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Anti-cannabis advocates might sue to stop legalization in Michigan


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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

Cannabis advocates in Michigan got enough signatures on a petition to get legalization on the ballot in November, but anti-cannabis activists might try to stop them. According to recent reports, these activists are considering suing to stop legalization from appearing on the ballot. The anti-cannabis group, Healthy and Productive Michigan, is led by a political consultant named Scott Greenlee.

“Now that big money has started to get behind legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan, it’s time we put Michigan first and oppose these efforts,” Greenlee, the president of the organization, said in November. “We remain opposed to increased marijuana use in Michigan.”

Josh Hovey, communications director for Michigan’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, told Cannabis News Box that this group is “mainly funded by the D.C.-based Smart Approaches to Marijuana,” which is known for opposing cannabis initiatives across the country. He said cannabis prohibition has failed in Michigan and beyond, and that they are “confident Michigan voters will support taxation and regulation over the failed policies of the past.”

Michigan’s state legislature can either approve the ballot initiative within roughly a month or it will automatically appear on the ballot if no action is taken. Greenlee has said one of his biggest concerns is that legalization would be a violation of federal law. Polls indicate the majority of Michigan residents support legalization.

“Recent polls show 60 percent of Michigan voters support legalization,” Hovey said. “What we’ll be focusing on during the campaign is making sure people have the facts about what our initiative will do, while also setting the record straight on any myths that the prohibitionists attempt to spread. We’re confident that once people have the facts they will vote yes on election day.”

Greenlee has said polls are often off, sometimes citing the 2016 presidential election polls that said Hillary Clinton was slightly ahead, even though those polls were pretty much accurate, considering she did receive the most votes. His group has had trouble producing a strong message that will resonate with Michigan voters explaining why they should oppose legalization.

Hovey said his group is ready to go up against Greenlee’s group if they end up needing to, and they will work to educate voters on why legalization is right for Michigan. It seems anti-cannabis activists are running out of options and could have a tough time squashing the momentum legalization has going in the state.

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