Self-Funded Michigan Legalization Campaign Adds $150K
In what must seem like the loneliest political campaign in history, the Republican duo of Marsden and Darnoi have dumped another $150,000 into the long-dormant Michigan Cannabis Coalition petition drive.
A campaign finance statement filed by the MCC for April 2016 reveals the twosome, once again, are the only people spending money in support of their push to bring a big government legalization of marijuana program to the voters in November. RevSix, the Pontiac company jointly owned by the two Oakland County Repubs, was the sole direct contributor to the MCC for a three-month period and that contribution came on April 1- near the end of the filing deadline.
Previous filings reveal that RevSix has been the campaign’s primary financier- and for many months in a row, it has been the MCC’s only significant source of funding.
The $150,000.00 contribution brings the total donations from RevSix to the campaign at $552,000.00, but the men have reported additional personal donations on previous financial disclosure forms. MCC launched their campaign in mid-2015 but has been absent in both media representation and signature collection for months.
With no public support for their effort, no endorsements and no current contributors, the MCC is a two-man band playing for an audience of none.
Recently word was out that paid professional petitioners were again collecting signatures, and this donation confirms that the group has the funds in the bank to pay petitioners. If MCC is to be successful in collecting 252,000 valid signatures, they’ll have to convince the Board of State Canvassers that their old 2015 petitions are still valid.
That will require a legal wrangle advanced by the MILegalize group, a competing ballot proposal.
MILegalize is a petition drive to legalize cannabis in a more decentralized and user-friendly way, giving 12 plants to each adult and allowing commerce to be regulated at a local level instead of relying on the creation of a huge state agency.
The argument for changing the BOSC policy is simple: update a policy from the 1980’s to include modern electronic databases and easy validation tools, and in that way rehabilitate the signatures collected outside of the traditional 180-day campaign window.
The proposed policy change has been slowed down, delayed and stalled by the BOSC. On April 25, one Board member “fled the meeting” after only a few minutes of being in session, which forced the Board to adjourn for being out of quorum and prevented the planned presentation of new policy on the petitioning process. MLive reported that the Board member was so frazzled he misspoke several times and got off the elevator on the wrong floor.
Despite the concerns raised by the BOSC and their failure to define a modern procedure, the MILegalize and MCC campaigns can rehabilitate those old signatures in the method outlined decades ago. The campaign is “prepared for every possible scenario” regarding signature validation, according to MILegalize Chair Jeff Hank, who has led the effort to update the BOSC policy.
The number of signatures collected by paid professionals working for MCC is unknown, but the MILegalize drive has disclosed a collections figure of more than 270,000 signatures. MILegalize uses a combination of volunteers and professionals in the gathering process. A third Michigan marijuana legalization petition drive, the Abrogate proposal, has not released numbers but it is believed they have less than 20,000 signatures.
Abrogate is a Constitutional amendment and their petitions have to be turned in by July 11; both MCC and MILegalize have until June 1 to submit their paperwork to the state.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles