House Tom Leonard said he doesn’t see the caucus taking up the measure.

“That is crazy. I don’t see the marijuana petition going up on the (voting) board.” – An unnamed House Republican to the Free Press

Democrats also don’t want legalization to occur through the legislature because they fear voters would see it as subversion and don’t want the proposal amended. If legalization were approved by lawmakers they would need a simple majority to amend it; if passed by the public it would require three-fourths of the legislature to approve any changes.

“Either way, we’re not on board.” – Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich to the Free Press

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group behind the ballot initiative, expects to deal with legislative changes. Spokesman Josh Hovey indicated the group was “fine” with the legislature passing the reforms so long as they are “passed one way or another.”

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