Michigan Activists File Marijuana Legalization Measures


(Photo credit: Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance)

From afar, it seems that Michigan has certainly had an interesting marijuana law reform experience. Ann Arbor has long had a sensible cannabis policy and the college town was an inspiration for my very first attempt at helping author a marijuana law reform measure in Columbia, Missouri. It seems to me that advocates have pragmatically advanced medical marijuana measures along with local reforms to move the state toward eventually legalization. Ending prohibition could come to the state in 2016 as Michigan activists file marijuana legalization measures that could bring a sensible cannabis policy to the Midwest (I’m hopeful that my birth state of Missouri will be joining them as well).

From the Lansing State Journal:

Years behind other states, Michigan is seeing competing groups form rapidly to push for ways to legalize the drug, with players possessing more political savvy, more money and more conservative politics than in the past.

Their appeals? The promise of a rush of tax dollars for cash-strapped government budgets, tens of thousands of new jobs, safer access to cannabis for medical users and fewer nonviolent stoners taking up police attention and jail space.

“The first thing we’re saying is regulate it and the second thing is, let’s bring in tax revenue,” said Matt Marsden, spokesman for the Pontiac-based Michigan Cannabis Coalition.

There are competing measures seeking placement on the 2016 election. While different initiative campaigns poses some difficulties as it can split resources and confuse some voters, most successful efforts have had to survive multiple measures, including Oregon in 2014. Competing measures can help campaigns hone their political skills and I urge all advocates to agree to disagree amicably publicly and remember that everyone is working to end prohibition. While it is reasonable to support one measure over the other, we should always support the measure on the ballot that improves the status quo. So long as fewer lives are ruined by prohibition, it is important to keep our eye on the prize. Good luck, Michigan advocates, cannabis activists across the country are pulling for ya.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.