Initiatives: Michigan Marijuana Initiative Effort Gets Underway 5/13/05

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A move to legalize marijuana is once again breaking out in the Midwest. A Michigan group, Win-the-War, has begun gathering signatures to place an amendment to the state constitution that would eliminate all penalties for the personal use, possession, or cultivation of pot on the November 2006 ballot.

The group won approval for its petitions from the state Board of Canvassers May 5 and immediately began efforts to gather the 320,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot. Organizers have until October 1 to reach that goal.

"This is about controlling and regulating marijuana to take it off the streets and out of the black market," Win-the-War's Bruce Ritchie told the board, according to a report in the Lansing State Journal. Legalizing marijuana would lower crime rates and reduce underage consumption of the weed, he added.

The proposed amendment:

  • Eliminates state and local laws criminalizing possession or personal cultivation of cannabis by adults.
  • Permits the use of medical marijuana by patients under 21 if prescribed by a doctor.
  • Permits Michigan residents to apply for state certificates for commercial cultivation or manufacture (as in making brownies).
  • Permits licensed Michigan liquor retailers to sell cannabis to adults.
  • Permits the legislature to enact laws barring cannabis on public lands, such as schools and prisons, and to enact laws criminalizing public consumption of cannabis or driving under the influence.
No initiative to regulate marijuana has passed in any state. In Nevada in 2002, 40% of voters approved a similar initiative, while last year in Alaska, reformers won an all-time high of 44% of the vote.

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Issue #386 -- 5/13/05

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Editorial: Paying for Propaganda | Feature: Marijuana Remains Legal in Alaska | Feature: Major Russian Drug Reforms on Verge on Being Reversed | Feature: ONDCP Student Drug Testing Road Show Dogged by "Truth Squads" | Announcement: DRCNet/Perry Fund Event to Feature US Rep. Jim McDermott, June 1 in Seattle | Sentencing: House Passes Orwellian "Anti-Gang" Mandatory Minimums | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Cocaine: Connecticut House Passes Bill to Eliminate Crack/Powder Disparities | Pain: Boston Congressman Wants Nationwide Ban on Oxycontin | Pain: ABC's Nightline Gives Sympathetic Look at Pain Treatment vs. Prohibition | Prisons: Sex Abuse of Federal Inmates by Guards "A Significant Problem," Justice Department Says | Initiatives: Denver Marijuana Initiative Submitted for Approval | Initiatives: Michigan Marijuana Initiative Effort Gets Underway | Middle East: Lawless Iraq Becoming Key Drug Corridor, INCB Says | Asia: Taiwan Considers Syringe Access to Reduce AIDS Spread | Caribbean: "Ganja Planter" Lament Tops the Charts in Trinidad & Tobago | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Listing: Outreach Coordinator, Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (DRCNet) | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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