By Michael Bachara
LANSING, MI — The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 360,000 signatures earlier this month 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. It would also legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp (used to make textiles, biodegradable plastics, food, construction materials and even fuel) .
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.)
“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.”
Photo Source: Detroit Metro Times