EDITOR’S NOTE: I am not sharing my thoughts on the draft, just sharing the draft itself. Rick Thompson is a member of the Boards of both MINORML and MILegalize 2018, both of which are mentioned in this article. ~RT
Approx. one week ago the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) released the draft version of the new petition language which could be used to place marijuana legalization on Michigan’s ballot in 2018. It includes marijuana tax stamps, a 2-year protected period where only medical marijuana businesses can receive most licenses, a heavily-involved secure transport industry and 12 plants per person as a cultivation limit.
Entrepreneurs may get an opportunity to jump into the new legalization business climate through a 100-plant grow license or a 250-plant microbusiness grow and production license, both included in the draft language. These represent opportunities for small business which were denied by the medical marihuana facilities licensing regulations enacted through the legislature, which sets the smallest licensed cultivation license available at 500 plants. That program will select a seed-to-sale tracking system in 2017 and begin licensing distribution centers in 2018.
“It seems to be a very good start, and while there are parts of the draft which I would change, on the whole, it would be a huge leap forward for marijuana law in Michigan,” said attorney Matthew Abel, Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (MINORML) and member of the Board of Directors, MILegalize 2018.
The draft is the result of the work of a coalition of organizations led by Marijuana Policy Project. MPP chose the partners for the coalition, they have elected to have no media coverage and they have the final say on the actual language of the petition itself.
MPP operates in Michigan through a registered group, Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol ballot committee, who filed for state recognition on December 12, 2016. Rob Kampia is named as the Treasurer of the Committee.
The draft was created by a group of organizations including MPP, Michigan’s NORML chapter (MINORML), MILegalize 2018, the National Patient’s Rights Association, the Marijuana Law Section of the State Bar Association (MLS), the Michigan Cannabis Coalition and various corporate entities. The actual list of names of businesses participating in the process has not been released by MPP, nor have they issued a single press release regarding their work in Michigan since arriving in December.
MPP uses a local representative, Lissa Satori, to communicate with Michigan residents regarding this draft and all issues. She uses Facebook as the primary means of communication between MPP and the citizens of Michigan. Contact her HERE. The draft also includes an email address for contact with MPP.
“Since the adoption of the MMMA in 2008, I have seen far too much suffering from aggressive and hyper-technical prosecutions of well intentioned people trying to follow the Act, and the frustration and prosecution of those trying to serve their communities with safe and reliable medical marihuana.” observed Daniel Grow, Chair of the MLS and a noted attorney on Michigan’s west side. “With the recent legislative changes and the prospect of legalization being on the ballot in 2018, I am for the first time in a long time, very optimistic.”
Jamie Lowell is a Board member of the MILegalize 2018 organization. “Working within the framework of the Coalition gives us the best opportunity to put the issue on the ballot. The personal limits and permissions listed in the current draft would make Michigan’s proposal one of the most generous in the nation.”
Mr.Grow, Mr. Abel and Mr. Lowell are all part of the drafting committee. Other committee members whose names have been previously released include MILegalize 2018 chair, attorney Jeffrey Hank; NPRA Executive Director, Robin Schneider; and attorney Robert Hendricks, representing the MLS.