Michigan marijuana legalization group to submit ballot language, 'crowdfund' campaign

LANSING, MI -- A new group seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan has a jump start in the race to the 2016 ballot.

The Michigan Cannabis Coalition -- one of three groups that may launch pot legalization petition drives -- plans to submit proposed language to the Secretary of State on Thursday for review by the Board of State Canvassers prior to public circulation.


Marijuana legalization ballot drive launched in Michigan

LANSING – Michigan would legalize the use of marijuana for recreational use under the proposed wording of a ballot initiative submitted to the state.

Once authorized by the Board of State Canvassers, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition's initiated law would require roughly 252,000 valid voter signatures before going to the Republican-led Legislature. If lawmakers rejected the bill or took no action, it would receive a statewide vote in November 2016.

The initiative announced Thursday is being supported by six to eight anonymous people from the agricultural, real estate, insurance and education sectors. Spokesman Matt Marsden says Michigan could add jobs and tax revenue by legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana.


Lawmaker pushes for legal marijuana in Michigan

Lawmaker pushes for legal marijuana in Michigan

Lawmaker pushes for legal marijuana in Michigan(Photo: Phil Dawson)

Lansing, Mich. (WZZM) - State Representative Jeff Irwin, (D) Ann Arbor, says punishing people for possessing and using marijuana is not working.

He says it's not preventing people who want it from buying the drug.

"Prohibition is ineffective," he says. "It's been a failure."

So Representative Irwin says he is introducing legislation to legalize marijuana.

Not decriminalize marijuana. Legalize recreational marijuana for adults.

"It would be much safer for our communities and much smarter as a policy to legalize and regulate marijuana and create an appropriate legal place for people to buy and sell," he says.


Grand Rapids man gets national attention for essay comparing marijuana laws to prohibition

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - As the tide seems to be turning toward the legalization of marijuana, a 26-year-old Grand Rapids man has written an award-winning treatise on what we should have learned from the dismantling of alcohol prohibition 80 years ago.

Timothy Cuffman, an accountability analyst for National Heritage Academies and graduate of NorthPointe Christian High School, was the winner of the annual essay contest sponsored by the Center for Alcohol Policy, an advocacy group based outside of Washington D.C.


Michigan State rep announces bill to legalize marijuana at Hash Bash

Dozens of activists -- including comedian Tommy Chong, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and State Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) -- spoke out about the various merits of marijuana at the 44th Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor Saturday.

Jim Powers told the large, smoky crowd gathered at the University of Michigan's Diag how cannabis oil has helped heal his 6-year-old son, Ryan, who was an autoimmune disease.

But Powers is not happy about the hazy implementation of the medical marijuana law.

"The state of Michigan has failed my family," he added.

The crowd heard other personal stories from folks like 18-year-old Alyssa Erwin, who says cannabis oil has rid her body of cancer not once, but twice.


Tommy Chong Calls on Michigan to Decriminalize Marijuana at Annual 'Hash Bash'

“Today is a celebration of the greatest plant known to me. I’m going to smoke one right now,” the comedian tells the crowd

Comedian Tommy Chong and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero joined thousands of weed advocates at this year’s pro-marijuana rally at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

Chong, 76, famous as half of the duo “Cheech and Chong,” headlined the 44th annual event.

The comedian joked he’s been to hash bashes before, though he doesn’t remember them all.


Lansing marijuana policy could get Hash Bash spotlight

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About 20 marijuana plants sit on a table Wednesday, April 1, 2015, at Puff-n-Stuff on Grand River Avenue in Lansing. The dispensory sells plants, harvested marijuana, edibles and other products.(Photo: Dave Wasinger/Lansing State Journal)Buy Photo

LANSING – Mayor Virg Bernero's planned speech Saturday at Hash Bash in Ann Arbor is expected to get plenty of attention, but it's unclear if words will lead to any action that makes Lansing's policy on the drug easier to understand and enforce.

The city already allows limited use of marijuana beyond medicinal purposes. Bernero is expected to help drive the effort for a possible 2016 ballot initiative that would make recreational use of the drug legal in Michigan.


Attorney transforms old warehouse into 'Fort Knox for pot' for medical marijuana growers

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The fact that there's money to be made in the marijuana business is nothing new, but the idea that it can be made legally is a novel concept.

At an undisclosed location on the city's West Side, criminal attorney Matthew Herman is looking to cash in on the growing tolerance of marijuana, legally and socially. And he plans to do it without ever growing a plant.

Herman admits that calling it the "Fort Knox for pot" may be a little over the top, but it coveys the general idea.


Unlikely advocate fights for medical marijuana access

Like any working mom, Denise Pollicella is busy.

The Howell-area attorney, a mother of two, balances her legal cases with other duties, such as taking her daughter to dance class.

Yet for the past several years, she’s also joined efforts to draft model legislation that would revise laws governing the growth, sale and distribution of medical marijuana in Michigan.

It’s legislation she believes is long overdue.

“Seven years ago, Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved the legalization of medical marijuana, and yet the Legislature hasn’t acted,” she said.

Marijuana use is legal in Michigan for patients with a doctor’s prescription and a state certified ID card. Patients can also designate a caregiver, who also must be certified by the state.


Michigan marijuana legalization advocates confirm plans for 2016 ballot proposal

LANSING, MI -- Michigan marijuana advocates have confirmed plans to launch a petition drive later this year and hope to put a legalization proposal on the statewide ballot in 2016.

As MLive first reported last month, the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee is one of two marijuana-related groups eyeing the 2016 ballot.

Board members officially announced the effort on Thursday, indicating that they want to strengthen the state's medical marijuana program, create a regulated system for taxable sales to adults over 21 and facilitate industrial hemp farming.

Committee Chair Jeffrey Hank, a Lansing attorney, said the group is fine-tuning draft language before submitting petitions to the Board of State Canvassers for review.


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