Rick Thompson is a Board member of the Michigan chapter of NORML. This is a letter he sent to the organization’s membership on January 1, 2018. Although the letter is directed at membership it carries a message applicable to all Michiganders. Please read and be inspired by these words.
~THE Social Revolution.org staff
I wanted to take this moment to congratulate Michigan and our MINORML supporters on progressing toward our goal of marijuana liberalization. Our state is advancing rapidly with the MILegalize/CRMLA legalization ballot initiative, the rollout of the MMFLA program, candidates who embrace cannabis as a debate topic and a citizenry who seem unwilling to buy into the standard drug war lies any more.
2017 was a year of great progress and great sadness; our business community has been dealt a severe blow and many patients in large portions of the state are without any organized distribution centers for medicinal cannabis. Although the new dispensary system is forming it has been a slow process. Many of the faces we have come to know in the Michigan cannabis community will fade and other faces will rise. Change is upon us.
Although the environment in Michigan for the reform of marijuana laws looks positive, pitfalls await. National groups will descend upon our shores to deliver anti-cannabis messaging in advance of the 2018 Gubernatorial election, and will hit us hard if the MILegalize proposal is on the ballot. Anti-cannabis Attorney General Bill Schuette is the most likely Republican to run for the state’s top political position. Lobbyists in Lansing are still trying to shape our laws to their client’s advantage, and they have the ear of important people in decision-making positions. Citizen groups have faded; the public’s response to cannabis emergencies is tepid. Our protests draw a fraction of the attendance they did just a few years ago.
In this past year of change and the future year of hope, the role of organizations like Michigan NORML cannot be understated. The real PEOPLE have no voice in our state’s capital. Even lobbyists we trust are still advancing their client’s agenda, which may or may not coincide with our own ideals of right and wrong. Gathering under the banner of an organization with a national reputation affords us the ability to open doors, gain media attention and accomplish things start-up organizations or trade groups cannot. As we have seen recently, there are those who seek to capitalize on the MINORML reputation to support their individual business goals, even without authorization.
The mantle of responsibility weighs heavily upon our shoulders. As members or supporters of MINORML we are all taking charge of our future and supporting an organization whose mission is consistent: reforming marijuana laws in ways which advantage the individual citizen, ensure home cultivation rights and eliminate discrimination in our state against cannabis consumers.
Nationally we are winning the battle. In Michigan, we are winning the battle. Locally our challenges are ever-present; the standard societal trend has always featured urban areas as centers of change where rural areas are slow to adapt, and this is certainly true in the field of cannabis law reform. Despite many challenges, we are closer to accomplishing our ultimate goal than ever before! This is a time for people to join our national movement by registering to join MINORML or by renewing their membership.
In 2018, our Michigan cannabis community will grow in numbers and in importance. As a national leader and as the longest-running state cannabis law reform organization, MINORML is going to be at the forefront of state action in support of cannabis users.
When we cross the finish line it will be a group win. I will be proud to take that journey with each and every one of you.
Board Member, Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws