Today was a very big day in Michigan – the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign turned in 360,000 signatures to try to get marijuana legalization on the 2018 ballot. Activists were close to getting legalization on the 2016 ballot, but due to various factors (none of which involved local activists’ passion!), were unsuccessful. Since that time all legalization policy wonk eyeballs have been on Michigan.
Per the press release from the campaign below, 252,000 of the 360,000 need to be determined to be valid in order for the initiative to make the ballot. That’s a signature validity rate of 70%. In looking at historical statistics for signature validity rates in Michigan, it’s definitely possible, but far from a guarantee. To put it into perspective, Oregon’s successful legalization initiative campaign had a signature validity rate of roughly 61%. Legalization is overdue in Michigan. Go get ’em! Below is the previously mentioned press release from today’s amazing news:
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 360,000 signatures today calling for its marijuana legalization initiative to be placed on Michigan’s November 2018 ballot. The state Board of Canvassers approved ballot language on May 18 of this year. Shortly afterward, the campaign began its 180-day statewide signature collection effort using both volunteer and paid signature collectors.
“Collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot is always a massive undertaking and we’re thrilled to have gathered more than 100,000 signatures beyond the 252,000 required by the state,” said Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Spokesperson Josh Hovey. ”Just like with alcohol, marijuana prohibition has been a huge failure. Instead of wasting law enforcement resources on a substance that is proven to be less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco, our initiative creates a tightly regulated system that will generate significant revenue for the state that will help fund our roads, public schools and local governments – three of Michigan’s most underfunded needs.”
If ultimately passed by Michigan voters in November 2018, the initiative would:
- Legalize personal possession, cultivation and use of limited amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and older;
- Legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp (used to make textiles, biodegradable plastics, food, construction materials and even fuel);
- License marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport and sell marijuana;
- Protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail marijuana;
- Tax marijuana at retail levels with a 10 percent excise tax and 6 percent sales tax; and
- Local governments will have the choice of whether and where to allow marijuana businesses in their community. (This takes marijuana sales out of neighborhoods and into a regulated spaces where IDs are checked and products are tested for safety.)
The campaign is proud to have the support from both national and local advocacy organizations including the Marijuana Policy Project, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association, Michigan NORML and MI Legalize.
“It is unconscionable for our state to continue to spend tax dollars to arrest, prosecute and crowd the courts and our jails with people arrested for marijuana possession. To make matters worse, this war on marijuana has been waged with staggering racial bias,” said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan. “When our community members are arrested for possessing even tiny amounts of marijuana, they can be disqualified from public housing and student financial aid, lose or find it more difficult to obtain employment, lose custody of their child, and be deported. There is nothing practical or fair about the continued aggressive policing of marijuana.”
For more information about the ballot initiative, including full language of the proposed law, please visit www.RegulateMI.org.
For more information about the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, please visit RegulateMI.org.