i saw this in the free press and as a user that is facing legal trouble i thought you all should nkow that it could soon be legal.
Pot petition drive is under way
Proposal seeks state regulation; backers aim for 2006 ballot
May 6, 2005
BY DAWSON BELL
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Marijuana laws in Michigan would be transformed from among the harshest in the country to the most liberal under a proposed amendment to the state constitution that backers hope to place before voters in 2006.
A group based in Sterling Heights called Win-the-War has begun circulating petitions for a proposal to regulate marijuana in Michigan in the same way as liquor, and hopes to collect more than 320,000 petition signatures by Oct. 1.
Bruce Ritchie, who describes himself as a full-time activist, told a panel of state elections officials Thursday that legalization of marijuana would lead to myriad benefits, including:
•Lowering crime and the use of hard drugs by getting marijuana out of the underworld.
•Protecting kids by setting the legal age of consumption at 21.
•Saving taxpayer money and resources now devoted to a failed war on drugs.
•Promoting liberty and individual freedom.
The Board of State Canvassers approved the form of a petition being used by the group, but made clear that it was not endorsing the proposal.
Ritchie, who uses the nom de guerre Z. Harris (a character in the Doonesbury comic strip), said after the meeting that Win-the-War has enough money to print petitions -- $3,000 to $4,000 -- and about 400 volunteers. And he expressed optimism that more money will become available.
Michigan marijuana activists have tried at least three times since the mid-1990s to place liberalization before voters, but failed to collect enough signatures twice.
A third initiative collected the signatures but was short-circuited by a mistake in drafting the amendment language. That effort was financed by a national network of wealthy supporters, however, and Ritchie said he is not expecting that kind of support.
By making marijuana legal to grow and possess, and establishing a system of in-state commercial sale, Michigan would become the most marijuana-friendly state in the country, Ritchie said.
Voters in several other states approved marijuana use for medicinal purposes during the last decade.
But the success rate for ballot proposals nose-dived in 2002, and no state has legalized pot for adults generally.
Ritchie said if the measure is on the ballot and approved it would almost certainly be challenged by the U.S. Justice Department as a violation of federal regulation. But he said it was carefully drafted to survive such a challenge.
Contact DAWSON BELL at 313-222-6604 or email@example.com.