The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has already collected 200,000 of the 252,523 valid signatures it needs to get its bill on the 2018 ballot.
Cannabis advocates in Michigan are well on their way to certifying their Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act for the 2018 ballot, well before their deadline in November. After just three months, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has officially gathered over 200,000 signatures. The campaign organization has a 180-day window to collect 252,523 valid signatures from Michigan voters.
The committee has also reportedly raised $518,000 through late July. The Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington D.C.-based group that works for cannabis reform, has donated a reported $189,000 in in-kind assistance. Pro-marijuana group MI Legalize 2018 donated $100,000. The funds are being used to create a large network of signature gathers.
The spokesman for the committee has said it hopes to collect at least 366,000 signatures by October in the likelihood that some are considered invalid for one reason or another. Funding is also being used to pay individuals to verify the legitimacy of the signatures collected beforehand in an effort to better assure that the proposal will be certified.
“The support we are seeing across the state has been fantastic. We are getting calls and emails everyday from people who understand that marijuana prohibition is a massive failure and asking where they can sign and how they can help,” coalition spokesperson Josh Hovey said in July, after 100,000 signatures were collected. “If we can keep up this momentum, we will have all signatures in four months rather than the six months required by state law.”
The proposed initiative, approved by the state elections board in May, would legalize up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and the personal growth of up to 12 plants per home for adults 21 and older. A 10 percent tax on marijuana would be assessed, as well as a 6 percent sales tax, with money going to “support K-12 public schools, roads, and local governments.”
Michigan has already legalized marijuana for medical purposes. An adult use marijuana market in Michigan would be worth an estimated $2 billion a year in sales and more than $200 million in revenue, according to a preliminary economic analysis from Marijuana Policy Group.
The proposed initiative would also establish testing and safety regulations for retail marijuana and legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.
The state elections board approved a second marijuana legalization petition, filed by Abrogate Prohibitions Michigan, last week. That proposal calls for no taxation or regulation of the drug. The initiative lacks financial and organizational backing and appears to have little chance of making the ballot.
A survey conducted earlier this year by the Marketing Resource Group found that support in Michigan is shifting to legalizing marijuana for recreational use, provided its regulated and taxed. Of the 600 Michigan voters surveyed, 58 percent approve legalizing adult use cannabis.