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Skubick says legal weed likely as a ballot question

by: Eric B.

Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 13:58:49 PM EST


You don’t have to be a genius to figure this out: It’s only a matter of time before Michigan voters get a shot at legalizing marijuana. Yep, another ballot proposal.

“This is real,” a source deep inside the movement confirms.

They'll take a crack at the Legislature, and assume they'll fail. If they can get better numbers, they'll try for a ballot question.

Here's the thing, though. They say 48 percent of Michiganders support this right now. That number will only keep getting better, because the demographic most opposed is the oldest one. Those are the people who remember marijuana getting banned based on horror stories of jazz musicians and women losing their sexual innocence. My guess is that there are even some legislators who'd vote in favor of this if they could keep the votes a secret, but won't because the caucus leadership is more law-and-order than genuine libertarian.

Eric B. :: Skubick says legal weed likely as a ballot question
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I say that not because I'm opposed to legalization of weed (I'm definitely not). It's because we look to be headed for another traffic jam of proposals in '14. Assuming there's a rematch on collective bargaining, pot legalization (maybe), same-sex marriage (I hope), maybe a redistricting commission, then throw in a couple of right-wing proposals, and I can just see another conventional wisdom of "vote No on all of them" developing.

And whichever groups push these proposals, I hope they'll be ready with tons of advertising bucks and ground games to mobilize their supporters.

I'm not against this in the least, but if I had to prioritize things, I'd put this one near the bottom of the stuff that really needs to get on the ballot in '14.

I wouldn't
I wouldn't argue with you at all about that. I'd definitely put collective bargaining above weed, because it's the right thing to do, and because it would give a kick in the nuts to the Mackinac Center and the DeVos family.

Same-sex marriage also above pot, because it affects me personally and because it would give a kick in the nuts to the Catholic, Mormon, and Dutch Reformed churches.

I'd also love to see a redistricting commission at the state level (also maybe commissions for the largest counties to get rid of the Rep gerrymander in OC). I know that one went down in flames in OH this year, but it's succeeded in other states.

[ Parent ]
Those are exactly the three items I was thinking about.  I mean, if the weed folks can get on the ballot, more power to them, but I hope the other movements are even stronger.  Four might not be too many, but it seems that Michigan voters seem to have a really hard time walking and chewing at the same time after you get past about three or four proposals on a single ballot. lol  And, god knows if the GOP has the money they will try and spoil the liberal props. by getting at least a prop or two of their own on the ballot.

[ Parent ]
I've been thinking
I've been thinking the same thing about MI voters. I might disagree with some of the choices CA voters have made over the years, but they seem to be capable of saying yes to some and no to others in a long list of props. Once things get beyond about 3 or 4, MI voters just seem to throw up their hands and say, "this is confusing! I better vote no on everything just to be safe."

And I fully expect us to have a couple of right-wing proposals in '14, funded by the DeVos family or whoever funds these things.

[ Parent ]
Oh, I think ending the War on Drugs is a very high priority. It's led to the militarization of our police forces, eroded important Constitutional protections, and wastes public resources that could be put to better uses. I also think that the people most supportive of it aren't driven by a sincere desire to promote public health, but are instead motivated by a very wide streak of authoritarianism.

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
I agree
I agree with everything you said. I'm just saying where I'd put it on my own list of priorities. I'll admit it's probably where I sit, living in Bloomfield Township, that allows me to say this, since the war on drugs hits hardest in places like Detroit and Pontiac.

I also think pot legalization has a very high kick-a-bunch-of-assholes-in-the-nuts factor (let's see, every drug warrior since Harry Anslinger, every cop who's ever given a Project DARE lecture, Bill Schuette would have a major sad), so there's that in its favor.

So I guess I could be convinced to raise my priority on this one. I'd still say, though, that I hope the number of proposals can be held down at any one election, since there's the voter exhaustion factor as well as diffusion of resources to take into account (each campaign would require massive spending to offset the lies of the other side as well as organization).

[ Parent ]
2014 is not 2012
To get anything passed in an non-presidential election year we are going to need to a large turnout of Democratic voters. A marijuana ballot measure should help with that, assuming supporters can remember to vote.  

That's what I've been thinking
With one exception,* we should only get proposals on the 2014 ballot that would actually help increase turnout.

Recall that in 2010, we had two proposals - neither of which garnered much discussion. Compare that to the higher-profile ballot proposals of 2006 (affirmative action, mourning dove hunting, education funding), 2002 (tobacco settlement money), and 1998 (assisted suicide).

Marijuana would get a lot of people out to vote who wouldn't otherwise vote. And more of them would also vote Democratic than Republican.

Another possibility: Raising the minimum wage, and indexing it to inflation. That would boost turnout among those who make the minimum wage (or close thereto).

*The exception: Redistricting reform. We really shouldn't wait until the 2020 election to do that.

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Of course
Of course, there's no progressive central committee to sequence these into particular election years. If Michigan Equality (to pick an example) decides they're going to push for marriage equality, they're going to do it no matter what the MDP or a bunch of liberal bloggers or blog commenters say.

Now an interesting aspect to all of this is that although any of these might be considered progressive causes, campaigning and canvassing for some of them might work at cross purposes with electing Dems. For example, I'm guessing there are some libertarian-leaning voters who vote Rep who would be in favor of marijuana legalization. If I'm working for the proposal and I find one of these, I'm going to try like hell to get him/her out to vote, regardless of whether s/he will vote for Snyder or the alternative.

Similar with marriage equality. In '04, once you got outside of Washtenaw and Ingham counties and the liberal enclave of Royal Oak/Ferndale/Huntington Woods/Berkley, Prop 2 did worst in places like Birmingham and Bloomfield Township. If I'm doing GOTV for a marriage equality proposal, I'm going to be focused on marriage, and let the MDP and other groups worry about getting people to vote against Snyder or the legislative Reps.

[ Parent ]
A Pipe Dream, but:
Imagine the state legislature having a robust, fact-based debate over legislation on this topic. Or, instead, a spirited airing of the issue before the legislature votes to place it on the statewide ballot for a direct referendum by the voters.

A pipe dream for this and all other matters of import, I know.  

Great Lakes, Great Times.

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