The state of Michigan is gearing up for another petition drive in hopes of getting cannabis legalized for adult use. Last year, efforts fell flat after lawmakers amended a specific law that required signatures for petitions be gathered within a 180 day window, which ended up disqualifying a majority of the signatures gathered. This time around, the campaign is being run by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, with the help of the national group Marijuana Policy Project as well as last year’s grassroots group, MILegalize.
Last Friday, the initiative was approved by the Board of Canvassers to start gathering signatures – starting the clock on their six month window to gather the needed 252,253 valid signatures, plus extra since not all are guaranteed to be validated. With the help of Marijuana Policy Project – who has helped other states pass marijuana-related ballot measures in the past – as well as more volunteers and funding, they are confident in their ability to get this new initiative on the ballot for the next election.
“We’ve got petitions printed and we’re ready to go,” said spokesman Josh Hovey, noting the group will use paid petition circulators through National Petition Management of Brighton. “We also have volunteers who are here today who are ready to go. We will be on the streets immediately, making sure we’re out there especially at the Memorial Day events.”
The petition has already begun circulating – and the opposition has already begun to speak out against the initiative. The group is called Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools, and their main argument against the initiative is the language regarding home growing, claiming that “If this flawed effort passes as proposed there will be no stopping pot from infiltrating all aspects of our society, including schools, neighborhoods and places of work.”
If passed, the ballot initiative would legalize possession and use of marijuana by adults twenty-one and older, as well as create a licensed production and distribution model, and allow adults to grow up to 12 plants at home. It would also put a 10% tax on the sale of cannabis, on top of the current sales tax. It seems to be in line with most other ballot initiatives that have passed in other states previously, and if it makes it to the ballot there is a real chance that Michigan will become one of the next states to legalize cannabis.