In July, $2 bills will be flowing into the cash registers of businesses across Michigan in an effort to show the cannabis community's economic impact.
Community representatives are calling on the patients, caregivers and legalization supporters to unite in the symbolic effort. The idea is simple: spend one $2 bill when paying for every cash purchase made everywhere from July 10 through July 31. As restaurant and retail business owners and managers see the influx of $2 bills they will gain a respect for the purchasing power of the marijuana-friendly consumer- and so will the legislature.
"The $2 bill plan doesn't cost anything, doesn't require a meeting or an agreement on philosophy. It's simple and legal," says Donnie from the Metro Detroit Compassion Club. "Here is the opportunity to show power through numbers and economic impact. Pass it on state to state; pass it on nationwide to include all who support the cannabis community."
The effort hopes to drive change in the minds of retailers and other consumer-based businesses. Accepting that marijuana-friendly consumers are a significant portion of the market could influence purchase decisions like stocking marijuana-themes novelties and product lines containing hemp, for example. It could make it easier for marijuana-friendly groups to find space for meetings or for locally-created merchandise to gain new retail markets. The $2 bill drive should spark conversations in Chambers of Commerce and during business lunches among shop owners.
During the drive, cannabis-friendly businesses are encouraged to have a stack of $2 bills to supply their supporters with since many banks do not keep $2 bills on hand. "This initiative makes a subtle but bold statement that arresting people for cannabis will take people and their money out of the economy because they are in jail," said Donnie.
Marijuana-based media in Michigan has come out to support the $2 bill drive. The drive is endorsed by the state's only real radio program featuring cannabis news and discussion, The Political Twist-Up Show. Internet sources like The Compassion Chronicles are promoting the drive, and advertisements or articles will appear in the July issues of Michigan's monthly publications the American Cultivator, Culture Magazine and the MMM Report.
"The logic of this plan is so simple and basic it seems everyone should get on board," said Rick Thompson of The Compassion Chronicles and The Political Twist-Up Show. "It doesn't cost anything. Everybody has cash in their pocket. We are asking people to behave normally and spend as they always do, with a slight twist added for effect."
The number of cannabis supporters is staggering: the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reports on their website that there are currently 128,441 of registered medical marijuana patients in Michigan. 1.64% of Michigan's adult population is registered as a medical marijuana patient. There are 26,875 registered caregivers in Michigan who are licensed to grow marijuana but not consume it. Local measures to ease penalties or enact marijuana-friendly laws have met with unheard-of successes, including 74% support in Ypsilanti in 2012, 56% in Kalamazoo in 2012, and 63% of the entire state in 2008.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles