Michigan Voters! Here’s what you can do to change history and make a better world for your children.

We the people, our consitution, civil rights

Ken Wachsberger

They say there’s a presidential election coming up in November but Michigan marijuana supporters have another issue on their minds: a proposal by MI Legalize to free the former “evil weed.”

It’s the last proposal standing among at least three that were all “pro-weed” but in fact offered highly differing visions of the post-prohibition era.

The first, sponsored by Michigan Responsibility Council, would have divided the state into ten fiefdoms, each controlled by a different wealthy individual or corporate entity. Remember the movie The Mask of Zorro with Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, where Don Rafael Montero shows his lackey dons his plan to divide California equally among them? That’s the MRC plan. Think: the Don Montero plan.

It’s the corporate-controlled plan that our friends in Ohio soundly rejected last November 4, and with good reason. If it had passed, ten small groups of monopolist capitalists and celebrities, including former Cincinnati Royals star Oscar Robertson and former  Jessica Simpson husband Nick Lachey, would have wrested control of Ohio’s emerging industry from grassroots advocates who nurtured it all these years and brought it to where it is now; having failed, medical and recreational cannabis remain illegal. It was a lose-lose for our friends in Ohio, though desperate medical marijuana advocates in the state played the “better than nothing” card and reluctantly backed it.

The Michigan Cannabis Coalition bill would have legalized cannabis but then let the legislature determine who controls what, set the tax rate, and control other aspects of the cannabis infrastructure that should be allowed to form organically. Remember, we live in a state where the government can’t figure out how to fix our roads or send drinkable water to Flint. Are we going to let them regulate our cannabis industry? Think: the pothole and piss water plan.

The MI Legalize ballot proposal, currently in the signature-gathering phase, is the only one that will remove all criminal penalties for distribution, cultivation, and possession of marijuana with the exception of sale to unauthorized minors. No other proposal will liberate marijuana to fulfill its medical and economic potential. Think: the Vote Yes plan.

Late last year, the first two suspended their petition campaigns to instead work behind the scenes to influence House bills 4209, 4210, and 4827, a carefully orchestrated three-pronged attack on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and the caregiver community that prepared it. Taken together, the three bills create a system that inserts the government between providers and patients in matters affecting growth, production, and sale of medical marijuana. While these bills would legalize provisioning centers and concentrates and edible forms of cannabis, the proposed system would place onerous, expensive, and restrictive licensing and tracking requirements on growers, processors, and dispensaries.

These bills, which have been described as “heinous” by grassroots marijuana advocates, have already passed in the House and are waiting to be debated in the Senate.

But here’s the good news: No action is expected during a presidential election year.

The Mi Legalize campaign is historic even on a national level. Michigan won’t be the first state to legalize marijuana but, according to attorney Allison Ireton, co-chair of Women Grow-Southeast Michigan chapter, the other states have won legality through corporate ballot initiatives. Vermont is expected to become the first state to legalize marijuana through the legislature. Michigan’s is the only grassroots campaign.

But to win, community help is needed. According to Jeff Hank, executive director of the Mi Legalize campaign, “Please tell people we have to hit it hard petitioning– 85 days at the most– and they can be paid if they sign up with the campaign to petition. We need all hands on deck to help us win. We have about 250,000 total signatures now– and we want to collect another 100,000 ASAP. All true cannabis lovers will get 1,000 signatures or send some cash if they want Michigan to be free.”

To volunteer, email info@milegalize.com. To donate much-needed dollars, send to www.milegalize.com/donate.

And don’t even think about not voting in November.

Ken Wachsberger is an author, member of the National Writers Union, and editor of the Bloom Blog. This story is an update of a piece that appeared earlier in Bloom Blog.

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