MILegalize 2018, the ballot committee formed to place the question of the adult use of marijuana on Michigan’s November 2018 general election ballot, heralds the new poll results from EPIC/MRA showing a huge jump in support for marijuana law reform as a sign the public is ready to vote for their proposal. The new poll numbers set support at 57%, a 4% increase from last year.
From 2015-16 MILegalize collected 374,000 signatures on petitions in support of placing that question before the voters. The Michigan Bureau of Elections received 354,000 signatures in a timely manner but novel interpretations of law and partisan politics kept the issue from the 2016 ballot. The lawsuits and ensuing court actions surrounding the denial of ballot access continue to this day, and the United States Supreme Court has the case before them.
“We commend Michigan NORML for commissioning the poll question,” said attorney Jeff Hank, leader of MILegalize2018. “The continuity of this poll lends credibility to the results and establishes this as a reliable gauge of public sentiment.”
The new poll was conducted by EPIC/MRA in January 2017. In 2014, the approval rate of the same question was 50%; in 2016 it had risen to 53%. The January poll sets the approval rating at 57%, the highest number recorded in a Michigan marijuana legalization survey by that group.
“A 4% increase is a spike in support,” said Rick Thompson, from the Boards of Directors of both MINORML and MILegalize2018. “Lots of factors contributed to this dramatic raise, but it has to be credited in part to the work of MILegalize and the extensive public relations associated with the campaign.” MILegalize 2016 had a volunteer base of over 1,000 supporters and the majority of their petition signatures were collected by supporters instead of professional petitioners. The campaign was extensively covered by major news media.
MILegalize is currently drafting language for a new petition drive with the Marijuana Policy Project, Michigan NORML, the Marijuana Law Section of the State Bar Association and several other in-state interests. A draft of that proposed language is due to be released by the unity coalition any day now for public comment, according to their campaign representatives.
“Voting in 2018 is nearly two years away,” said Jamie Lowell, MILegalize 2018 Board member. “Support for legalization of cannabis could be in the low-to mid-60 percent by then. Michigan can be the place where we push the envelope on cannabis law reform and make some real progress- progress which is reflected in the proposals of every new state program after ours.”
“The state is ready,” said attorney Matthew Abel, MILegalize Board member and Executive Director of the Michigan NORML Chapter. “The time is now.”