Voters in Michigan are getting closer to finally having the opportunity to vote on marijuana legalization in the 2018 election. Even though the next election is over a year away, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Michigan has been working hard over the last few months to gather the needed number of signatures – 252,523 – before their 180-day window was up.
At this point they have officially gathered over 200,000 signatures – and they hope to have 350,000 signatures or more by October, with their deadline in November.
Last year, efforts to legalize cannabis in Michigan were struck down by a last minute change to the law regarding how signatures for the petitioning process were validated – which would more strictly enforce their law requiring that all signatures be gathered within a 180-day window.
While last time a huge portion of the signatures were considered “stale” or otherwise invalid, this time activists are being certain to gather all signatures within that timeframe. The reason for aiming to gather a minimum of 100,000 extra signatures is because naturally a large number of the signatures will be considered invalid for one reason or another.
The proposed ballot initiative that has already gained more than half the signatures they intend to gather would make cannabis legal for adults 21 and older, would allow them to possess up to 2.5 ounces, and would also allow residents to grow up to 12 plants in their homes.
A competing measure was just introduced and approved for the signature gathering process – however this ballot initiative would only legalize cannabis, rather than working in the logistics of taxation and regulation of the plant.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol has a strong chance of getting their ballot initiative on the November 2018 ballot – but in the event that both initiatives were to make it, the good news is that they don’t clash much since one focuses on legalizing and providing access while the other is a simple approach to legalization that would keep people from being arrested for the possession or use the plant.
With a couple months left to reach their goal for one group and the 180-day window just beginning for another, we will know in a matter of months which – if either or both – of these initiatives will gain enough support to be on the ballot. Another advantage to starting early with the signature gathering process is the fact that they will then have about a year to get the word out that this initiative will be on the ballot and deserves support. Things are starting to look much more positive as far as adding Michigan to the list of states where the criminalization of cannabis is a thing of the past.