LANSING — At least two groups have moved closer to having Michigan voters decide whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana next year.
Organizers of two ballot committees — the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, based in Pontiac, and East Lansing-based Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee — say they soon will start to collect nearly 253,000 signatures from registered voters in order to make the November 2016 ballot.
The Board of State Canvassers last week gave both groups the OK to proceed by approving their petitions. The proposals would make it legal for people 21 and older to grow, possess, sell and use marijuana.
Marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law.
The Michigan Cannabis Coalition’s spokesman is Matt Marsden, a former spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and a partner in Pontiac-based Revsix Data Systems, which offers data services to political campaigns and organizations. The coalition has not disclosed names of its members.
The Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee consists of attorneys and marijuana decriminalization advocates. Its chairman is Jeffrey Hank, an East Lansing attorney who helped lead a successful ballot initiative in May to overturn East Lansing’s local ordinances regulating marijuana use.
Both petitions would authorize the state to collect tax revenue, but differ in how much and how it would be used. They also have different requirements on how many plants home growers could have for personal use.
Comings and goings
Former House Speaker Jase Bolger has been named to the board of directors of Lansing-based Great Lakes Education Project, the group announced. Bolger, a Republican from Marshall, is the founder of Tusker Strategies LLC, a consulting firm focused on politics and public policy.