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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fight Back & Win with MiLegalize - by Chuck Ream


     Will we let massive money monopolize marijuana in Michigan? Or can we win cannabis freedom with MILegalize?

     Michigan cannabis law reform leaders met Feb. 8 to plan for the next two years. During this meeting the idea of a comprehensive cannabis ballot initiative came into being. Why not reform all aspects of cannabis policy, - legalization, medical, and hemp! Why not do it all and do it right?  We could even win the farmers vote!  We realized we could create an initiative that would:

1)  Legalize, regulate and tax the adult use of marijuana, (a locality may license a “marijuana establishment” or a “marijuana product manufacturing facility”, and a person may grow 12 plants).

2)  Extend, strengthen and solidify the rights of all Michigan citizens who have a doctor’s recommendation for marijuana, without touching the MMMA. (Dispensaries, edibles and concentrates will be legal, and pediatric rights better protected).

3)  Allow Michigan farmers to grow industrial hemp, (not only research institutions).

4)  Provide a path for a person with a cannabis related conviction to petition the court to have that conviction “set aside”.
The five attorneys in the room saw no reason this couldn’t be done. A ballot initiative is supposed to deal with only one subject and this deals with one subject – the regulation of cannabis. We were excited; it seemed like the perfect concept. We decided to have another meeting soon to refine our idea, pick a name, choose a board, and get the first check off to pay the attorney to draft the petition. (We had that meeting Feb. 21 in Okemos, Michigan.)

     Then we heard the disgusting news about the MRC (Michigan Responsibility Council).

     We have opened a growing market for legal marijuana in Michigan, but the big money boys have decided they want it for themselves. They are sure their money will guarantee them victory.

     First in Ohio and now in Michigan we have ten investors who want to take care of “legalizing marijuana” in a “responsible” manner - by monopolizing cultivation and extraction in their own cartel. The Michigan Responsibility Council features Republican consultant Paul Welday and Republican fundraiser Suzie Mitchell. The rest of their board is a group of ten anonymous Oakland county Republican investors.

     Their plan at this time is to raise ten million dollars to buy signatures and a major TV campaign, get rid of the MMMA, and kill off the home grow. Then they will provide all the legal marijuana (and extracted marijuana) that the Michigan market needs with ten large facilities owned by them.

The MRC effort is the opposite of freedom for cannabis.

     Believe it or not, a third group, the “Michigan Cannabis Coalition” says they have a legalization plan for the 2016 ballot. They also consist of Oakland County Republican operatives, also with a confidential board. They say they will “crowd fund” their campaign, turn control over to a special state board, and allow a home grow of two plants, among other things. They don’t have a chance to accomplish much – except compete with our initiative for funds, sow confusion, and screw us up. I think that’s why they exist.

     Suddenly, our effort was not just to keep our side on the offensive; now we are trying to avoid having our medical law and our home growing rights wiped out. Voters are going to be offered a cartel or monopoly form of “legalization” which claims to be “Responsible”. If we can place a “populist, small business” model before the voters they will choose it instead. THIS CLEARLY CAN BE DONE but will require sacrifice and work from all.

     Ready or not, our time of testing has come. We may get little help from outside (although we will follow every funding lead).  We need struggle, sacrifice, and unity to win our freedom in 2016 in Michigan!

     Money is coming in, but we need a million dollars! Please give now! So many folks are waiting for the other guy to give.

     The petition turn in date for the November election in 2016 is June 1, 2016. The MRC can wait to see what happens in Ohio, and what happens to us, since they have enough money to buy signatures in the winter. We need to get our petition approved as soon as possible and gather over a quarter of a million good signatures during the warmer months of 2015.

     We think we have already shaken the “Michigan Responsibility Council”, they have not actually taken in much money.  They seem unsure of what to do. If they put up money we will be sure they lose it.

          Everyone on the MILegalize board has been a strong activist for years! If we even get our proposal to the ballot the MRC will have to preserve the MMMA and the home grow in their proposal. If the 2016 field is clear I suppose they will do as they wish. 
Please say “No” to the cartel based “legalization” model and “Yes” to the populist, small business, employment and economic growth model.

     Our comprehensive initiative is the best anywhere. See our language at milegalize.com. We can make this happen in Michigan if we can activate people (with our hundreds of businesses, a patient base of more than 100,000, and so many fine activists and volunteers.)

     We have a very strong board. The executive director of the campaign is Jeff Hank, a Lansing attorney, very dedicated, a great speaker, brilliant & quick thinking, and movie star handsome. There are a dozen more of us, but, the board can’t win this. It will take us all.

     No grass roots effort like this has ever succeeded, in any state. However, failure isn’t an option!

     We can do this if we have the will. The money and skills are here now.

     We can win this! It is absurd to live in ignorance, despair, or inertia as the rich strip away the freedom we have fought so long and hard for.

     It is YOUR TIME to be a hero in the struggle to free our plant and our people! Organizers are hero’s because they plan ahead and work constantly. Donors of money are superheros, for money greases all wheels; it will be the lifeblood of our victory. My greatest admiration, however, goes to the petitioner – the person who approaches a stranger with a petition on a clipboard; and gets that stranger to properly sign their name to it. Only with petitioners going on day after day, and month after month, will we win. 

     This is it! SUPPORT MILeagalize! Write a check! Business owners are encouraged to give $2500. Folks with decent jobs could give $1000, others less…and all of us could “bundle” together either money or signatures from others. I will pledge $1000 per month, and not because I can “afford” it.

     Please check out MILegalize.com, to contribute or volunteer today! Please get signatures!! The second half of 2015 will be devoted to petitioning! It’s up to us! We will step up or be bumped off!

2 comments:

  1. Complete legalization is the only way to end the potential dominance of marijuana usage by greedy opportunistic a-holes! As long as there is a potential to concentrate political power,( ie., law enforcement) or a potential to accumulate mega-bucks (ie., Scarface) there will be players that don't give a shit about working class patients with legit concerns. Legalize and be done with it! Let's get it on the ballot and put an end to those 'business' opportunities for these parasitic vultures seeking power!

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