For 40 days and 40 nights, cannabis reformers in Michigan waited and worried about what our state legislature might do with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol [CRMLA] ballot initiative that was approved by the Board of State Canvassers [BOC] in April. By law, after the proposal is approved by the BOC, the legislature has 40 days to approve the proposal or send it to voters. Thankfully, the legislature failed to adopt the proposal and now the voters will have an opportunity to determine if cannabis should be legal for adults in our state!
Reformers were concerned that the proposal would be adopted by the legislature and stripped of key protections such as home cultivation and possession limits. Incoming Senate Majority Leader, Mike Shirkey went so far as to state on Tim Skubick’s Off The Record program [8:25 on the video] that the legislature would also like to delay implementation of the proposal until after the federal government legalized cannabis, effectively subverting the intent of the proposal. Shirkey’s comments were very controversial and were not well-received by either cannabis reformers or legislators, but it was apparent to me (and a few others including some legislators) that his comments were inflammatory and produced the opposite result of what he was trying to achieve. He effectively torpedoed his own ship!
Current Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekhof, then launched a media campaign claiming to have enough votes in the Senate to adopt the proposal and he pressured the House to do the same. There’s was one gigantic flaw in Meekhof’s strategy, he didn’t actually have the votes in the Senate to adopt the CRMLA, and in fact, the Senate never voted on the proposal. My sources told me and MIRS News seems to confirm that the votes were never there in the Senate and that Meekhof was playing a high-stakes game of who will blink first. We didn’t blink and Meekhof lost in spectacular style! Chalk one up for the good guys for not blinking!
The examples above demonstrate that our legislators lied. They told flat-out untruths that were exposed and that’s what voters need to understand. You can not rely on information provided by legislators about cannabis to be accurate or even make sense in some cases because they are part of the organized resistance to sensible cannabis reforms. And, they have allies who are just as untrustworthy!
Two groups have formed to oppose the CRMLA, Healthy and Productive Michigan [HPM] and the Committee to Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods and Schools [CKPNS]. Of the two groups, the CKPNS is the most flippant, they oppose the proposal, yet they urged lawmakers to adopt and gut the proposal because in the words of their spokesperson, Mark Fisk from Byrum & Fisk Communications, “This ballot initiative, if passed by voters, will disrupt and dismantle the tough safeguards, local control and system of licensing, testing, taxation and accountability now found in the medical marijuana regulatory framework.” Mr. Fisk apparently has not read the CRMLA proposal because it doesn’t do any of the things he claims.
First, I’ll simply respond by saying, Mark Fisk is full of bovine feces! That statement is completely incorrect. The CRMLA proposal authorizes the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs [LARA] to develop a licensing structure similar to the structure established by the legislature for the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, but it eliminates the politically-charged Licensing Board that has been a bottleneck for that program. The Licensing Board is not a “tough safeguard”, it’s an unnecessary roadblock and it must be removed. It’s very important for voters to understand this distinction, and that our opponents, by and large, are liars.
In conclusion, our opponents are like the prosecutor from the movie, My Cousin Vinny. They are creating a narrative. They will give you facts that seem to have straight edges, that they appear to have the right shape, they will tell you these facts in a very special way so they appear to have everything a fact should have, but there’s one thing our opponents won’t tell you, when you look at the facts from the right angle, they are as thin as a playing card. All their facts are an illusion!
Don’t be fooled by slick salesmen in expensive suits. 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!