I actually watched prior to that from afar, but after co-founding this blog in 2010, I have always kept a keen eye on Michigan. One of my favorite activists on this planet is Rick Thompson. You may recognize his name since I syndicate his articles on this site. Rick’s site is called The Compassion Chronicles. There is no better source for Michigan marijuana news than his site, and I encourage you to check it out. I literally check the site a few times a day to see if Rick has posted something new.
If there is one thing that I know about Michigan marijuana politics, it’s that there is a ton of support for marijuana legalization in the state. I am not referring to polling, which is favorable too. What I’m referring to is the grassroots network that exists in Michigan. The activists there are very talented, and very passionate about reform. As such, they are a political force which is more than capable of getting legalization on the ballot for the 2016 Election, and is more than capable of winning.
Michigan, as far as I know, is home to the most local marijuana reform victories in America. Every election cycle, no matter how big or small, usually results in one or more Michigan municipalities voting to reform marijuana laws on the local level (see the chart to the left, courtesy of Rick Thompson). All of those victories have built a huge amount of momentum for Michigan to legalize at the state level.
Despite the favorable polling, the grassroots team on the ground, and a significant amount of momentum, Michigan is overlooked by veteran activists and members of the marijuana industry and media. Why? There are two efforts in Michigan to legalize marijuana. The one whose efforts I see getting the most traction is MILegalize. The other effort has some national funding from what I hear, but as far as I know, MILegalize does not, even though it is clearly doing an amazing job. Why don’t national organizations back the initiative? Why don’t national funders pony up some donations to help Michigan become likely the sixth state to put marijuana legalization on that 2016 ballot?
I was in Vegas last week attending several marijuana industry events. Time after time I saw speakers get behind the podium, and state that there will likely be five marijuana legalization initiatives on the 2016 ballot, listing California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Often times they would throw Rhode Island and Vermont into the mix as states that may legalize via legislative action. Every time, without exception, they would leave Michigan out. That would then soon be followed by me bellowing out ‘And Michigan too!’ from the back of the room, which always drew weird looks, probably because I was always the most under dressed person at the venue. I have seen Michigan left out of almost every media outlet’s list of ‘states that may legalize in 2016′ too. Again, why?
Michigan is RIPE for marijuana legalization. Michigan arguably needs this new industry more than any other state in America considering the tough economic times that the state has endured for a very long time. I want to see those much needed jobs to come to Michigan. I want to see the next great American industry generating much needed tax dollars in Michigan. I want to see the local economies boosted, and run down parts of Michigan to be revitalized by the cannabis industry. I hope that TWB readers want the same thing for Michigan, whether they live there or not.
If you live in Michigan, know that TWB is here and we will always help you as much as we can. We salute you, believe in you, and know that you can do this! Go get ’em Michigan!