Cannabis reform is on course to be an election issue on at least one state ballot this year. Proponents of a voter initiative campaign in Michigan to legalize and regulate personal adult use and retail sale of cannabis in the state have turned in more than 360,000 signatures in their drive to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot.
The initiative permits adults over the age of 21 to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to the commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales. Advocates need a total of 252,523 valid signatures from registered voters place the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act initiative on the ballot. The additional signatures were filed in case not all the signatures are validated.
Coalition unites around unity initiative
Proponents of the effort, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, include members of the Marijuana Policy Project, the ACLU of Michigan, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Patients Rights Association, Michigan NORML, MI Legalize, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, and lawyers from the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section. The coalition also has a presence on Facebook.
Advocates sought to place a similar measure on the Michigan ballot in 2016. That effort was ultimately turned back when lawmakers imposed and the courts upheld new rules limiting the time frame during which signatures could be collected.
Michigan is a medical marijuana state and 20 municipalities have also removed criminal penalties for the possession of a personal amount of marijuana under their own city ordinances. Ann Arbor led the way in 1972, but more recently, well over a dozen other cities in Michigan