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marijuana legalization

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The MILegalize Board of Directors announced today that their campaign has collected over 240,000 signatures to legalize cannabis in Michigan. In order to qualify for the November 2016 general election ballot, the petition hopes to collect another 50,000 to comfortably reach the 252,000 required valid signatures.  

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Michigan election officials have approved the format of a petition for a third marijuana-related ballot initiative.

The initiative would amend the Michigan Constitution to legalize cannabis for personal, recreational, commercial, agricultural and other uses. The definition of use includes growing, manufacturing, delivery, and consumption.

"What we are calling for is full repeal of cannabis prohibition across the state," said Timothy Locke, lead organizer of the petition effort for Abrogate Prohibition Michigan.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Supreme Court has let stand an amendment to the Grand Rapids city charter that decriminalizes marijuana.

The amendment was approved by Grand Rapids voters in 2012. It makes possession of or sharing marijuana a civil infraction punishable by fines ranging from $25 to $100 with no jail time.

It also makes marijuana cases a low police priority, and forbids city law enforcement officials from referring marijuana cases to the Kent County prosecutor’s office.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Later today, the Board of State Canvassers will consider changing a rule that would give more time to a marijuana legalization petition.

Jeff Hank leads the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee. He wants the Board of Canvassers to ease a 180-day limit for petition signatures.

“We want to make sure we submit accurate, not fraudulent … signatures,” says Hank, “and in order to do that, we’re going to need a little bit more time.”

USFWS

Ohio voters resoundingly rejected a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana on Tuesday.  But that’s not deterring a similar campaign in Michigan.

Failure of the proposed constitutional amendment follows an expensive campaign, a legal fight over its ballot wording, and an investigation into the proposal's petition signatures.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Regular marijuana use is increasing nationwide, and in Michigan, more people are going to jail for it.

Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008. Proposals for the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana have been voted on in 21 Michigan cities since 2011, with 15 communities approving them.

This political cartoon was printed in 1812 in reaction to the newly drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts Legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry.
Elkanah Tisdale / Boston Centinel, 1812

Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants conducted a poll of 600 likely voters from Aug. 4-8 about how they felt financially, possible changes in redistricting, and the potential legalization of recreational marijuana.

In terms of those saying they're better off, Jeff Williams, CEO of Public Sector Consultants says things look relatively "rosy" for Michigan. More than half say they're "about the same," and around a quarter of them say they're "better off."

A button promoting marijuana legalization.
Danny Birchall / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Everything you ever wanted to know about marijuana in Michigan was discussed this week on Stateside.

From the politics - to the business - to the potential downsides.

We sat down with reporters, business owners, and law enforcement to learn more about the topic.

Here's a quick rundown of what we covered:

flickr user bobdoran / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We’ve reviewed the movements pushing for marijuana legalization in Michigan, we’ve taken a look at how legal pot has treated Colorado, and we’ve heard the viewpoint of a medical marijuana caregiver in Ann Arbor.

Today, we get the law enforcement perspective.

The January EPIC/MRA poll shows 57% support legalizing recreational weed in Michigan
flickr user Dank Depot / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

More than 50% of Michigan voters say in recent polls that they support marijuana legalization.

Two groups hope to put legalization proposals on the November 2016 ballot.

flickr user Eljoja / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

When it comes to the issue of marijuana – to legalize or not to legalize – Michigan seems to be about where Colorado was not too long ago.

Colorado had over a decade to experiment with medical marijuana before legalizing its recreational use in November 2012, which Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus tells us gave the state ample opportunity to figure out how marijuana can fit into the political and business landscape.

“Medical marijuana was huge. The state then decided, hey, we need to regulate this thing,” he says.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Getting high in Michigan has certainly changed over the past few years.

Voters legalized marijuana for medical purposes in Michigan in 2008. Soon, it could be legal just for fun.

A number of groups seeking to legalize cannabis in Michigan are working to put ballot proposals on the 2016 ballot.

Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Attorneys specializing in marijuana law now have their own division within the State Bar of Michigan.

The state Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals have had to rule on several cannabis issues since voters approved medical marijuana in 2008.

The chair of the new division says it will make it easier to attorneys to keep track of Michigan’s complex and ever-evolving medical marijuana law. 

Jake Neher / MPRN

The race is on to legalize marijuana in Michigan in 2016.

At least three groups are working to put the question in front of voters. But money will play a big role in deciding which of those groups actually makes the ballot.

Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

A campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan started collecting signatures on Thursday at a rally in front of the state Capitol.

Organizers with the group MILegalize admit it will be a challenge to raise the money needed to collect enough signatures. But they’re optimistic.

Marijuana citations going unpaid in Grand Rapids

Jun 22, 2015
Marijuana plant.
user Coleen Whitfield / flickr

The city of Grand Rapids has failed to collect more than $100,000 in fines for marijuana use over the past three years.

In 2012, the city voted to decriminalize the drug. This made possession and use of marijuana a civil infraction, akin to being charged with a speeding ticket or traffic violation.

Yet while collection rates for most civil infractions are high, marijuana tickets are often ignored.

Marijuana plant.
user Coleen Whitfield / flickr

Two Michigan groups hoping to legalize marijuana in Michigan can begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2016 ballot after a state elections board signed off on the groups' petition language.

flickr user bobdoran / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A couple of groups hoping to legalize marijuana in 2016 have a green light to move forward.

A state elections board signed off on each group’s petition language Thursday. They can now begin collecting signatures.

user elioja / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state elections board has given a green light to a petition drive to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan.

The petition language mirrors legislation currently in the state House that would end laws requiring union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Those bills appear to be stalled.

Legally grown marijuana in Colorado.
Brett Levin / creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

As state lawmakers search for ways to come up with the money needed to fix Michigan’s battered and bumpy roads, one state representative tossed out this idea: Legalize and tax marijuana, and then put that new revenue to work.

State Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, joins us today to talk about this idea.

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