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V.G.I.P. Update - December 2018 - by Ben Horner

The Vote Green Initiative Project (VGIP) was started as an education program to promote being active in the election process.  In the years past, dozens of meetings were held around the state to educate and advocate for individual cannabis rights including safe access to medical marijuana, as well as local petition drives. Thousands of iconic Vote Green tee shirts were distributed to eager participants to wear as badge of honor.

Many cities around the State used the VGIP platform to assemble petition teams led by the Godfather of cannabis law, Tim Beck of the Safer Michigan Coalition. Several petition styles were drafted, to tackle the nuances of each municipality. Sometimes amending a city’s code to remove penalties was simplest way to produce a victory. Chuck Ream used a different technique in Ypsilanti, called Lowest Law Enforcement Priority (LLEP), which used money spent and annual reports to curb marijuana prosecutions.  Grand Rapids, working independently took a play from Ann Arbor and made possession a small fine, to decriminalize pot to a certain degree.

These small victories in Detroit, Ypsilanti, Flint, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Saginaw, and several others, demonstrated solid support for legalization. Thus, a statewide campaign was started and has now come to fruition. For many this is a lifetime achievement culminated by years of hard work in the face of reefer madness, but is the fight over?

The new pot law has some serious pitfalls, which anti-marijuana groups and local governments are seeking to take advantage of.  Possession, cultivation and use will be legal December 6th of this year, but law enforcements are gearing up to go after “illegal sales” and “stoned driving”.  “Opting out” is the strategy of many municipalities around the state.

VGIP will seek to restart its petitioning efforts to help citizens of Michigan “OPT In”, using the very same systems that we used to open the door for medical and recreation marijuana law reform. After the first of the year, the Vote Green initiative Project will announce the first of 2019 VGIP Meetings and cities for “OPT In” Petitions. Thank you for voting green Michigan, but the mission is not over!

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