On November 6th voters in Michigan will be going to the ballot box to decide on a wide array of issues; one of those issues is whether or not marijuana will be legal for all adults in the state. When voters come to that question, this is what they will see as Proposal 18-1, in part:
A proposed initiated law to authorize and legalize possession , use and cultivation of marijuana products by individuals who are at least 21 years of age and older, and commercial sales of marijuana through state-licensed retailers.
Compared to efforts in other states to legalize recreational cannabis, Proposal 18-1 comes with some pretty lenient limits, including 2.5 ounces for possession and up to 12 plants to be grown at home.
Leading the charge to bring adult use legalization to Michigan is the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. According to their website, the CRMLA is a “committee formed to support a 2018 ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Michigan and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. It represents a coalition of citizens, community leaders, businesses, and organizations that recognize marijuana prohibition has failed and believe it is time for Michigan to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy.”
The committee itself was born out of an ultimately failed effort to get a similar measure on the statewide ballot in 2016, CRMLA spokesperson Josh Hovey told The Marijuana Times. “In early 2017, MPP and the activists all got together and decided to take another run at it in Michigan,” Josh said. A ballot proposal was put together and then sent out to various groups around the state for input on ballot language. The groups contacted included the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Association and the Michigan Municipal League.
Many law enforcement groups were included for input as well, in an effort to hear from the broadest range of people. “The only group that really gave us much input was the Michigan Chamber, and they wanted to make sure we included some protections for employers to ensure they could enforce their workplace safety policies,” Josh told us.
Throughout 2017 a combination of paid and volunteer signature collectors went to work and by November, they had collected over 360,000 signatures – more than enough to qualify for the 2018 ballot.
“The majority of voters understand that marijuana is here in Michigan, it’s going to be here whether Proposal 1 passes or not, and the real question is are we going to keep on doing the same failed policies of prohibition or are we going to look at the success of states like Washington and Oregon and Colorado and regulate it,” Josh said about the feedback the Coalition has been getting from potential voters around the state.
We also asked Josh about the quite vocal efforts of opponents of his group’s proposal. “The folks against us use a lot of fear and speculation and just unfounded statements” that voters see right through when they are compared side-by-side with the facts that the CRMLA is getting out, he told us.
With less than a month to go until the vote, the CRMLA has ramped things up for the final push for legalization in Michigan. They released three new ads earlier this week, which can be seen below.
A new poll from WDIV in Detroit shows 62% support among potential voters in the state, with almost 46% of respondents saying they “strongly” support the legalization measure, as opposed to almost 29% saying they “strongly” oppose it.
These are strong numbers heading into a vote, but if you are a voter in Michigan who supports legalization, there is a danger of becoming complacent. There is no more surefire way for a strong ballot measure to lose than when voters assume it’s going to win and decide to stay home on Election Day. Proposal 18-1 will only pass if everyone who supports it gets their vote in.
The activists have put in the hard work in Michigan, so if you support legalization there, now is the time to show that support.