I have admired Michigan marijuana activists from afar since I started as a keyboard warrior in 2010. In a lot of ways the activism efforts in Michigan remind me a lot of activism efforts in Oregon. Michigan activists worked very, very hard on a 2016 recreational legalization effort that came close to making the ballot. Had it not been for a lot of meddling by the State of Michigan and marijuana opponents, the effort would have made the ballot in my opinion.
But, the past is in the past. Yesterday’s history, and tomorrow’s a mystery as the saying goes. All eyes in Michigan are on 2018, which reminds me of the beginnings of the 2014 effort in Oregon, which started right after the failure of Measure 80 in Oregon in 2012. There was a lot of debate about waiting for another presidential election year or to go for a midterm election. Enough Oregon activists pushed for 2014, with national help, and victory was achieved.
The grassroots foundation is clearly in place in Michigan. Getting hundreds of thousands of signatures is no easy task, yet Michigan did it. The 2016 effort didn’t make the ballot, but it impressed the hell out of activists far and wide. I know it certainly impressed me. If the 2016 effort would have received some national funding, it would have pushed the effort over the top. But again, that’s hindsight.
An e-mail went out today from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), in which it asked subscribers to sound off on a potential effort in Michigan aimed at 2018. Traditionally MPP has supported the strategy of pursuing initiatives in presidential election years and avoiding midterm election cycles. But I think that’s a testament to how strong the grassroots network is in Michigan. It’s strong enough that it’s FINALLY getting looks from national orgs.
Whether or not the team on the ground (MILegalize) ends up working with MPP, only time will tell. I’m sure there are concerns from locals just as there is likely concerns from MPP of what a collaboration would entail. Below is a message that MILegalize posted on Facebook today. I’d be curious to see what people think, especially people from Michigan:
MILegalize has helped to unify and build Michigan’s movement for more sensible cannabis laws. We have come very far and should have won battle #1, but that’s ok because we are definitely going to win battle #2 which is the second petition drive. In your opinion, should MILegalize seek to work with national groups and adopt a “compromise” proposal, even if that included things like a personal possession limit (MILegalize does not) or a lower personal cultivation limit like 6 plants (MILegalize has a 12 plant adult limit), or crimes for violations of any legalization act (MILegalize makes all violations a $100 fine, except for driving under the influence or distributing to minors or on school grounds)? What if any language changes would you like to see? Do you think the MILegalize language should become more or less strict? What, if anything, should change? Please discuss, we are interested in supporter input and good ideas to make an even stronger petition for round 2. #MILegalize2018