A trio of ballot proposals will be considered by voters in the November general election and Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) urges farmers to cast a ‘no’ vote on all three issues.
“The proposals run counter to our member-developed policies,” said Matt Kapp, MFB’s Government Relations Specialist. “The legislative committee of our Michigan Farm Bureau board of directors affirmed that by endorsing a ‘no’ vote on the proposals, and now we’re encouraging county Farm Bureaus to share this information with members.”
The first proposal voters will consider would legalize the personal possession, use and growing of marijuana products, as well as implement commercial production and distribution rules. It also prescribes the amount of plants or product an individual may possess, creates a state licensing system, permits certain retail sales, and decreases several related violations from criminal to civil infractions.
While MFB’s policy on health issues succinctly and clearly states the organization is opposed to legalization of recreational marijuana, Kapp explained further.
“Some concerns coming from the business community, including agriculture, are the safety risks and consequences associated with employees under the influence of marijuana products while operating farm equipment and technology,” he said.
Read the official language as it will appear on the ballot.
Next to appear on the ballot is a proposal to change how the state determines boundaries for Michigan Senate, Michigan House of Representatives and Congressional districts.
MFB’s elections policy supports the longstanding Apol standards, which are non-partisan and, in their most elemental form, are population and geographically driven to ensure that when districts are redrawn they do not fracture counties, cities or townships.
Proposal 2 would eliminate the Apol standards and establish a citizen commission with exclusive authority to create new redistricting criteria and adopt new district boundaries every 10 years.
“Michigan operated under a similar redistricting commission structure prior to the establishment of Apol standards and it resulted in nothing but expensive, drawn out court battles,” Kapp said. “And I don’t think anyone in Michigan, including Farm Bureau members, would want that.”
“We’re also concerned by references to so-called ‘communities of interest’. It could lead to districts being drawn based on a demographics such as social class, ethnicity, gender or age to falsely influence the make-up of House or Senate candidates.”
The third and final proposal seeks to change voter registration and election law by allowing:
MFB’s elections policy opposes shortening the voter registration deadline.
“When you talk about shortening the voter registration deadline that much there is some fear of voter fraud,” Kapp said. “And beyond that, our organization has for decades believed in utilizing the legislative process and avoiding amending the state constitution via ballot proposals.”
“While MFB’s policy does not directly address straight-ticket voting and no-reason absentee ballot voting,” he added. “Some would argue that Michigan already has adequate absentee ballot voting options.”