By many indications, this could be the year Michigan voters legalize recreational marijuana.
A ballot effort spearheaded by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, or CRMLA, has the backing of the national organization responsible for a number of successful legalization initiatives throughout the country, and the coalition has shown it’s capable of raising plenty of money. Things appear to be running right on schedule; last year, CRMLA easily passed the threshold of petition signatures needed to get the issue before voters. As those signatures are being verified, public perception of marijuana is on an upswing, with support for marijuana legalization creeping up toward the 60 percent mark, according to polls conducted over the past couple of years.
But as the CRMLA sails toward its goal to end marijuana prohibition, it’s being met with some headwinds. Two ballot committees have formed to balk the legalization effort: Healthy and Productive Michigan and the Committee to Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools. The former group registered just days after CRMLA’s backers submitted 365,000 petition signatures to the state’s Board of Canvassers.
Though there’s little information as yet available on who exactly is behind the anti-pot crusades, marijuana foes traditionally include religious groups, law enforcement, and business entities that don’t want to see their profit margins shaved if weed is made readily available. One of the primary opponents of last year’s recreational legalization initiative in Arizona, for example, was a pharmaceutical company whose product line includes fentanyl and a form of synthetic marijuana. It was the only state to ever see a legalization effort defeated last year. Nine states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
The committees opposing legalization here in Michigan have yet to raise a significant amount of money. The Committee to Keep Pot Out