Marijuana Ballot Proposal In The Works

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Mar 22, 2001.

  1. By Dawson Bell, Free Press Lansing Staff
    Source: Detroit Free Press

    Advocates for the decriminalization of possessing marijuana in Michigan are preparing to begin another petition drive, in hopes of placing the issue before voters in 2002.
    A group called PRAyes will ask state officials Friday to approve the form of petitions to be used in the drive. It plans to kick off the campaign at a national symposium in Ann Arbor the day before the annual Hash Bash on April 7.

    Petition drive director Greg Schmid, a Saginaw attorney who also coordinated an unsuccessful marijuana petition drive last year, said the new effort will have the benefit of experience, time and changing public attitudes.

    "We're not encouraging the use of drugs. We're attacking the intolerance of the failed war on drugs," he said.

    "It's time to put prohibition on the trash heap of history."

    The ballot proposal would amend the Michigan Constitution to decriminalize the at-home possession of small amounts (3 ounces) of marijuana and three live marijuana plants. It would also change forfeiture laws to direct the proceeds from drug, gambling and alcohol seizures toward programs for the treatment of addiction.

    Schmid said the measure is intended to authorize personal possession and use of marijuana by adults. It would remain illegal for "kids, in cars and in public," he said.

    Schmid said a core group of volunteers who participated in last year's failed drive are ready to begin, with county directors in half of Michigan's 83 counties. He said the group also will benefit from a summer-long collection effort. In 2000, the signature collection operation was forced to begin in worse weather in order to meet tight deadlines for the fall election.

    PRAyes needs the signatures of 302,711 registered voters to qualify for the ballot. No petition drive has qualified for the state ballot in more than a decade without the use of paid signature collectors, something Schmid said PRAyes cannot afford. It does have a Web site,

    But he said he is encouraged by the experience in other states in recent years. In the 2000 election, voters in Colorado and Nevada approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes. And both Oregon and Utah adopted forfeiture reforms.

    Note: Group seeks OK to use small amounts of drug.

    Contact Dawson Bell at:

    Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
    Author: Dawson Bell, Free Press Lansing Staff
    Published: March 22, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Detroit Free Press

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