Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposal 1 (2008)

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The Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposal 1 (2008) was on the November 2008 ballot in Michigan as an initiated state statute, where it was approved.

Proposal 1 enacted the allowance of the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients.


See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Michigan

Proposed legislation

In January 2010 Michigan lawmakers, mostly Republicans according to reports, said they were planning on changing the approved measure because it requires "clarification to ensure there's enough oversight of the research and marijuana use the ballot measures allowed." Lawmakers supporting the changes argue that the legislation is not an attempt to end the supply of marijuana to current patients but instead to implement a process to inspect marijuana growers and verify they're staying within their 12-plant limit. Medical marijuana supporters, however, fear that the new legislation could undermine the goal of the voter-approved Proposal 1.[1]

In late August 2010 Rep. Rick Jones introduced House Bill 6394. The bill would prohibit the organization of a "marijuana club" or "marijuana bar." The bill, however, is one of seven bills pending in the Michigan Legislature to create new rules regarding medical marijuana.[2]

In late June 2011 Rep. John Walsh, Attorney General Bill Schuette and other lawmakers re-introduced the need for reform. Walsh argues that confusion about the law has cost taxpayers money. The law, he said, is unevenly enforced by prosecutors, law enforcement and judges. Walsh and House Republicans announced that they plan to further discuss the matter in Fall 2011 and/or 2012. Proposed changes include: prohibiting patient-to-patient transaction; require plants to be enclosed, locked facilities; allow access of medical marijuana patient registries to law enforcement; clarify zoning guidelines.[3]

6 month moratorium

During Summer 2010, some local governments including the Battle Creek City Commission approved a six-month moratorium on new medical marijuana operations while officials considered future regulations. According to reports in December 2010, city officials considered zoning and licensing laws.[4]

The city of Protage considered a 6 month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries. The council held a first reading on December 21, 2010 and was scheduled to hold a second hearing on the issue on January 11, 2011.[5]

Michigan Supreme Court hearing

In June 2011 the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear two marijuana related cases. According to reports, this marks the first time that the state's high court will weigh in on the 2008 voter-approved ballot measure. Specifically, the cases involve people who have been charged with crimes for their medicinal use of marijuana. One case originated in Shiawassee County, while the other was in Oakland County. Originally the drug charges were dismissed by trial judges, however, the charges were restored when the cases were heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals.[6]

Storage of marijuana plants

On June 28, 2011 Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion regarding the storage of marijuana plants in an effort to further clarify the 2008 approved measure. According to reports, the marijuana law allows for patients to grow up to 12 plants and caregivers with permits to grow up to 12 for each of their five patients. However, on June 28, Schuette said plants for each of caregivers patients must be stored in separate locked storage facilities. The opinion was effective June 28 and according to the attorney general, up to local prosecutors to enforce.[3]

Election results

Michigan Proposal 1 (Medical Marijuana)
Approveda Yes 3,008,980 63%

Results according to the Michigan Secretary of State[7]

Specific provisions

Specifically, the measure enacted the following provisions:

  • Allow terminally and seriously ill patients to use marijuana with their doctors' approval.
  • Permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana for their medical use, with limits on the amount they could possess.
  • Create identification cards for registered patients and establish penalties for false statements and fraudulent ID cards.
  • Allow patients and their caregivers who are arrested to discuss their medical use in court.
  • Maintain prohibitions on public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana.


The official ballot Committee in support of the initiative was the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care (MCCC).[8] Former state representative Dianne Byrum (D) is chairwoman of the coalition.

In February 2008, delegates at the Michigan Democratic Party Convention unanimously passed a resolution in favor of protecting patients from arrest.[9]

Michigan has already passed local medical marijuana initiatives in five cities—Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, and Traverse City—and by large margins.

Other supporting organizations

  • Marijuana Policy Project[10],
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) - Michigan Chapter[11],
  • StoptheDrugWar.com[12]
  • American Academy of HIV Medicine
  • American Bar Association
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Aids Action Council
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • Lymphoma Foundation of America
  • National Association of People With Aids
  • National Association of Attorneys General[13]

Arguments in favor

Notable arguments made in support of the measure included:

  • Prevents people from being threatened with prison for trying to relieve pain from a serious illness
  • Some people are unable to take other drugs and marijuana is the only drug that alleviates a debilitating condition such as nausea or inability to eat.[14]
  • The law is narrow in scope as it deals only with medical marijuana
  • Requires a doctors certification of need to be covered under law
  • There is a mandatory state registration system in place to assure the law is not abused.


  • Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Kids
  • Michigan Court of Appeals Judge William Schuette,[15]
  • Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard
  • Milton Abraham Agay, president of the West Michigan Association of Chief's of Police.[16]
  • Scott Burns, U.S. deputy drug czar[17]

Arguments against

Notable arguments made in opposition to the measure included:

  • There is a drug on the market called Marinol that has similar effects and is prescribed.
  • Smoking a substance brings additional health risks.
  • Teens would have greater access to marijuana.
  • Places to purchase medical marijuana could open up in strip malls.
  • Legalizing as medicine may send conflicting messages to kids regarding marijuana's potentially harmful effects

State medical society takes a neutral position

The Michigan Medical Society took a neutral position on this ballot measure, as well as on two other initiatives related to health care at its annual delegates meeting in early May 2008.[18]

Polling results

See also Polls, 2008 ballot measures.

A Detroit Free Press/Local 4 poll taken from Oct. 28 to Oct. 31, 2008, showed 61% of respondents approving the measure, with 30% opposed. The poll, conducted by Selzer & Co. Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa, had a sample of 616 people and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.[19]

An Oct. 26-28 poll of 600 likely voters by EPIC-MRA for The Detroit News and TV stations WXYZ, WILX, WOOD and WJRT found 57% favoring the medical marijuana proposal and 36% opposed. That poll also had a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.[19]

An early October 2008 poll of likely Michigan voters condicted by Denno Noor Research, The Rossman Group, and Michigan Information and Research Service claimed "58 percent of Michigan's voters favor the ballot initiative while 33 percent do not."[16] The poll has a margin of ewrror of plus or minus four percentage points.[20]

A Detroit Free Press-Local 4 Michigan Poll shows 66% of respondents in favor of Proposal 2, with 25% opposed and 9% undecided. The poll, conducted Sept. 22-24, 2008, was based on telephone interviews with 602 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.[21]

A poll by Marketing Resource Group in March 2008 showed 67% of voters saying they supported medical marijuana and 62% voicing approval for this particular initiative. Voters between 34 and 54 showed 75% support for medical marijuana, with 63% of retirees voicing support. Younger voters (18 to 34) were the least supportive, with 61% backing the measure.

Campaign funding

The biggest donor to the campaign, as of campaign finance reports filed for the first quarter of 2008, is the Marijuana Policy Project, which had contributed $1,240,460.07 at that time.[22]

Below is information on the amount of funds raised for and against Proposal 1:[23]

Ballot measure committee Total
Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care (for) $2,013,393
Citizens Protecting Michigans Kids (against) $304,031

See also

Suggest a link


External links

Additional reading


  1. Associated Press,"Mich. legislators tinker with voter-approved laws," January 23, 2010
  2. Daily Press & Argus,"Bill would outlaw medical marijuana bars, clubs," September 15, 2010
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Detroit News,"House Republicans, AG seek to clarify Michigan's marijuana law," June 28, 2011
  4. Battle Creek Enquirer,"B.C. not alone in dealing with medical marijuana issue," December 12, 2010
  5. Kalamazoo Gazette,"City of Portage considers 6-month moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries," January 4, 2011
  6. The Michigan Messenger,"Michigan Supreme Court will hear medical marijuana cases," June 23, 2011
  7. Michigan Department of State: "Election Results"
  8. Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care
  9. Michigan medical marijuana initiative campaign underway, Marijuana Policy Project, August 22, 2007
  10. Michigan medical marijuana initiative campaign underway, Marijuana Policy Project, August 22, 2007
  11. Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
  12. Michigan medical marijuana campaign needs your urgent help, Stop the Drug War, 9/26/07
  13. MCCC Brochure: "Vote YES on Medical Marijuana," September 24, 2008
  14. Detroit News: "Michigan to vote on legalizing marijuana for medical use," April 29, 2008
  15. Detroit Free Press: "Fight against medical marijuana is on," Oct. 2, 2008
  16. 16.0 16.1 Niles Star: "Proposal I - 'high' stakes," Oct. 11, 2008
  17. Grand Rapids Press: "Deputy drug czar will blast marijuana ballot issue in Grand Rapids stop Monday," Oct. 12, 2008
  18. Detroit News: "Medical Society takes 'neutral' position on stem cell ballot initiative," May 4, 2008
  19. 19.0 19.1 Associated Press: "Poll: Stem cell, medical marijuana led in Michigan," Nov. 2, 2008
  20. WATZ-Radio News, Oct. 11, 2008
  21. Detroit Free Press: "Michigan voters support use of medical marijuana, stem cells," Sept. 30, 2008
  22. Campaign Finance Report, Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care
  23. National Institute on Money in State Politics,"PROPOSAL 08-1: Allows For The Use Of Medical Marijuana," accessed August 19, 2009