Former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox admitted Friday he smoked pot when he was in high school during the 1970s.
But during a symposium on the impact of marijuana reform, Cox stressed there are practical problems in legalizing marijuana, and that’s why he wouldn’t support changes some activists in Michigan are seeking.
“I am not for it, mostly because I don’t know how you regulate common, everyday things such as driving while impaired,” said Cox, a Republican. “If it becomes legal, I don’t think I’ll ever use it again.
“That being said, philosophically I am not against it. They haven’t come up with a good way to regulate in the work place or driving to measure it and deal with it.”
Cox was the keynote speaker at a daylong symposium on the social, economic, health and legal impacts of marijuana reform, held at Wayne State University.
During his speech, Cox said the Michigan Legislature needs to step up and address the ambiguities of the 2008 medical marijuana law, provide for dispensaries and create a registry. He also said there is not enough honest dialogue about marijuana in the country.
“Intoxicants are hard to talk about,” he said after his speech. “We have so many problems with alcohol and we don’t talk honestly about that. It’s going to be hard to talk about a similar drug.”
Many in the audience embraced his approach.
“It was refreshing to hear a realistic perspective,” said Jamie Lowell, founder of 3rd Coast Compassion Center, a dispensary in Ypsilanti.
Friday’s event was held as activists have launched a petition drive to ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for residents older than 21. The drive by the Committee for Safer Michigan will need 322,609 signatures by July 9 to put the question on the November ballot.
Matthew Abel, campaign director, says the effort has recruited nearly 2,000 volunteers across Michigan.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette contends the drive is a way to legalize drugs.