With less than two weeks to go before the June 1st deadline, those running the campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan held a rally at the State Capital last Friday. This will be the last large group effort to obtain signatures before they turn them in for validation. At the start of the Friday rally they had roughly 315,000 petitions – of which only around 253,000 are needed to qualify them for the ballot.
The event took off at 4:20 in the afternoon on Friday May 20th and there was free food, an auction for charity, speeches from local political figures, and a toast to those who are running the MILegalize Campaign. It was definitely a success in that over a hundred people came out to participate that afternoon and they were able to gather at least an additional 5,000 signatures, thanks to a contest for those who were out collecting petitions.
A $100 incentive provided by the Michigan chapter of NORML was awarded to the first 10 people to bring them 500 validated signatures. If that isn’t awesome enough, the person to bring in the most verified signatures will be awarded $1,000 which was donated through The Sweet Leaf in Flint. With those kinds of rewards hanging in the balance, it is no wonder they were able to collect so many signatures in only a single day.
However, with the end of their campaign rolling in, there is also fear that all of this will have been a moot point as a bill passed in the House earlier last week would invalidate all signatures gathered outside of a 180 day gathering period. Those running the MILegalize campaign have asked the Governor to veto the bill – but he has two weeks to do so or sign it, and if he waits that long the campaign will be over before they even know if a majority of their signatures are no longer valid.
“The state legislature, and perhaps the governor, are trying to throw chaos into the election system by enacting SB 776. We’ve got a potential legal battle on our hands. We may be going to court this week,” says MILegalize Chairman Jeffery Hank. “We’re going to be going to court over it, assuming the governor doesn’t veto it, which we’re calling for him to do.”
Whether or not the bill is vetoed, they will still be gathering signatures up until the June 1st deadline, so if you’re a Michigan resident and you have yet to sign your name, now’s the time to do it! Hopefully, it will not come down to an unnecessary court battle, but that seems to be the way it goes. However, Maine was able to win their court case and still get marijuana on the ballot, so hopefully we will see Michigan win this first big battle as well.