Michigan moves to ban marijuana-infused alcoholic drinks in anticipation of voters legalizing pot

Michigan lawmakers have preemptively moved to prohibit marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages in anticipation of the voters potentially legalizing recreational weed next month.

A bill banning the use, possession and sale of beer, wine and liquor drinks containing marijuana passed the Michigan state House on Tuesday by a vote to 101-4, sending it to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for his final approval.

Michiganders will vote Nov. 6 on a ballot initiative, Proposition 1, that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and pave the way for retail sales.

Three separate surveys conducted last month concluded that the marijuana legalization measure will pass, and a similar outcome come next month’s midterms would add Michigan to the growing list of states and with recreational pot laws in place.

The bill sent to Mr. Snyder would amend Michigan’s liquor control law to ban marijuana-infused “beer, wine, mixed wine drink, mixed spirit drink or spirits,” effectively keeping likely legalization from lending to brewers mixing weed with alcohol.

The proposal includes exemptions for hospitals, college, pharmaceutical companies and others conducting “bona fide research.” Marijuana is federally outlawed, however, creating obstacles for anyone participating in related studies sanctioned or funded by the U.S. government, as well as entities wishing to do their banking with federally licensed financial institutions, liquor stores included.

Nine states have legalized recreational marijuana, starting with Colorado in 2012, notwithstanding the plant’s status as a controlled substance banned by federal law. Proposal 1 would add Michigan to that list by letting adults legally use, possess, grow, transport and process limited amounts of marijuana.

Representatives for Mr. Snyder did not immediately return messages seeking his comment on the bill banning marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages. His office is term-limited, and he is not running for re-election in 2018.

Beverage companies including Coca-Cola and the Canadian division of Molson Coors, one of the world’s largest brewers of beer, have recently discussed pursuing projects involving marijuana-infused beverages. Neither expressed an interest in combining intoxicants, however, with the latter saying it planned to produce a nonalcoholic marijuana drink after Canada legalizes retail weed sales this month.

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