Poor projections, fundraising failures highlighted in speech by CRMLA officer to MINORML; financial emergency has delayed petition turn-in
by Rick Thompson/November 13, 2017
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article includes references to both the MINORML and MILegalize organizations; the author is affiliated with both organizations. ~RT
MT PLEASANT- A speech to the Michigan NORML group (MINORML) by one of the officers of the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) emphasized a pushed-back date for submission of petitions and an emergency need of financial donations.
During the MINORML Quarterly Meeting at a hotel in central Michigan on Sunday November 12, member of the CRMLA team Lissa Satori read petition numbers she received by email moments before.
“250,288” validated petition signatures have been gathered by paid collection services and “25,732” valid signatures were provided by the MILegalize band of volunteers. This exceeds the roughly 252,000 signatures required to place a proposal on the November 2018 ballot by approximately ten percent.
Satori singled out MILegalize petitioner John Schlicker for securing approx. 10% of the MILegalize portion of the signatures, either directly capturing the signature or leading an event team of petitioners. Schlicker was given a standing ovation by the attendees at the event. Previously Schlicker had been instrumental in the signature drive of the 2016 MILegalize campaign, which secured over 300,000 signatures on petitions.
The figures provided by Satori are validated signature figures; she explained the total number of signatures collected by volunteers and paid petitioners was over 360,000. Volunteers with petitions are still encouraged to return those papers to their MILegalize coordinator so they can be submitted on time.
The CRMLA officer described an immediate $70,000 debt which needed to be satisfied before the professionally-collected petitions would be released by the company who collected them. By the end of the speech the figure needed was stated at $35,000, which Satori described as a ‘drop in the bucket’ in campaign finance terms, but reported that the scheduled submission of petitions to the State Bureau of Elections was delayed because of the shortfall.
“Tuesday,” was the date scheduled for the turn-in, according to Satori, but that had been pushed to Thursday at the earliest.
The CRMLA has conducted the campaign in such an efficient manner that it has cost 20% less to run the campaign than the Marijuana Policy Project and other organizers had projected, Satori said. The CRMLA is coordinated by Brandon Limbaugh, registered to an Ohio address in the CRMLA campaign finance report.
Even though their expenses were so much lower than the group projected at the campaign’s inception the CRMLA is in such financial strain that people on the campaign “have not been paid for three months,” Satori told the group and an unknown number of viewers on Facebook Live. She also referenced other outstanding debts, including to an unnamed attorney group. Recent email campaigns from Robin Schneider, financial director of the CRMLA, to the group’s supporters have appealed for donations using dire warnings and gloomy language.
“All money coming in right now goes immediately to the petition drive,” Satori assured the MINORML audience.
Satori asked that supporters of the CRMLA campaign give a final donation push via the CRMLA website. She told the crowd that the MILegalize group had met all of their obligations as members of the CRMLA, stating that it has been the volunteer signatures which have pushed this campaign over the top.
Also notable during the Quarterly Meeting was the induction of a new Board member of MINORML, Jessica Finch. Finch will assume the duties of Secretary for the MINORML Board; she was also recently elected to the Board of the MILegalize group. She joins Matthew Abel and this author as the only persons to currently sit on both Boards simultaneously.