Michigan Townhalls

District Atlas
Do you support decriminalization of recreational marijuana? - from the 2016 Michigan Voter Guide

It’s funny. To most people it seems this has pretty much become a non-issue. But for me it’s difficult. Think about it, I’ve been against the presence, use, sale and anything associated with marijuana for my entire adult life. I went into the Air Force two months after my twenty-second birthday. I started routine, random, unexpected drug testing immediately and it carried on for the next thirty years. I sat on discharge boards for people “smoking dope”. I saw people receive Article 15s, my wife was in the legal office and helped prosecute then defend marijuana users. This is one question that’s difficult to change my thinking on.

So, here’s the thing. The train has already left the station and there’s no turning it around. Eventually marijuana use will be legal in all its forms in Michigan. Recreational, medical, hemp for rope and a million other uses. I’ve seen several studies that say the health impacts are significant and more than tobacco. But I don’t know that that outweighs the public’s demand to make this stuff available. So, maybe we need to regulate it, ensure maximum levels of THC, ensure proper tax revenue is collected, ensure sufficient law enforcement and security around stores which sell marijuana. I do know that my home town of Chesaning is anticipating an economic boom, up to 300 jobs from a grow plant. That’s good for our town. But, do I “support” legislation? I can’t bring myself to say “I support it”. But, would I stand in its way or vote against it? No. That’s like trying to stand in the way of the tide.