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Thursday, April 26, 2018

V.G.I.P Update - by Kathy Hess

April 15th marked a good day for the marijuana movement in Michigan, and a good day for the VGIP. 

Dana Nessel, the first openly gay candidate to run for a statewide office in Michigan and an early supporter for the legalization of marijuana, showing her progressive view, won the Democratic nomination for Michigan Attorney General, after nearly ten hours of speeches and voting at the Cobo Center that Sunday.

Plymouth attorney, Nessel, who was a leader and champion to the same sex marriage equality efforts, has earned the endorsement of MiLegalize and the Teachers Union and over came (the United Auto Workers Union, who threw their support for) Pat Miles, on the 15th.

True, Miles had thrown his support for cannabis in the form of supporting whatever the people of Michigan wanted, but it was late coming, and viewed by many to be a flip-flop of political views, more than likely a political move to gain the support of majority of Michiganders who back the recreational effort.  But Nessel came out early and strong in support of Michigan cannabis reform, and her view on the people of Michigan having liberty to choose cannabis never wavered.

It’s also an achievement for the Cannabis Caucus.  With the aid of the Teachers Union and MILegalize, support from those seeking to make progress on the legalization of marijuana through out the state helped to unseat the long running political power of
the UAW. 

More than 6,700 democrats traveled through freezing rain and winter storm conditions to show their support for one candidate or the other, majority of them energetically supporting Nessel. That was a vast improvement over the 700 dems that appeared to have their voices heard back in 2010.

That is what’s most important about what happened at Cobo on the 15th.  In the wake of the Trump presidency, the blue wave which appears to be sweeping many states and Michigan is no different.  No one will be ignoring the power of those who want legal access to cannabis come November, not in Michigan anyway. 

The cannabis caucus has power, and now its known.  Which is why it’s now rumored that our state Republican controlled House and Senate might choose to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana instead of allowing the measure to go on the ballot for Michiganders to decide.  They recognize our voting power, and our ability to recognize politicians who truly support cannabis and those who only see it as a political tool to gain support. 

But they also see the marijuana voter as a single-issue voter, and if they make the move to legalize their hopes are that many of us will stay home on November 6th, presumably halting the blue wave reclaiming this traditionally blue state. Some might argue that the greatly increased turnout to Cobo on the 15th to prop up a dedicated cannabis supporter is evidence of such.

But we cannot waver.  We still need to be informed.  We still need to get to the voting booth November 6th.  Even if recreational marijuana is legislatively enacted, we still need to vote.  We need to pay attention to every candidate and their view on marijuana regulations (and any other issue that matters to us) as how recreational marijuana will be handled could be legislated over for some time.

April 15th 2018 was proof that getting out, supporting cannabis reform and those who uphold the legalization of marijuana, makes a difference.  Keep paying attention, keep voting green!

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