Letter: Legalized pot bad for Michigan

The Detroit News

In just over a month, Michiganians  will go to the polls and vote on proposal 18-1, which would allow individuals over the age of 21 to possess 140 joints, and use and sell marijuana candies, cookies and other highly potent edibles and concentrates. This would be a major mistake that will impact our state for years to come.

Similar to many legalization efforts, it’s come to voters fast, with a lot of promises and few facts. This is the runaway train of the marijuana industry: Push through legislation before people know the true implications of what it means to allow full-scale commercialization.

Recently, pro-pot groups released a report on marijuana revenues, claiming the state would reap the benefits from “regulating” marijuana. But they got their math wrong. Pot legalization would cost Michigan much more than it would ever bring in — in the form of car crashes, school dropout rates, workplace problems, and other issues.

Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, is still struggling to fund a massive budget deficit while the state’s education budget continues to be underfunded and school teachers have gone on strike.

In Illinois, one report projected economic and social costs of marijuana legalization would be  $670.5 million, exceeding projected benefits by over 118 percent.

Expanded commercial pot products come with a cost.  

In fact, as evidenced in other states, legalization of recreational marijuana will impose significant costs on taxpayers, resulting from workplace losses, car crashes, lost tourism revenue, administrative enforcement and a multitude of other issues. 

Drug use and its consequences already cost U.S. taxpayers over $193 billion a year in lost productivity, health and safety costs. Companies in states such as Colorado are struggling to find employees who can pass drug tests. The picture for business isn’t pretty.

What’s worse? There are many more costs that can’t be quantified yet, including greater marijuana use among children, controlling an expanded black market, sales to minors, second-hand pot smoke and other issues. 

A customer purchases marijuana at Harborside marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. Recreational marijuana became legal in California on Jan. 1, 2018.

The only ones getting rich from this “social experiment” is the marijuana industry and its “people over profits” business model. State governments and society lose money whenever pot is legalized.

And this isn’t your parent’s marijuana, folks — there isn’t a cap on potency. If this passes it means we’re dealing with high potency marijuana, and the effects and implications aren’t known.

Just last week, Healthy and Productive Michigan announced over 200 Michigan families, law enforcement, nonprofits, faith communities, substance abuse programs, young adults and senior citizens are saying no to this measure.

Join me in protecting Michigan. 

Brian Ellis, CEO

Brooktree Capital Management