Schuette fires another salvo against MMJ
And Kalamazoo voters, in chater amendment question, holding firm
Published: November 16, 2011
Abel says he is not sure which route to take, but there is certainly a lot of fuel to fire up the arguments. A poll commissioned by Ben Horner, publisher of the monthly Michigan Medical Marijuana Report, found that about 57 percent of Michiganders support decriminalization and about 50 percent support full legalization. That's in line with an October Gallup poll which found that 50 percent of Americans support decriminalization of marijuana, while 46 percent oppose it. That's the highest amount of support for decriminalization since Gallup began polling on the subject in 1969.
Regardless of the goal of a petition initiative, it will be a tight schedule to get it done. Petition initiatives need to gather all of their signatures within six months of the kickoff. To be on the November ballot, petitions are due May 30. That means collecting signatures largely during the winter when it is most difficult. On the other hand, with about 100,000 registered medical marijuana patients in the state, it won't be that hard to get the 258,088 valid signatures needed to put the question on the ballot; if patients gather 10 signatures each, there'd be plenty of margin for error. Figure the rising power of social media, and it seems that this could be a less expensive undertaking than passage of the MMMA, which cost about $1.5 million. But once on the ballot, pro-pot campaigners face a public relations battle with Schuette and others with many resources at hand.
Ultimately, it's a question for voters to answer. So I'm calling the question to readers: Do you think there should be a new petition drive? For decriminalization? For legalization? Please let us know what you think — respond via email or snail mail, or leave a comment with the Web version of this column at metrotimes.com. Let your voice be heard.
My last column discussed former Detroit Police Chief Isaiah "Ike" McKinnon coming out in support of legalizing marijuana. It has since come to my attention that before becoming chief of police here in 2002, Jerry Oliver wrote an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch decrying law enforcement's costly focus on drug crimes. Oliver left office in 2003, in Detroit after he left a loaded gun in his airport luggage. Did Detroit miss a progressive opportunity there?
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