Heard in Lansing: Placing a tax on marijuana? - KMSP-TV

Heard in Lansing: Placing a tax on marijuana?

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -

A growing number of Michigan cities have voted to decriminalize marijuana, so now talks have begun to pick up in Lansing about the possibility of taxing the substance.

Watch Fox 2's Tim Skubick's report in the video player above or read it below.


"The medical marijuana community actually wants to be taxed," believes Representative Mike Callton.

But the House Republican Speaker says, not so fast, and the Senate Republican leader says such talk about all this is premature but he's still open to it long term, but does not want to tax medical grass.

"So if we talk about recreational use, or we talk about taxation at that point, I don't know. I think everything would be on the table, but I think it would have to be part of the discussion," says Senator Randy Richardville.  

There are some who believe grass should be treated like beer, alcohol and cigarettes - all taxed by the state.

"Let's treat this more or less like alcohol. Let's treat it more or less, according to its potential harm, and for adult use, let's make sure that our regulations and our taxes are roughly similar to how we treat alcohol," Representative Jeff Irwin says.

This Republican lawmaker contends, just look at all the cities in Michigan, including Ferndale, that have lowered the penalties, and in Colorado this week they slapped a hefty tax on grass there.

"I think it's a political winner. 63 percent of people voted for Michigan Medical Marijuana Act; 37 percent of people voted against it. If I'm a politician and I'm just thinking about votes, who do you want to hang out with? 63 or 37?" says Callton.

So does the speaker rule the tax out?

"The conversation needs to be about what's the right policy, decriminalizing, legalizing, etc. We need to have that debate about what the right policy is for our society. Whether we tax it or not is the last question we should ask, not the first one,"  Representative Jase Bolger says.

Clearly it will not happen tomorrow, but some say its only a matter of time before the state taxes mary jane.

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