Have you ever argued with a cop about how unfair a law is or that the cop was wrong for pulling you over? Maybe it was a seatbelt violation, a burned-out blinker or a failure to make a complete stop. You complained and the cop said, “look, I don’t make the laws, I just enforce them”. On Wednesday, not only did we witness cops trying to influence the law, we also saw them do it in an organized manner all across the state. It’s also worth mentioning that they were joined by prosecutors and public health officials to warn the public about the dangers of legalizing marijuana and how legalization would reshape Michigan’s landscape for the law enforcement community. And they’re right! It will reshape the legal landscape so that cannabis consumers are free to grow, possess, consume cannabis products without fear of arrest or prosecution so long as they conduct themselves within the limits of the law. And while they understand what’s about to happen, they’re not going to let it happen without a fight because the future of law enforcement, their inability to arrest people with cannabis will have a huge impact on the policies of every department across the state because in 2016, marijuana arrests accounted for 9% of ALL arrests that year! Readjusting to a new paradigm where it’s legal for people to grow and possess cannabis, a paradigm where 9% of your workload vanishes overnight, that will take time for members of law enforcement to accept, but eventually they will.
Opponents of legalization, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, public health officials, oh, and former Senate Majority Leader, the Honorable Randy Richardville, and an unnamed opposition group whose funding comes from Washington D.C.’s Project SAM, dominated one news cycle with 47 days to go before the election by implementing a well-designed and flawlessly executed event to oppose legalization. The second facet of this media blitz was an poll done by Target Insyght, commissioned by MIRS News Service and Governmental Consulting Services Inc. (GCSI) that showed the ballot question, Prop 18-1, down 41 to 47 percent. That poll contradicted most other polls including a very recent poll from WDIV/DetroitNews that showed Prop 1 with likely-voter support of 56 percent. The third act of their performance was a ginned-up report from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group that provided 176 pages of modern mythology about the impact of cannabis legalization in Colorado. They were armed and ready for battle, but what did they accomplish?
47 days left in a campaign is an very long time when you’re sitting on a comfortable, yet precarious lead. Did popo make up any ground in the polls with their lobbying? Maybe, maybe not. They may have shot their wad a bit too early, but we don’t know what the unnamed group has left in it’s playbook for the next 45 days and this could just have been the opening salvo from our opponents.
Cannabis consumers need to understand, we will face opposition, but we can not respond to every move they make with knee-jerk reactions. The Marijuana Policy Project, who is the primary benefactor for Prop 1, hired the best ballot initiative PR firms in Michigan, Truscott Rossman (TR). TR was founded in 2011 by Kelly Rossman-McKinney and John Truscott, who have more than 50 years combined communications consulting experience. Together they have individually been ranked the No. 1 and No. 2 most effective public relations professionals each time MIRS/EPIC-MRA has surveyed state Capitol insiders—in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. The survey has also continuously ranked their firms as a whole as the top 1 and 2 most effective firms in the state in each of the years the survey has been conducted. We have to put our faith in TR at this point to make the right calls. I trust them and you should too!
So for the next 45 day, here’s what folks can do;
1) Make sure that you, your family members and all your friends are registered to vote
2) The last day to register to vote is October 9, 2018
3) Make a plan with family and friends to vote in groups and designate a driver
4) Learn more about cannabis and it’s social and physiological impacts
5) Talk to people about legalization at social gatherings and out in public
6) Leave comments and have discussions on social media
7) Pass out fliers and put a sign in your lawn or in the window of your business (as soon as available)
8) Buy a button to support our work
9) Make a donation to the campaign
10) BE READY TO VOTE YES ON PROP 1 ON NOVEMBER 6th!
Don’t be fooled by shoddy salesmen in crisp uniforms with brass buttons. Do your homework, read the posts on the Michigan NORML Facebook page, and make sure you educate your family and friends. Also make sure your circle of people are all registered to vote so they too can be a history-maker on November 6, 2018!