Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Michigan Activists Gear Up for 2018 Ballot Initiative

Last year efforts to legalize cannabis for adult use in Michigan fell flat at the very last minute when state lawmakers made changes to a law requiring petition signatures to be verified as gathered within a 180 day timeframe. Even though the group had far exceeded the needed number of signatures a majority of them were tossed for being “stale”, leading to the end of the campaign for MILegalize in 2016. Luckily activists are not giving up, and are even gearing up for another round – and this time they have some hefty reinforcements. 

“The Marijuana Policy Project out of D.C. is involved, and they bring some national expertise to the state,” said Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the coalition. “They’re helping make sure we do things the right way.”

With the help of the national group Marijuana Policy Project, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol has already drafted a new ballot initiative – which was just submitted to the Secretary of State on Friday. They are now awaiting approval from the Board of Canvassers – and once they get that approval they will have exactly 180 days to gather a total of 252,253 signatures in order to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. 

“Our group decided the language of the ballot proposal was acceptable. We’ve got something that everyone can work with,” said Jamie Lowell, spokesman for MILegalize.

Along with help from the Marijuana Policy Project the campaign will also have the help of the volunteers from MILegalize who have agreed to participate in this campaign after reviewing the ballot language. So with the significantly larger body of volunteers and the funding needed to hire additional petitioners to ensure that they gather far more than the needed number of signatures since some are statistically likely to be invalid. 

If they are able to get enough signatures then they would have well over a year to run their campaign and get the word out to vote “yes” to legalize marijuana for adult use in the next election. This would certainly give them a great advantage and head start – hopefully giving them a much better chance of the ballot measure passing with a majority vote.

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