Instead of sending it to the ballot, Michigan lawmakers could vote to legalize recreational use of marijuana next week.

(Source: MLive)

This could happen all under a plan being forwarded by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive.

"I'm proposing that we adopt it and amend it and put it right under the (medical) marijuana law and regulate it," Meekhof said Thursday.

He has the votes in the Senate, he said, and is working with other lawmakers in the House to get around the opposition of House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt.

Legalizing recreational marijuana hasn't always been a priority for Republicans. But a citizen-led ballot initiative called Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has gathered enough signatures to get the marijuana legalization law they've crafted onto a statewide ballot, where polling suggests the issue would be popular among Michigan voters.

But first, it goes to the state legislature. By Tuesday lawmakers are poised to either act as Meekhof has suggested or not act, which would send the issue to the statewide ballot.

So why the potential legislative pot legalization?

As proposed, the initiative would legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use. Those over 21 could use marijuana, but would still be unable to consume it in a public place or drive under the influence.

Michigan Republicans could vote to legalize recreational marijuana next week

LANSING, MI - Michigan lawmakers could vote to legalize recreational marijuana next week instead of sending it to the ballot under a plan being forwarded by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive. "I'm proposing that we adopt it and amend it and put it right under the (medical) marijuana law and regulate it," Meekhof said Thursday.