With state government interfering with legal access to medical marijuana, the good people of Michigan are moving forward to address that difficulty. The new push for outright legalization of pot in Michigan comes just four years after voters approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes — a law that led to numerous arrests of state-registered users while authorities complain that it is too vague and promotes drug dealing. Some 2,500 volunteers statewide are gathering signatures, said organizers of the petition campaign to make pot legal in Michigan. They must gather 322,609 signatures by July 8 to get their proposal on Michigan’s November ballot. Their hope is that voters will approve this the way state residents approved the medical-marijuana proposal in 2008, with 63% yes votes.
The proposal, which would amend the Michigan Constitution, uses the same “marihuana” spelling as in the state Public Health Code:
“Repeal of Marihuana Prohibition — For persons at least 21 years of age who are not incarcerated, marihuana acquisition, cultivation, manufacture, sale, delivery, transfer, transportation, possession, ingestion, presence in or on the body, religious, medical, industrial, agricultural, commercial or personal use, or possession or use of paraphernalia shall not be prohibited, abridged, or penalized in any manner, nor subject to civil forfeiture; provided that no person shall be permitted to operate an aircraft, motor vehicle, motorboat, ORV, snowmobile, train, or other heavy or dangerous equipment or machinery while impaired by marihuana.”
Even if the group manages to get its proposal on a statewide ballot, a recent poll shows they must change a sea of minds between now and Election Day. Legal possession and use of marijuana was rejected 50%-45% in a Free Press/WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) poll. The survey of 600 likely voters was conducted Jan. 21-25 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Marijuana could be regulated and taxed just as alcohol is, said Karen O’Keefe, a lawyer for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. “The country faced the same kind of questions when Prohibition (of alcohol) was being repealed,” O’Keefe said.
It’s an interesting story you can find at The Detroit Free Press.
Meanwhile, we remain in Michigan and learn that Karen O’Keefe, 33, one of the top national advocates for the legalization of marijuana is herself a young lawyer who doesn’t like the drug. O’Keefe said she tried pot a few times as an undergraduate at Michigan State University but that “it just made me feel stupid and want to go to sleep.” She is adamant that Michigan and the nation should “treat marijuana like alcohol — regulate it and tax it.”
Some people are “surprised, and don’t see why it’s an issue I’d work on. But more and more people realize that there are a lot of reasons to change the policies” other than wanting it for personal use, she said. Non-users who advocate for legalization are the voices we must add to our own. Keeping the drug illegal, she said, is “a bad policy because it causes a huge amount of suffering without actually achieving a positive purpose.”
The Detroit Free Press is where you will find this story, too.
[image: google images Michigan]