A Michigan ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana received enough valid signatures to qualify for a vote in November.
When the required number of ballot signatures was certified by the State Board of Canvassers, the 4-0 decision of the board was met by cheers from supporters of the initiative who were present, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), put this ballot initiative in perspective as a matter of the State of Michigan safeguarding its own sovereignty and protecting its own citizens from an intrusive federal policy:
"The people of Michigan deserve this. They earned it. We've faced many trials and tribulations. We've had so many stop and go signs from the federal government. That's why states have to take the reins on the issue and really be the crucibles of democracy that they've always been intended to be."
Indeed, the last time Washington passed a law to enforce a national policy on an intoxicating substance, it passed an entire constitutional amendment to do so legally:
Amendment XVIII Section 1
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
In United State jurisprudence, could there be a more forceful legal precedent than the states and U.S. Congress agreeing together that a Constitutional amendment (of which there have been only 17 since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791) was necessary for the federal government to pass a law prohibiting an intoxicating substance?
That's what so astounding about the Controlled Substances Acts of the 1970s, which outlawed a number of drugs, including marijuana.
It is incredible how long they have remained in place given so forceful a historical legal precedent showing the United States understood that such policies are outside the scope of its constitutionally authorized federal powers.
That the "War on Drugs" could wreak such destructive havoc for decades with this legal millstone around its neck will surely be viewed with astonished interest by future historians and sociologists.
If approved by Michigan voters this November, the ballot proposition would legalize the possession and commercial retail sale of 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational consumption, while licensing and regulating marijuana businesses and imposing taxes.
Michigan's very accurate state motto is: "Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice," which means: "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you." It's hard to imagine very many things that would make Michigan a more pleasant peninsula, but marijuana legalization advocates there believe joining 30 other states that have legalized marijuana might just be one of them.
"With polls showing nearly 60 percent of Michigan voters supporting legalization, it’s clear that the public is way ahead of the politicians on this issue. The people are tired of the failed policies of the past and understand that creating reasonable, responsible regulations is the way forward to tens of thousands of new jobs and opportunities in Michigan."
John Truscott, spokesman for the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said:
"We expected this. Now, we'll be out and about talking to people and educating them about the issues."
He may want to pass around this list of: 60 Reasons to Legalize Marijuana.