Livingston County Board of Commissioners
304 East Grand River Avenue
Howell, Michigan 48855
June 8, 2018
We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the resolution against the ballot proposal legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan that is before the General Government and Health and Human Services Committee. For the board to take a stand on an issue being put to voters in November is a waste of County time and resources. Furthermore, the language of the proposed resolution grossly misrepresents the risks and benefits of marijuana. The data from the state of Colorado used in the resolution is clearly cherry-picked to present a distorted image of that state’s experience with marijuana.
Michigan has allowed the use of medicinal marijuana since 2008, when voters – including a large majority in Livingston County – overwhelmingly approved a statewide ballot proposal legalizing its use. The business now generates approximately $21 million a year in tax revenue. Expanding the use of marijuana to recreational use will mean additional income for the state and county while cutting expenses. In 2017, Colorado took in $247 million from taxes on recreational marijuana. At the same time, Colorado’s court filings due to marijuana greatly decreased, resulting in cost savings for law enforcement. Michigan would no doubt see similar results.
Legalized marijuana also would provide an alternative way of addressing our growing opioid addiction problem. Studies have shown that the use of marijuana can reduce dependence on opioids by patients during recovery. Increased tax revenue from marijuana legalization also can fund more recovery centers and social services for those recovering from opioid addiction.
This resolution sends a message to the surrounding cities, potential residents, and potential businesses that Livingston County government is willing to ignore the views of the majority. Recent polls show that over 61% of Michigan residents would vote for the legalization of recreational marijuana if the election were today.
Additionally, many Michigan cities and counties are considering resolutions to welcome marijuana dispenseries and businesses. We strongly feel that Livingston County should join them in allowing these businesses to thrive in Livingston County.
We hereby request that the General Government and Health and Human Services Committee defeat this resolution.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.