Cannabis News Students for Sensible Drug Policy
  E. Rapids Man Eager To Circulate Pot Petitions
Posted by CN Staff on December 04, 2006 at 06:56:38 PT
By Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal 
Source: Lansing State Journal 

cannabis Eaton Rapids, MI -- A local man who sells peace goods and apparel wants to make smoking marijuana for medical or recreational purposes legal on private property. Jason Hankins, 32, says he plans to begin circulating petitions for the proposed change in Michigan law in January.

If he can collect 304,000 valid petition signatures over a six-month period, he will get his proposal on the November 2008 ballot.

"As long as a responsible adult is making the choice to smoke for their benefit and to make them feel better or relaxed, I think they should have that choice," Hankins said. "I would like to have the option to be able to grow (marijuana) on private property."

The Board of State Canvasser approved the form of the petition last week. The proposed law would apply to adults 18 and older.

Last year, supporters of a drive to legalize marijuana for those 21 and older failed to get a sufficient number of signatures. Similar drives were unsuccessful in previous years.

"If the proposal were limited to medical purposes, it would probably pass," said Ed Sarpolus, vice president of the Lansing polling firm EPIC-MRA.

Polls over the past several years show voters don't support legalizing marijuana for recreational use, he said. Even well-organized groups have difficulty gathering sufficient signatures. It is even more difficult for an individual.

Hankins said he planned to put an ad in the Lansing State Journal to kick off his drive. If enough volunteers respond, he was confident he could collect enough signatures.

Pot Petition:

For information about the petition drive to legalize use and possession of marijuana by adults on private property, write to Medical and Recreational Peace Proposal, P.O. Box 102, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827

Source: Lansing State Journal (MI)
Author: Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal
Published: December 4, 2006
Copyright: 2006 Lansing State Journal
Website: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/
Contact: http://www.lsj.com/contactus/ltr_editor.html

Related Article & Web Site:

Michigan NORML
http://www.minorml.org

Light One Up for Michigan
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22417.shtml

CannabisNews - Cannabis Archives
http://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml


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Comment #6 posted by whig on December 04, 2006 at 16:27:25 PT
msegesta
Incremental progress is fine as far as it may be observed to be progress, but it is not satisfactory to me or many others to think that it is sufficient to advocate for incremental change. Otherwise we scrimmage for inches and never see the opportunity for the long pass.

Is there an open receiver?

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Comment #5 posted by FoM on December 04, 2006 at 15:21:19 PT
Increments
Hi Michael! Yes that is how the public begins to accept change. The word legalization is enough to turn concerned citizens off but medical marijuana is being understood by the majority of people anymore. I don't worry about drug legalization either because the majority of people don't want to have that happen. I look at it this way. We are 300 million people. Some are conservatives and some are liberals but most are right in the middle. Those in the middle can relate to medical marijuana because they know someone that has benefited from using it or someone who is ill and wishes they could use it. Little by little change happens. That is how a democracy should work in my opinion.

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Comment #4 posted by msegesta on December 04, 2006 at 14:59:09 PT:

Eaton Rapids effort
We basically tried what this guy is trying to do back in the days of the PRA (Personal Responsibility Amendment). We never got enough signatures despite two efforts, and the net result was a lot of burned out activists and the disintegration of any statewide structure for reform.

I think, and this just my humble opinion, that the public responds much better to "incrementalism", for lack of better term. Just think of how freedoms are taken away from us - bit by bit. First, we had no seat belt law, then one that only allowed them to ticket you if you were pulled over for something else, and now not wearing the damned thing is reason for a stop, often leading to searches and disappointment for the driver, who then comes to see me when he is charged for mj possession. Same thing with smoking -- bit by bit, the option to smoke has been removed from many places, and some towns in Calif even make illegal to smoke anywhere but in a single family, detached residence.

For whatever reason, the public accepts changes more readily if they come in increments. For us, that means first protecting the sick who need mj. Then, once people see the world doesn't fall apart with medical mj, we could offer total legalization or regulation.

Also, we must put our highly limited resources where they have the best chance of success. Polls show strong support for medical mj in Michgan -- above 60%. Polls on legalization show only 30-40% support. It's kind of a rule that an initiative campaign that tries to educate at the same time to raise poll numbers will not do well, and any initiative that starts with poll numbers under 60% is NOT a good bet to win. If you think about it this way, the Eaton Rapids folks should be helping us, not the other way around, for they will succeed only once we have.

Finally, the public can't seem to distinguish between efforts for medical mj and outright legalization. Therefore, this effort, which has NO CHANCE IMHO, does have the potential to confuse voters about medical mj vs. legalization outright and thus make our effort for medical mj look like an outright legalization effort. The media here have reprted on his effort to the extent that news about our hearings on HB 5470 (our medical bill) has been neglectged and conflated with this guy's misguided efforts. Some of us have tried to contact him without luck, so I don't know how he expects to get volunteers. Several have called his number and been hung up on. My deepest cynicism is that this effort is a plan to confuse voters about legalization vs. medical only, and thought this group will not gather many signatures, they will spend money --- perhaps from our real opponents -- on media just to make our job harder with medical.

Just my two cents report from Detroit, FWIW.

Michael Segesta General Counsel, Michigan NORML msegesta@comcast.net (586) 873-5086

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Comment #3 posted by laduncon on December 04, 2006 at 10:08:00 PT
Michigan petitition
You have to be a Michigan resident to validly sign the petition. If someone wishes to sign the petition or is interested enough in the issue, I don't believe a website would be necessary to get them to do so. Also, electronic signatures almost certainly wouldn't be accepted as valid anyways. For those not already supportive of this issue, it is unlikely that they would visit/stumble upon the website anyways. However, I'm sure many Michigan blogs will carry the petition info and politically minded Michigonians (sic) will spread the word that way.

Grassroots efforts which aren't supported by national groups like MPP are often able to recieve better local press coverage, which is crucial for getting out the vote. As for NORML, they're great and all, but I like seeing local people go out on their own and try a different tack sometimes. After all, Denver's SAFER campaign did not rely on any other established or outside groups and because of that they had a fighting chance, recieved some supportive coverage from the local press, and pre-emptively nullified a possible argument of their opponents. Also, since it is a locally funded/run campaign, the wording of the ballot initiative (legal for those 18 or older) is up to the discretion of the initiative backers rather than a cut-and-paste initiative drawn up in Washington D.C.

Activism did exist before the Internet, as wonderful a tool as it is. :)

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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 04, 2006 at 09:14:20 PT
Fight_4_freedom
I agree with you that a web site is a vital part to get people interested and involved.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by Fight_4_freedom on December 04, 2006 at 09:11:13 PT:

i don't understand
why he wouldn't have a website for this petition. So in order for us to even contact him we have to write him a letter? I don't see how this guy is getting all these articles and attention when there is no way to even get a hold of the him other than mailing him.

You would think he would try to use MPP or NORML atleast to help him out. This is exactly how the petitions in past years have failed.

But I will give the guy credit for trying.

Well I guess I'll write him a letter today and I'll let you all know when I get a response.

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