The political action committee Lansing Loves Safe Jobs is filing over 6,000 petition signatures with the city clerk in support of placing a local ordinance on the November 2017 general election ballot to regulate the medical and adult use of cannabis in the city. The measure is necessary for licensing of cannabis businesses which will create jobs and direct tax revenue for local purposes to public safety, schools, roads, and bridges.
The language was based partly on the city council’s proposed ordinance language, although at 26 pages shorter without the special interest monopoly provisions or unnecessary surplusage that council members have sought to insert — it properly leaves to state authority regulations associated with cannabis testing and licensing qualifications.
“Lansing voters have made it clear they support sensible cannabis laws, voting with landslide margins for medical marijuana in 2008 and legalized adult cannabis commerce with the 2013 charter amendment,” said attorney Jeffrey Hank, Chairman of Lansing Loves Safe Jobs. “This proposal is a reaction to the ‘reefer-madness’ mentality of the Public Safety committee. Voters want the best practices establishing basic regulations to protect neighborhoods and schools while also creating jobs. Lansing is a proud working town, we like to build and grow here – and with cannabis economic development assistance we will help rebuild the working poor and middle classes that have been neglected by political elites. Council may want only the rich or connected to be able to play in the new marijuana market—while we believe in American values like equality, industry, freedom and fairness.”
The initiative addresses major concerns of residents by prohibiting cannabis businesses in residentially zoned areas, and bans marijuana businesses and advertising within 1,000 feet of schools. It otherwise zones and regulates cannabis businesses like other similar businesses. Once the clerk’s office determines there are sufficient signatures of Lansing voters, city council has 30 days to either adopt the ordinance, or put it before voters in November.
“This is a step in the right direction when it comes to the proper balance between protecting kids and neighborhood concerns with cannabis commerce and the emerging jobs boom that is coming with legalized marijuana in Michigan,” said Old Town attorney Joshua Covert, one of the petition draftors.
The campaign started with volunteers but gained an unexpected boost with the help of petition industry expert Chris Silva, who managed the petition drive. “The normalization of commercial zoning with similar land or business uses will keep noise and traffic out of neighborhoods and away from schools, which matters most to Lansing residents. We know this because we surveyed almost 10,000 local people on the issue and expect success if this is put to a vote.”
A recent study in the Journal of Urban Economics concluded that closing cannabis dispensaries actually increases crime – because having viable and walkable businesses in an area deters other criminal activity. Lansing council’s Public Safety committee has held dozens of meetings on imaginary marijuana problems used as political cover to threaten a shutdown and prohibit nearly one hundred businesses. If each business even employed 10 people, that’s 1,000 direct jobs lost, not to mention loss of new tax revenue.
Hank said the issue is better left to voters due to the lack of diversity and expertise on the city council. “These politicians are more concerned about grandstanding than they are with good policy, and they falsely promise jobs and economic growth and to get tough on crime. Unfortunately in this case, the actions of council will increase crime and endanger kids, deny safe access to medicine for suffering patients, and kill 5,000 new jobs. We have 4 words for council – NOT ON OUR WATCH. Lansing deserves better.”
To inquire about the petition language or details of the campaign, please visit the website at https://www.LansingLovesSafeJobs.com