Lansing Update
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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
November 2, 2018

  In This Special Election Update:  
  • Why Vote on Tuesday, November 6?
  • Vote 'NO' on Proposal 1 and Legalized Recreational Marijuana
  • Issues to Consider Before Voting on Election Day
  • Read Informational Backgrounders on Statewide Proposals 2 and 3
  • Election Logistics: Polling Place, Sample Ballot, and More
  Why Vote on Tuesday, November 6?  
For Catholics, participating in the public realm and voting is a moral responsibility-because elections matter!  Elections have the potential to transform the institutions and issues people care about. These include the economic opportunities in their community, the availability of affordable housing, the safety of the roads and bridges on which they travel, or the way human dignity is upheld. For better or for worse, communities feel the impact of the decisions made by their elected officials. Having an opportunity to voice concerns and hold officials accountable is paramount in the American political system. In the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 6, voters will weigh in on the direction of their local community, state, and federal government. Make sure your voice is heard!
  Vote 'NO' on Proposal 1 and Legalized Recreational Marijuana  
With a unanimous vote from its Board of Directors, Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) urges a 'No' vote on Proposal 1 at the November 6th General Election ballot. MCC has joined health care professionals, educators, law enforcement, and community groups to oppose Proposal 1. Why? This measure would likely cause harm for the state's families, communities, and workers.
  • How does the proposal impact children? Although Proposal 1 prohibits use for anyone under twenty-one, many states with recreational legalization have the highest teen usage rates. Unfortunately, legalization sends the signal that marijuana is safe. The opioid crisis has shown that the safer people think a drug is, the more likely they are to use it. Marijuana-related hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and poison-control calls, including for those under age eight-have increased in Colorado since legalization.  

  • Does the Church provide teaching on the legalization of drugs? God equips each person with free will and the ability to reason, which assists in daily decision-making. With the temptation to allow passion and immediate physical pleasure to dictate's one's actions, temperance is critical. According to the Catechism, temperance helps "[moderate] the attraction of pleasures," keeping desires within safe and healthy boundaries. It also helps individuals avoid excess or abuse of all kinds that can lead to dependency and self-destruction (CCC 1809, 2290). The life of a Catholic is not only about avoiding evil and sin, but also pursuing the good: truth, holiness, friendship, justice, beauty and charity. Recreational marijuana use hinders this pursuit, intentionally altering one's reality for non-medical purposes and limiting his or her decision-making ability. In July 2013, Pope Francis said that reducing drug addiction "will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use" as Proposal 1 suggests. The Church has instead focused on combating root issues that can lead to substance abuse and providing needed counseling and child placement services. 
  • How does Proposal 1 impact tax revenue? Regulations and revenue projections are built on a house of cards. Proposal 1 leaves much of the production and distribution process underground. Drug dealers will adjust their prices to undercut the legal option. Regulatory and tax policies will be difficult to enforce, especially as the federal government categorizes marijuana as an illegal drug. Proposal 1 does not account for the societal costs of legalizing recreational marijuana. Other states have seen increases in marijuana-related hospitalizations, emergency room visits, drugged driving, and poison control calls after legalization. Despite these consequences, none of the revenue raised by Proposal 1 would be earmarked for prevention or treatment programs.  Not one dollar.
  • How would passage of Proposal 1 impact auto insurance rates? States that legalized recreational marijuana saw an increase of 16 percent in average auto insurance premiums the year after legislation passed, as compared to the year prior. In Michigan, it was recently stated that by an industry leader that there is "a great deal of concern in the insurance industry" regarding vehicle safety in a legalized marijuana state. The last thing Michigan citizens need, especially low-income families, are even higher car insurance rates. (let's make this the forth bullet) 
  • How does Proposal 1 relate to workers? In other states with legalized recreational marijuana, it has been difficult to find workers who can pass a drug test, especially in federal jobs or jobs with workplace safety concerns (such as truck drivers or construction).
  • What have we learned from Colorado? Colorado heard many of the same arguments before legalization that Michigan is hearing now, but their experience has been very different than supporters promised. 
    • Watch this video from former U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer (District of Colorado) regarding the black market after legalization.
    • Former Mayor Wellington Web of Denver speaks on the reality of marijuana legalization in CO.
  • Learn More:
  Issues to Consider Before Voting on Election Day  
The themes of Catholic Social Teaching can be helpful in forming one's conscience and preparing for voting: 1) the Right to Life and Dignity of the Human Person, 2) Call to Family, Community, and Participation, 3) Rights and Responsibilities, 4) Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, 5) Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers, 6) Solidarity, and 7) Caring for God's Creation. Within each principle, it is appropriate to reflect upon the role and level of government that should be involved in a given issue, as well as the personal responsibility Catholics have to uphold these teachings in their individual lives. Additionally, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) instructs voters to consider the wide range of issues and Catholic teaching when evaluating candidates (not just be single-issue voters), while at the same time recognizing that issues have different moral weight to them (Catholics should never support intrinsic evils). Read The Issues, The Candidates, and Your Vote 2018 for further details.
  Read Informational Backgrounders on Statewide Proposals 2 and 3  
In additional to Proposal 1, which would legalization recreational marijuana, Michigan voters face two other statewide ballot measures:
  • Proposal 2 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would establish a commission of citizens with exclusive authority to adopt district boundaries for the Michigan Senate, Michigan House of Representatives, and the U.S. Congress, every ten years. 
  • Proposal 3 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would authorize automatic and Election Day voter registration, no-reason absentee voting, and straight ticket voting, as well as add current legal requirements for military/overseas voting and post-election audits to the Michigan Constitution. 
MCC did not take a position on either proposal but offers informational backgrounders to assist you in understanding the issues they address. These backgrounders include the proposal text, the main arguments in support and opposition, and the main supporters and opponents. 
  Election Logistics: Polling Place, Sample Ballot, and More  
On Election Day (Tuesday, November 6), the polls are open all day from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Wondering what candidates and issues are on your local ballot or where you should be headed to cast your vote? Find out more at MCC's election logistics page

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Michigan Catholic Conference, 510 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933 Michigan Catholic Conference: The Official Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan Phone: (517) 372-9310, Fax: (517) 372-3940,