The campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan has received some setbacks. Led by the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, also called MI Legalize the campaign has received serious opposition from state officials who are working hard to keep Michigan marijuana laws unchanged. The state has already legalized medical marijuana and MI Legalize have been working hard to allow voters to decide on whether the state wants to legalize the recreational adult use of cannabis. MI Legalize already collected 345,000 signatures in favor of putting the initiative on the ballot. This is far more than the 252,000 signatures needed but the lawmakers in Michigan are working to disqualify signatures.
The Bureau of Elections Intervention
On Tuesday, the state Bureau of Elections sent a report with a recommendation to the Board of Canvassers, which is the organization that approves petitions for voter consideration. They recommended that the board throw away the MI Legalize petition, claiming that they couldn’t prove that 100,000 signatures were signed by registered voters. With 100,000 signatures disqualified, the MI Legalize petition would become invalid, lacking the necessary signatures collected within the deadline.
Disqualifying Signatures with Senate Bill 776
As if the Bureau of Elections recommendation wasn’t problematic enough to the campaign, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Senate Bill 776, which would disqualify over 100,000 signatures. The bill would stop all signatures that were collected outside of 180 days from being counted. This law was specifically drafted to stop MI Legalize from being able to count signatures and meet the requirements. Senate Bill 776 was passed by both the House and Senate before arriving on the desk of Gov. Snyder. It had only Republican support with those in opposition believing that the new law will prevent the people of Michigan from having a voice in government. Before the law was passed, MI Legalize planned to use the lack of clarity in Michigan’s initiative and referendum laws that would have allowed for the older signatures to be recognized.
The Future of Michigan Marijuana for Adult Use
MI Legalize has not given up though. Spokesman Jeffrey Hank, has told the public that this opposition was expected and they will be filing a lawsuit and pursuing legal action in the next few days. They plan to move forward with their campaign even through any legal activity they will need to undergo. If MI Legalize is able to push through the obstacles and Michigan marijuana laws are changed in favor of recreational legalization, it would most likely make the state the second or third biggest marijuana market in the country. Recreational marijuana is already legal in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and D.C. with many other states voting on legalization in November including Nevada and California. Should Michigan marijuana laws change, the new industry would bring a lot of financial benefits, including new business and job opportunities as well as the state benefits from taxes.
The campaign is going to need funding to continue though. While they have raised $1.1 million already, they will need continued support in order to push through these newest obstacles and run the campaign they will need in order to get the win. You can donate to their campaign at the official MI Legalize website.