While Michigan lawmakers continue to lock horns in the legislature over proposed changes to repair the state’s crippled medical marijuana program, an organization fighting for total reform has emerged from the sidelines with plans to put the question of a taxed and regulated cannabis industry to the voters in 2016.
The Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee, which is one of two groups eager to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, recently announced that it would have a proposal in front of the Board of State Canvassers in the very near future.
Representatives with the organization say that while they are still drafting the initiative, voters can expect it to resemble the cannabis markets currently underway in Colorado and Washington. What is known, however, is that the initiative would allow for the cultivation of up to 12 plants, and the tax revenue would be designated for road repairs and schools, which could be a major selling point when the group hits the streets in the next few months to begin collecting signatures.
In January, a Survey USA poll revealed that 64 percent of Michigan residents would rather finance road maintenance and education through the legalization of marijuana instead of the proposed tax hike approved by the state legislature in 2014. This reason alone might drive people to not only sign their name to the petition, but also send them running for the polls in the next presidential election.
But, first thing’s first. The initiative will need to go before the Board of State Canvassers for review. Then, once it is approved, local activists will have 180 days to collect the approximately 250,000 signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot in November 2016.
Michigan has already legalized marijuana for medicinal use and a number of municipalities have voted to decriminalize the herb in their neck of the woods. If supporters can manage to successfully secure the required signatures needed to secure a spot on the ballot, the state has a relatively good chance of becoming the first state in the Midwest to legalize the leaf for recreational use.
However, these types of campaigns are expensive, and it will require a substantial amount of funds to bring it to fruition. Reports indicate the organization will begin fundraising efforts in the coming weeks, with volunteers out collecting signatures as early as May.