A Friday rally drew more than 100 people to the steps of the State Capitol Building in support of the MILegalize campaign, which intends to put the issue of legalized marijuana on the ballot in Michigan during the November 2016 general election.
The campaign must turn in petition signatures by June 1. MILegalize has announced via press releases that they've collected more than 300,000 signatures from Michigan residents. Although that number is far in excess of the approx. 253,000 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, MILegalize Chair Jeff Hank explained that does not guarantee the campaign has gathered enough valid signatures.
Signatures can be invalidated because of an unregistered signer, a duplicate signature, illegible handwriting or an error on the petitioner certification. Although the MILegalize organization pays a professional company to validate signatures, it is impossible to know how many of the 300,000 will be acceptable to the State, and so the campaign intends to collect petitions right up until the very day of turn-in.
"Big stacks" of petitions were returned by petitioners during the May 20 rally, according to Deb Young, a Board member of the MILegalize group and a petitioner with a string of successful campaigns to her credit. The incentives for petitioners were high; the Michigan NORML chapter offered $100 to the first people returning 500 valid signatures, and The Sweet Leaf from Flint offered a $1000 bonus to the petitioner with the greatest number of signatures returned during the rally. MILegalize is computing valid signatures on the petitions gathered on May 20, which may take some time.
Speeches during the rally came from current House Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor); aspiring House Representative Al Williams, a candidate in the 3rd District (see video); Hank; Charmie Gholson of Michigan Moms United; Chad Morrow, embattled member of the patient services industry in Gaylord; and some MILegalize Board members including Matthew Abel, Thomas Lavigne, Jamie Lowell, Chuck Ream, Joshua Covert and others.
A petitioner appreciation event was held at local restaurant The Nuthouse, sponsored by the Kind Provisioning Center in Lansing. The event kicked off at 4:20 pm and featured free food, a charity auction and a grand toast to the hardworking men and women who make up the MILegalize movement.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles