The submission date for petitions to place ballot questions before voters during this year's general election is June 1, and the MILegalize group is calling for a final major rally at the Capitol Building in Lansing on May 20. The gathering will serve to round up all signed petition sheets from around the state, express gratitude for the efforts made by ordinary citizens in this extraordinary effort, and to provide direction for moving the campaign forward.
"Meeting with our volunteer army on the steps of the state Capitol Building is special, because that's where we launched the petition drive on June 25 of last year," said MILegalize Chair Jeffrey Hank. "We will submit our petitions to the state in a timely manner, and that means we have to have all the signed sheets returned to us so they can be processed before being handed over."
The campaign has been noted for its ability to gather supporters regardless of where the group decides to meet. MILegalize has conducted fundraisers or Town Hall-style meetings in Traverse City, Flint, Oscoda, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Detroit, among others. The organization boasts of a "volunteer army" of more than 1,000 people from all walks of life and corners of the state.
"It's important to note that we are not done, and the job is not complete. People should not relax," Hank emphasized. "We have faced challenges from the legislature, from members of state government and from local officials; we are fighting right up until the very last minute to get every signature and collect every dollar we can, because nothing is guaranteed. This means so much to the people."
To encourage a return on those petitions, several organizations are sponsoring prizes for petitioners. The largest number of verified signatures turned in by a single individual on May 20 will earn them $1,000, donated by The Sweet Leaf in Flint, and the Michigan chapter of NORML is offering $100 to the first ten people who turn in 500 valid signatures. A celebration in honor of the volunteers is scheduled for after the Capitol gathering; details will be announced during the rally.
Professional signature gathering experts have been collecting signatures on behalf of MILegalize for months now, augmenting the number of volunteer petitions received. The organization needs approximately 253,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.
MILegalize has received endorsements from a broad spectrum of celebrities, from entertainers such as Tommy Chong to sports heroes including NHL veterans Larry DePalma and former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty. Michigan State House Representative Jeff Irwin has circulated MILegalize petitions.
Both Representative Irwin and Mr. McCarty are expected to speak during the rally, as will several Board members and other community notables. The gathering begins at 2pm.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles