Dueling proposals to legalize recreational marijuana use by adults have given the green light to begin collecting signatures on petitions by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers.
A third proposal has not yet finalized their language but may do so later this year.
Both the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee (MILegalize) and the MCC aim to collect more than 250,000 signatures on petitions from registered voters in order to place their marijuana legalization proposal on the November 2016 ballot. The Board gave "approval as to form" for the two petitions, meaning the structure of the petitions meet state law. This was the final certification required before the groups could print petitions and begin the signature collection drives.
The MCC made a false start in this approval process by withdrawing their petition for consideration during an ongoing Board meeting. Their representative explained to the Board on the 11th that they changed just two words.
"We are the most formidable cannabis reform campaign ever formed in US history and no other group can match our expertise," MILegalize Chair Jeffrey Hank told reporters after the Board of State Canvassers meeting on June 11.
The Board of Directors of MILegalize is composed of 13 established figures in state cannabis politics and business, including five lawyers, leaders from a half-dozen cannabis organizations and this journalist. The MCC refuses to divulge the identities of their leadership; their spokesman is an admitted paid representative whose company acts on the behalf of business and political interests in Oakland County, just north of Detroit. Oakland is commonly considered the wealthiest county, and the hardest on medical marijuana patients, in the state.
The MILegalize organization has held three Town Hall meetings across the state and have announced nearly a dozen more within the next 30 days. Their proposal would allow 12 plants per adult; establish a maximum 10% excise tax on recreational sales of marijuana; make improvements to the state's fledgling hemp program; give cities the control of business in their borders; offer protections to pediatric and other medical patients while keeping the state medical marijuana program intact.
The MCC offers adults 4 plants, or 2, or none, depending on how local authorities allow; their program mimics the state Liquor Control Commission, creating a new Commission whose members are largely appointed by the governor and state legislators; they establish a tax on recreational sales but do not set the rate, leaving that up to the Cannabis Control Commission; they also propose to bolster the hemp program and would leave the state MMMA alone.
A third group has offered a proposal via the media that mimics the 10 large grow operations proposal from Ohio. They have not offered language, nor have they disclosed the identities of their leadership. It is believed by many that the Ohio group and this one are headed by the same entourage of wealthy investors. They could begin a petition drive in late 2015 or in 2016.
"The three proposals are best described as the Big Business model, the Big Government model, and the Big People model. We believe in elevating people," said Jamie Lowell, a MILegalize Board member.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles