by Rick Thompson/November 16, 2017
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article mentions the MILegalize and Michigan NORML organizations; the author is on the Boards of Directors of both organizations. ~RT
LANSING- A late-hour press release from the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), an umbrella organization, has announced that petitions to legalize marijuana in Michigan will be submitted to the state Bureau of Elections on Monday, November 20.
The news comes on the heels of a fundraising effort led by this author and criminal defense attorney Bruce Leach to raise the $35,000 needed to offset a fundraising deficit announced by a CRMLA officer to the Michigan chapter of NORML on Sunday November 12. That officer clearly stated that the professional signature gathering company used by the CRMLA refused to release the signatures until the debt was paid, a situation which had halted plans to submit signatures on Tuesday, November 14.
Campaign spokesman Josh Hovey told the Detroit News on Monday, November 13, that “National Petition Management of Brighton will not release final signatures from paid circulators until the group settles its debt of roughly $30,000.” The professional signature gathering effort came under fire in August amid charges that paid circulators were not accurately portraying the nature of the two petitions they carried: cannabis legalization and a prevailing wage proposal.
Within hours of being launched on Wednesday, November 15 the Internet and email-based fundraising campaign had raised $6,000 from attorneys and business professionals across the state.
The new press release, issued later that same day by Hovey, does not identify any other efforts to raise funds nor does it indicate how the $35,000 debt was settled. It does name the partners in the CRMLA’s successful petition drive: the Marijuana Policy Project, MILegalize, Michigan NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and two state-based lobbying entities.
MILegalize conducted the volunteer portion of the petition drive to collect signatures. A call to all volunteers to return petitions to MILegalize organizers has dominated November’s messaging from the group. MIlegalize also conducted a debate forum on cannabis issues for five gubernatorial candidates on November 14 in Ypsilanti, one which was labeled as “historic” and “trend-setting” by media and attendees.
The press release also announces a new addition to the Committee: the National Cannabis Industries Association. The national trade organization is a well-known entity, and they join the CRMLA family of members at the conclusion of the petition drive.
“The campaign plans to hold a press conference announcing the signature turn-in at 1:00 Monday, Nov. 20 at a to-be-determined location in Lansing,” said Hovey via the press release.
Read the entire press release here: