By Randy Richardville // Former Michigan senate majority leader
Proposition 18-1 to legalize recreational marijuana is nothing more than a fast track for an industry that consistently puts profits over people, and money over public health.
Between a drugged workforce and an inability to find clean workers, Proposition 18-1 means more headaches for employers across the state.
Workforce issues are everywhere but introduce legalized recreational pot and it will only get worse. It’s becoming considerably more difficult to sustain a workforce with employees who can’t pass drug tests. Consider Colorado, the first state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Workers there are testing positiveat much higher rates than in states that haven’t commercialized. One company in Colorado has had to cross borders to find workers who are clean of the drug. Is that what we want for the Michigan jobs?
And there is more. Since legalization measures passed nationally, workplace marijuana use has spiked, increasing 178 percent in four years and marijuana users are more likely to miss work and have disciplinary problems. Even when controlling for alcohol use, pot users are 40 percent more likely to miss a day of work in the last month due to illness or injury. They are also 106 percent more likely to miss a day of work because they just didn’t want to be there.
A 2014 surveyshowed that 10% of Americans admit having gone to work stoned. Legal pot poses unique dangers to the workplace: greater negative impact on workplace performance than alcohol, easily concealed, and longer-lasting effects. Marijuana legalization opens the door to myriad lawsuits against employers. The marijuana industryhas vowed to make employee “rights” to pot use a priority.
But it isn’t just the workforce. Proposition 18-1 will impact life all around us. And like many legalization efforts, the movement is full of misinformation. Here are a few facts:
- This isn’t your father’s pot. The fact is, today’s marijuana is much more potent – and harmful – than in the past. The pot industry routinely sells products with THC up to 99% potent; the weed of Woodstock was only 5% THC.
- People can possess 140 jointson their person at one time,
- It would legalize and commercialize pot infused gummies, candies, sodas, and other edibles.Storefronts and shops will be filled with these brightly-colored and harmless-looking products that attract the eyes of children: A target of Big Marijuana just like Big Tobacco several decades ago.
- Pro-pot groups are claiming the state would reap the benefits of state regulation, but 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 deficitwhile the state’s education budget continues to be underfunded and school teachers have gone on strike.
- New data released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds car crashes are up a combined six percent in four states that have legalized marijuana compared with the states surrounding them that haven’t legalized.
- According to the National Institutes of Health,70% of today’s illegal drug users started offwith marijuana.
Legalizing marijuana has led to a host of unintended consequences. Big Marijuana has led the public to begin to believe that there are no risks to using marijuana.
The great state of Michigan should not have to jeopardize taxpayers, youth, and future generations by subjecting itself to the commercialization of marijuana. Take a step back and look at the experiences of other states. Drugged driving, higher potency pot all over our streets, edibles in front of our kids, a failing work force—is this what Michigan wants?