Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Committee for a Safer Michigan, a grassroots organization that supports the repeal of marijuana prohibition, announced Friday that it plans to push an amendment to the Michigan state constitution that would legalize cannabis use for residents 21 years and older.
In a press release, the committee noted that Michigan residents passed the Medical Marijuana Act in 2008, which authoried medicinal use of the plant for prescribed patients, but implementation of that law has been obstructed by its political opponents. Top law enforcement authorities, including state attorney general Bill Schuette, have alleged that the law has been abused by users and even used as a cover by drug dealers, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The Committee for a Safer Michigan will begin to circulate petitions and gather signatures to have a question placed on the November ballot, according to the group's press release. The group must collect the required number of signatures -- more than 320,000 for a constitutional amendment, according to Ballotpedia -- by the July 9 filing date, the Free Press reported.
“Michigan led the way in ending the failed experiment known as alcohol prohibition, and we likewise intend to put an end to the wasted resources, skewed police priorities and very real collateral damage of marijuana prohibition, “ committee director Matthew Abel, a Michigan attorney, said in a statement. The group also referenced an October 2011 Gallup poll that found, for the first time, 50 percent of U.S. citizens support the legalization of marijuana, while 46 oppose it.
The amendment would allow adults over 21 to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana, according to a copy released by the committee. It would maintain laws prohibiting the operation of any kind of vehicle while under the influence of the drug.