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Thursday, July 2, 2015

July V.G.I.P. Update - by Ben Horner

GRAND RAPIDS: After completing the first two in a series of VGIP meetings, it is evident that the Vote Green Initiative has both made a difference and is very real. The first meeting was in Traverse City on the twenty-second of June, followed by another two days later in Grand Rapids. These meetings were attended by good, local people, some who have been activists for marijuana law reform for many years. While still others are just becoming part of the movement, full of wonder and questions. Although trekking around the state teaching people is hard work, the need was there and the people in attendance received the VGIP team with a warm welcome, eager to get involved.

     Lifetime activist, Archie Kiel, educated us about petition gathering over the last two decades for both medical marijuana and legalization. Dressed in full MI Norml garb, Archie explained that some petition drives succeed and some fail due to lack of organization. He was exited about the MI legalize petition which is to debut in June. They are seeking financial support and volunteers to gather signatures. “The hard part is dealing with all the different counties, I think we can get it done,” he explained with a smile.

     Al Witt, president of the Northern Michigan Cannabis Guild, gave testimony about the events in Gaylord regarding dispensary raids, and his efforts to legalize medical marijuana provisioning centers in his city. The VGIP has been working with Al, as well as the rest of the dispensary people in Gaylord, to pass an ordinance to license provisioning centers similar to how they have been in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Flint.

     In Grand Rapids we met several people who were very interested in passing a positive ordinance in their community too. The VGIP was a major player in the local initiatives to remove penalties for possession of marijuana under city law and they succeeded in working with local officials in Flint to license provisioning centers.

     By the time this is printed, the VGIP will have had two more meetings in Detroit and Lansing. These meetings are open to the public and give everyone a chance to weigh in on the issues that are important to them. Free education on what is going on in Lansing and how to communicate with your lawmakers. If you are interested in having one of these meetings in your community please contact us at (810) 820-8953.



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