Michigan Legislature Votes To Preemptively Ban Marijuana-Infused Beer

October 03, 2018 - 10:03 am

LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Legislation going to Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature would prohibit marijuana-infused alcoholic drinks in Michigan.

The state House approved the bill Tuesday, on a 101-4 vote. The measure would bar the use, possession or sale of marijuana-infused beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks -- with an exception for research institutions.

Supporters say the bill is a preemptive move in case Michigan voters next month legalize marijuana for recreational use. 

State Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), who introduced the legislation, said he didn't want to wait to see what voters decide.

"Why would you let a diaster happen and then try to play cleanup?" Jones said, in an interview with WWJ Newsradio 950's Sandra McNeill. "It's so much better to be preemptive."

He believes that marijuana-infused alcohol could exacerbate the problem of drunken driving. 

“Bar owners and bartenders have said that this would be a recipe for disaster,” said Jones. “They have enough trouble judging intoxication levels now without adding the element of marijuana -- especially when you consider that marijuana-infused foods can take an hour to kick in.”

Opponents, meanwhile, argue the legislation is a solution to a nonexistent problem because there is no commercial market for marijuana-infused beverages at this time. They say even if the ballot initiatives passes, liquor establishments could not sell marijuana beverages because of a federal pot ban.

Marijuana-infused alcoholic drinks are already available in Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legalized. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.