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Why Are People Overlooking Marijuana Legalization Efforts In Michigan?


michigan marijuana legalization milegalizeI have been following Michigan marijuana politics since I started this blog in 2010. I actually watched prior to that from afar, but after co-founding this blog in 2010, I have always kept a keen eye on Michigan. One of my favorite activists on this planet is Rick Thompson. You may recognize his name since I syndicate his articles on this site. Rick’s site is called The Compassion ChroniclesThere is no better source for Michigan marijuana news than his site, and I encourage you to check it out. I literally check the site a few times a day to see if Rick has posted something new.

If there is one thing that I know about Michigan marijuana politics, it’s that there is a ton of support for marijuana legalization in the state. I am not referring to polling, which is favorable too. What I’m referring to is the grassroots network that exists in Michigan. The activists there are very talented, and very passionate about reform. As such, they are a political force which is more than capable of getting legalization on the ballot for the 2016 Election, and is more than capable of winning.

michigan local marijuana election victoriesMichigan, as far as I know, is home to the most local marijuana reform victories in America. Every election cycle, no matter how big or small, usually results in one or more Michigan municipalities voting to reform marijuana laws on the local level (see the chart to the left, courtesy of Rick Thompson). All of those victories have built a huge amount of momentum for Michigan to legalize at the state level.

Despite the favorable polling, the grassroots team on the ground, and a significant amount of momentum, Michigan is overlooked by veteran activists and members of the marijuana industry and media. Why? There are two efforts in Michigan to legalize marijuana. The one whose efforts I see getting the most traction is MILegalize. The other effort has some national funding from what I hear, but as far as I know, MILegalize does not, even though it is clearly doing an amazing job. Why don’t national organizations back the initiative? Why don’t national funders pony up some donations to help Michigan become likely the sixth state to put marijuana legalization on that 2016 ballot?

I was in Vegas last week attending several marijuana industry events. Time after time I saw speakers get behind the podium, and state that there will likely be five marijuana legalization initiatives on the 2016 ballot, listing California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. Often times they would throw Rhode Island and Vermont into the mix as states that may legalize via legislative action. Every time, without exception, they would leave Michigan out. That would then soon be followed by me bellowing out ‘And Michigan too!’ from the back of the room, which always drew weird looks, probably because I was always the most under dressed person at the venue. I have seen Michigan left out of almost every media outlet’s list of ‘states that may legalize in 2016′ too. Again, why?

Michigan is RIPE for marijuana legalization. Michigan arguably needs this new industry more than any other state in America considering the tough economic times that the state has endured for a very long time. I want to see those much needed jobs to come to Michigan. I want to see the next great American industry generating much needed tax dollars in Michigan. I want to see the local economies boosted, and run down parts of Michigan to be revitalized by the cannabis industry. I hope that TWB readers want the same thing for Michigan, whether they live there or not.

If you live in Michigan, know that TWB is here and we will always help you as much as we can. We salute you, believe in you, and know that you can do this! Go get ’em Michigan!


About Author

Johnny Green


  1. They tell us that they have had significant funds committed to several other states in 2016.

    However, after demonstrating that we have achieved significant progress and could just use some help- not the financing of an entire campaign- should be getting some attention.

    It is dubious that it has not.

  2. I did vote for the Michigan Marijuana Act of 2008. Under the language of the original bill there was minimal regulation and NO taxation. As the years pass the Michigan Legislature continues to try and change the people-based model to a big business model, a la tobacco and alcohol. I fear that if recreational sales and use are “legalized”, then home grows will become “illegal”.

  3. Um, you dont understand the process if you are calling for a ‘referendum’ to legalize dope…
    A referendum is what one does to Stop newly passed law. A referendum is who you repeal or Abrogate a new piece of legislation.

    As far as adding or changing current legislative policy, there are 2 ways to do that.
    1 is an indirect legislative initiative. This is a piece of language that is crafted to be legislative by nature. IE, that is to say an Indirect Legislative Initiative, is nothing more than policy that the State’s Legislature can rewrite, and ‘interpret’ as they see fit. Because it is Indirect, therefore does not actually Constitutionally applicable. You see, this is how the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was passed. Not by People’s Initiated Referendum as that is a total misrepresentation and application of the actual process you are trying to refer to, but are ill informed on…
    An Indirect Legislative Initiative is basically begging Government to fix an issue, with their legislating prowess’.

    2 is a Constitutional Amendment. This is known in other states as the ‘Direct Initiative Amendment” but is called the Direct Constitutional Amendment in Michigan. This is We the People Telling the entire state government to set down, shut the hell up, we dont care you childissh servants think.

    You see, with a Constitutional Amendment, there is no begging of the State.
    There is only Telling the State how its going to be as we use Box number 2, because the State has all but killed Box number 1.

    Our founders only gave us 3 boxes to use in the redress of government.
    The Jury Box.
    The Ballot Box.

  4. saynotohypocrisy on

    Because Michigan has an initiative process. If enough people agree with you, you could get a referendum on the ballot in MI to legalize weed without regulating and taxing it, wouldn’t matter what the Michigan pols think. How much more different do you want?

  5. saynotohypocrisy on

    Well, you try to get it done the way you want it done, others folks are more willing to compromise and move gradually, we’ll see who has more to show for their efforts.

  6. Legalized Recreational Dope is an oxymoron, and the Least desirable aspect of cannabis. And anyone who supports Cannabis use should not be supporting Massive government Expansion via Tax and Regulate.

    In Washington State. Tax and Regulate wants to make it a FELONY for MIP.

    Supporting Tax and Regulated extended Prohibition is like Supporting Jarred from Subway today.

    Michigan will take Repeal of Prohibition for the game winner.

  7. What makes you think Michigan is any different? Because fountainheads here spray all over you and leave you all wet?

  8. How would more police committing raids, more people being arrested and more court dockets being inked be good for Michigan?
    More Laws Create More Criminals…

  9. Tax and Regulate is just Extended Prohibition.
    Therefore thinking Legalized Recreational Dope will pass in Michigan clearly shows ones lack of comprehension of Michigan’s core base.

  10. Say Yes to Abrogate Prohibition Michigan.

    Join Us on Facebook here:

    Get involved and volunteer for the coming Michigan Constitutional Amendment to Repeal Prohibition fully in Michigan, and make cannabis Lawful, and remove all Penalty and Fines.

    Michigan is going to Repeat ’33 with Cannabis Prohibition.
    No More Baby Steps.

  11. saynotohypocrisy on

    What question are you answering? It sounds like you’re answering the question of why things are going poorly for Michigan legalizers. But the last report from MILegalize is that they on track to make the ballot. The question is why the national groups aren’t supporting their already strong efforts, not why their petition drive is floundering, it’s not.

  12. saynotohypocrisy on

    Thanks to you and all the other volunteers trying to make history in the next month and next November.

  13. saynotohypocrisy on

    You’re fucked. Only path to legalization in NY is thru the corrupt, alcohol supremacist bigot legislature and guvnor.
    Cuomo hates cannabis users, I don’t know why, he’s making us scapegoats for crimes and social ills that have nothing to do with us.

    Maryland, where I live, was looking much more hopeful before social conservative Hogan got elected governor. We’re now in the same pig circus boat that NY is.
    I wrote Hogan twice about cannabis, politely enough, but his staff never wrote back, despite promising they would. When’s it comes to cannabis, Hogan, Cuomo, Kasich, Christie etc etc are fascist pigs who think their job is ordering their fellow citizens around like they are less than human.

  14. saynotohypocrisy on

    Does that mean you wouldn’t have voted for any of the legalization initiatives that have been passed or proposed? They all involve regulation and taxation. What about medical marijuana initiatives?
    There’s a saying about the perfect being the enemy of the good.

  15. Read above, but it was nice to see all the same. Residual effects of not living in the state or knowing anyone that does to verify what I had found.

  16. I just did a quick search and found a couple things that stated as such. I was not really certain one way or another so I was kind of in the dark when I posted, but it was what I came up with. Nice to know there is more freedom than what I had found.

  17. It’s a PLANT for cryin’ out loud. I believe that cannabis and hemp should be “decriminalized”, not “legalized”. It should not be “regulated” any more than tomatoes or cucumbers. NO to legalization, NO to regulation, NO to taxation!

  18. I’ve been volunteering for MI Legalize since June, the proposal would be great for Michigan. The MI Legalize volunteers are awesome. But I have noticed MI gets left off a lot of news articles as a state trying to legalize. Maybe that will change once we get on the ballot.
    Go Michigan volunteers!!!!!

  19. Maybe its not the concept of ‘legalization’ (or perhaps it is) but the way it is done by those failing to try to do it?

    Perhaps Michigan is done with Baby Steps.
    Maybe Michigan is done following the lead of bad leadership on top of the community, and those yellow journalists that have been erroneously reporting on it over the last 7 yrs, as they continue to do so today, full of misinformation, bias, and propaganda by said yellow journalist who are nothing more than old time carpetbaggers.

    Maybe Michigan are done with those that wanted to make deals with Lansing D.C., and then spray all over the community leaving them all wet, only to comeback 2 yrs later begging those that were told to sit down and shut up and not rock the boat while the Fountainheads were in Lansing D.C. for help giving government total control of legalized recreational pot.

    Maybe Michigan is sick of the Fountainheads making deals to secure their piece of the pie, while locking everyone else into the role of ‘consumer only’, to help a very few people, Capture the Burgeoning Market.

    Maybe Michigan is intelligent enough to see Legalization is a Lie that gives the Government what it can not take for itself, Control of Cannabis by Legalization.

    Alcohol is legal right up until you are arrested for it.

    Maybe Michigan is not a fool hearted as the rest of the country due to a far deeper understanding of what is really going on.

    But what do I know. I am just a set of Flapping Lips.
    Good thing I am not a woman or I would have likely been called a cunt, instead of a set of flapping lips.

  20. For those that live in Michigan that want to be a part of history please contact MILegalize on their website. They will mail you a petition or two and a return envelope.

  21. saynotohypocrisy on

    I’m been wondering about that too, why the national reform groups aren’t supporting MILegalize. Shortage of money, or something else? Certainly hope there’s no egos involved. Does anyone know the answer? Crunch time is coming up, little more than a month left for them to get the signatures they need to make the 2016 ballot.

  22. This isn’t true at all. We can create laws (the MMMA is an example that do not effect the constitution. Way off base here.

  23. Millions of Americans, young and old, depend on medical marijuana particularly when pharmaceuticals have failed them. NIDA, the US Dept of Health, and the US National Cancer Institute ALL agree that this plant “KILLS” cancer (as such it is clearly a medicine, for those of you in the DEA). Take a minute and sign the petition to force the director of the DEA (Chuck Rosenburg) to step down for his outrageous statements declaring that medical marijuana is a joke. If this disingenuous imbecile cannot play with the rest of the federal government’s own team he should resign!


  24. We have a ballot initiative process where if we gather 253,000 signatures within 180 days we will get a proposal on the ballot, once on the ballot voters decide and it becomes law.

    I don’t know what you are talking about

  25. This attention and observation is very much appreciated. Michigan is on its way to doing something historical in terms of creating the best policy to date for cannabis law reform on a state wide basis via a real grass roots effort without help from national organizations. It is also true that Rick Thompson is as good as it gets and so is the Compassion Chronicles!

    Please go to – http://thecompassionchronicles.bmobilized.com/?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&url=http%3A%2F%2Fthecompassionchronicles.com%2Fnews%2Fmichigan%2F – to subscribe to the Compassion Chronicles- and http://www.MILegalize.com to contribute and/or volunteer to the legalization effort in Michigan.

  26. From Michigan, south of lansing area. .I get 99% of my information from this site. I always got my eyes and ears open from any local source. News and web. I would love to know what news person is in favor of legalization locally, if their is any.

  27. As I understand it MI does not have a direct initiative process by which they can change the law unless they plan to change their constitution. That means that the legislature has to push a piece of legislation across before the public can vote on it.

    Indirect initiatives are then left to the prejudices of the elected officials, which means MI might to be taking it sweet time before it fully legalizes.
    Piece meal [aka city by city] movement is tough to rally around because it is not as concrete of a state wide call to end the madness.

  28. hempforfood.org on

    Tried to subscribe to Rick’s site The Compassion Chronicles but wasn’t able to (technical glitch?). Also, does Rick have a twitter account? Thanks.

  29. All the judges and politicians are blocking all efforts because the sheriff association scum are bankrolling judges and politicians with campaign contributions for those judges that think cannabis is a joke.

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