Senate approves Jones’ bill banning marijuana-infused beer

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Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to pre-emptively prohibit marijuana-infused beer, wine and spirits.

“The sad truth is that cases of drugged driving are increasing on our roads, and drunk driving kills an average of one person every hour,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Although alcohol impairment remains our most serious road safety problem, we don’t need to be adding the effects of marijuana-infused beer to the situation.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time. Marijuana is also the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers who have been involved in vehicle crashes, including fatal ones.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, an average of one death every 50 minutes.

Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia permit the recreational use of marijuana. Michigan is one of 29 states where the medical use of marijuana is permitted, and a new ballot initiative seeks to have voters legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Michigan.

Several states that permit the recreational use of marijuana have seen a rise of marijuana-infused alcohol products, such as Colorado and California.

Senate Bill 969 would ban the use, possession or sale of marijuana-infused beer, wine, mixed wine drink, spirit drink, or spirits in Michigan.

“Bar owners and bartenders already have a hard time judging when someone is intoxicated,” Jones said. “Considering that marijuana-infused foods can take an hour to kick in, allowing marijuana in beer could make that job nearly impossible — leading to dangerous results.”

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.