"Michigan spends an estimated $326 million a year on arresting, trying, and imprisoning people for marijuana offenses, yet such policies have proven remarkably ineffective in achieving their purpose of preventing marijuana use."
Representative Jeff Irwin (D - Ann Arbor)
Michigan State Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) called for action on House Bill 4623 to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
The bill would make possession of an ounce or less a civil infraction, punishable by a fine that would be based on whether the violation is a first, second, or third offense. Current law currently classifies possession as a misdemeanor with jail time or heavy fines as the penalty.
State Representative Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) is a co-sponsor of the bill who says he wanted to participate to show bi-partisan support for having the debate on decriminalizing marijuana.
"Much as we did with the failed prohibition of alcohol, I feel we have reached a crossroads where we need to readdress how the state will enforce some aspects of marijuana law, especially for adult use," said Shirkey. "I would need to see some of the language in this bill changed before I could vote for it, especially in regards to minors. But it is abundantly clear that the status quo regarding our laws and recreational adult use needs to be robustly analyzed, debated, and changed where prudent."