With political operatives and marijuana activists alike eying Ohio’s voter proposal on marijuana, due on fall ballots, suddenly Michigan is alive with groups who have similar or counter proposals.
Michigan is seeing competing groups form rapidly to push for ways to legalize the marijuana, with players possessing more political savvy, more money and more conservative politics than in the past.(Photo: Brennan Linsley Associated Press)
Michigan’s political scene is lighting up with marijuana talk — finally, critics say.
Years behind other states, Michigan is seeing competing groups form rapidly to push for ways to legalize the drug, with players possessing more political savvy, more money and more conservative politics than in the past.
Their appeals? The promise of a rush of tax dollars for cash-strapped government budgets, tens of thousands of new jobs, safer access to cannabis for medical users and fewer nonviolent stoners taking up police attention and jail space.
“The first thing we’re saying is regulate it and the second thing is, let’s bring in tax revenue,” said Matt Marsden, spokesman for the Pontiac-based Michigan Cannabis Coalition.
On Friday, the group filed language for a ballot proposal with the Board of Canvassers in Lansing. It’s one of three statewide groups to announce this week their rapid moves to put proposals on the statewide ballot in November 2016, a presidential election sure to have a big voter turnout.
If the board grants approval to Marsden’s group, expected in early May, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition would have 180 days to collect at least 252,000 signatures — more would be needed because some are inevitably ruled invalid by election officials.
To circulate petitions, “we’re going to use a lot of volunteers, but we’ve also retained the best signature collecting company in Michigan, if we need it. And we’re going to use the GoFundMe option” on the Internet to help raise the $1-million expected tab, Marsden said.
The Michigan Cannabis Coalition is “a collective bunch of business groups in Oakland County — some real-estate guys, some investors, some agriculture guys — and we’ve been seeing all the problems in Lansing with raising revenues,” said Marsden, a former legislative staffer for several lawmakers, now public affairs boss of the RevSix Data political consulting firm.
DETROIT FREE PRESS
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