Groups across Michigan are collecting important signatures that would allow MI Legalize, a campaign pushing for marijuana legalization in the state, to get a proposal on the ballot for the November 2016 election, reported the Holland Sentinel Thursday. MI Legalize, along with the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, is one of two major organizations working toward getting the issue on the state's upcoming ballot.
Both groups face collecting 252,523 signatures from registered voters by Christmas in order for their proposal to be on the ballot next year. MI Legalize had a group on the ground collecting signatures at the recent Ottawa County Fair and Coast Guard Festival.
“I just started petitioning last week and I’m happy with the reaction we have been getting, for the most part,” said Jamie Goswick Goswick, who led the group, according to the Holland Sentinel. She said her group had collected several hundred signatures in the county so far and that they hope to create hubs at which people can sign the petition after such events.
MI Legalize proposed legalizing all forms or marijuana for adults 21 and older and allowing local communities to license marijuana facilities. The group also suggests a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales that would go toward state funding for education and transportation, along with a portion for local government. The Michigan Cannabis Coalition proposal would also legalize marijuana for adults 21 or older, but would have state lawmakers decide the tax rate and establish licensing guidelines.
“I give people the opportunity to stop if they want to,” Goswick said, according to the Holland Sentinel. “I didn’t stop families. I didn’t know if they wanted to have a conversation about it right there.”
MI Legalize has not released how many total signatures it has accumulated, while the Michigan Cannabis Coalition said it had collected about 45,000 signatures in two weeks, reported M Live Tuesday. The outlet reported that campaign finance reports said Michigan Cannabis Coalition had raised $273,225 between April 21 and July 20, while MI Legalize said it had raised around $170,000 during that period.
MI Legalize is authorized by the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee and board chairman Jeffrey Hank said their campaign is growing.
"Everything's going great. We're on track and moving forward," he said, according to M Live. "We've got a widespread, grassroots, organic kind of donor base."
A survey in January by polling service EPIC-MRA of Lansing, Michigan found that 50 percent of Michigan would back a ballot legalizing and taxing marijuana. Medical marijuana is already allowed for qualifying conditions in Michigan. Four states -- Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon -- and Washington, D.C. have passed legislation legalizing marijuana.