The Polo Fields and Country Club played host to a game of a different sort on Friday June 26th as the Milegalize organization hosted their first formal fundraiser to support the legalization of marijuana for adults in Michigan.
The evening's total for financial support equaled more than $60,000 in direct contributions, with commitments for thousands more. One very generous attendee, who wishes to remain anonymous, pledged to match all the funds raised in a 30 day period, with a maximum match of $100,000.
One other campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan has received approval from the state to collect signatures but has not began that process.
"This is what we needed to get started," MILegalize Chair Jeffrey Hank told the fundraiser attendees. A Lansing-based criminal defense attorney, Hank previously led two successful petition drives in the Lansing area to enact local legal marijuana ordinances, including one in the state capital.
When announcing the matching funds offer to the room, MILegalize Director Chuck Ream called the pledge "amazing" and an "inspiration" to other business and community leaders. Attorneys, patients, activists and entrepreneurs all cheered at Ream's surprise revelation.
The politics of pot and the art of fundraising melded well together. Many of the Directors in MILegalize are well known to Michigan's marijuana business community, which made the evening's speeches very personal and the stories even more touching.
In attendance were owners of solid Michigan businesses like BDT Pipe and Tobacco Shops and the Nichols Law Firm. Other business partners committed funds but were unable to attend.
The Polo Fields event was the first major fundraising effort on the part of the MILegalize organization. MILegalize is the common name for the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee. Other events are in the planning stages, including fundraising efforts available for everyone regardless of their ability to contribute, said MILegalize Director Nick Zettell, who emceed the event.
The evening gave many attendees their first opportunity to sign the petitions to legalize marijuana for adults in Michigan. The official start of the 180-day signature gathering campaign began the day before, June 25, with a kickoff on the steps of the State Capitol building in Lansing. The fundraiser was followed by a town hall-style meeting in Traverse City the following day, held by MILegalize Directors Josey Scoggin, Jamie Lowell and this journalist.
More town halls in cities across Michigan are scheduled or are in the planning stages, said MILegalize campaign manager Chris Silva.
"Visit the MILegalize website to see our events and sign up to volunteer," Silva advised.
The MILegalize webpage is:
Source: The Compassion Chronicles