Taking on pols at the polls
A state vote on legalization may not win, but could at least start an important dialogue
Published: January 11, 2012
Vote Green workshops are already planned for Waterford, Prudenville (near Houghton Lake), Lapeer and Ann Arbor. Horner points out that each of the 110 state representative seats are up for election this fall, creating an opportunity for voters to engage their state reps on the issue. If nothing else, state House elections could easily engage a lot of people who believe they can make a difference on the issue in their communities.
"Well under 1 percent of people who use cannabis are involved in the legal reform of cannabis," says St. Pierre. "Absent that dedicated funding from one of those known sources, this is a maypole to organize around, to draw people out from their smoky closets."
The fact that Wayne State University is hosting a Jan. 27 symposium on the implication of national and state marijuana reform shows that the discussion is taking off. Former state Attorney General Mike Cox is scheduled to give the keynote address at the Law School's Spencer M. Partrich auditorium. Seating is limited, and the event is likely already full, but more information is available at 313-577-8032.
Nationally it's hard to ignore that there could be five different states calling the question on legalizing marijuana. That's an unprecedented amount and something national pundits will have to address. If even one of those state initiatives is successful at the ballot, there will be celebration and caterwauling across the nation.
"California's Prop. 19 kicked off a massive discussion in the last election cycle," St. Pierre says. "Many failed initiatives forced a public discussion the elected body politic doesn't want to have. If Michigan and Montana officials had not clamped down so hard on medical marijuana, I don't think we would have seen these initiatives. The vicious political rebound has pushed activists to say, 'You don't like medical marijuana; you're not going to like legalization any better, so we'll go for that.'"
It's going to be a very interesting year. By the time November rolls around, we could be having a very, very interesting discussion.
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