Advocates to seek legalized pot in Michigan

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Pro-marijuana activists are on the verge of launching an effort to amend the state Constitution in an attempt to end prohibition of the drug in Michigan.

Campaign director Matt Abel, a Detroit attorney who specializes in handling marijuana cases, tells the Metro Times that 322,608 valid signatures must be collected by July 9 to qualify the proposed amendment for the November 2012 election.

The campaign is expected to officially kick off Jan. 12. Efforts are already under way to organize volunteer signature-gatherers.

Nearly 63 percent of Michigan’s voters approved a ballot measure to legalize marijuana for medical use in 2008. However, especially in the past year, law enforcement in many counties and state Attorney General Bill Schuette have been cracking down on patients, caregivers and dispensaries they say are in violation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA).

The attempt to legalize pot outright at the state level is a direct reaction to that crackdown, say activists.

“We feel there is little alternative considering the blatant abuse and violation of the MMMA by the police and many prosecutors,” Abel explains in an e-mail. “If we don’t try to do something now, it may be years before we have appropriate reform.”

More information about the effort can be found at the website help.repealtoday.org.

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