WSW: Ahead Of Michigan Ballot Proposal, How Marijuana Legalization Has Worked In Other States

Aug 23, 2018

In this July 1, 2014, photo, a worker weighs out one-gram packets of a variety of recreational marijuana named "Space Needle," during packaging operations at Sea of Green Farms in Seattle.
Credit Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

Bridge reporter Mike Wilkinson says you can drive for long stretches in western states without realizing that marijuana is legal, but he says all of a sudden you see billboards advertising pot.

Wilkinson visited some of the western states which allow legal marijuana, and wrote about it for Bridge. Communities can choose whether or not to allow marijuana related businesses. A similar provision is in the ballot proposal to legalize marijuana that Michigan voters will decide in November. 

While he found some opposition, Wilkinson also found some towns accepting legal marijuana as a way to boost revenue. Parachute, Colorado has a conservative city council, but approved allowing sales of marijuana. Wilkinson says it’s boosted Parachute’s tax base in part because nearby Grand Junction has not allowed legalized marijuana.

The Sheriff of Humboldt County, California still sees problems with marijuana. Sheriff William Honsal told Wilkinson that the lack of restrictions on content are problematic. Honsal says higher amounts of the active ingredient THC is “blowing people’s minds.”

While polls show that the tide has been moving toward approval of legalized marijuana, Wilkinson says that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be approved in Michigan. He says lots of money will be spent and there will plenty of discussion about legalizing marijuana between now and November.