Grand Rapids woman helps bring marijuana petition to the Capitol

West Michigan advocates for the legalization of marijuana headed to the Capitol.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Roughly 25 people from across the state headed to Lansing on Monday, Nov. 20 to bring the cannabis conversation to the November ballot. 

Michigan legalized medicinal marijuana in 2008 and now, advocates are saying it's high time to end prohibition all together. 

"We needed over 250,000 to get on the ballot, so we've submitted over 300,000," MI Legalize board member Tami Vandenberg said.

More than 300,000 Michiganders agreed to put marijuana to a vote.

"We were there. We submitted the petition, and it was very historic and it felt incredible to be rolling this piece of prohibition after all of these decades," Vandenberg said. "I was there representing the west side of the state, which we don't have a lot of representation on this. A lot of the east side and Lansing are kind of leading this, so we're trying to get the west side involved as well."

She said this petition has been in the works for years. 

"The polling is there. A recent Gallup poll was 64 percent of people polled are in favor of legalization," Vandenberg said.

For the 35 percent who are against legalization, Vandenberg urges them to look at the bigger picture. 

"Let's be real, the state really needs funds," Vandenberg said.

She points to state economics. 

"I think we need to be realistic that people are going to continue to purchase cannabis, so why not use the funds to go for schools, and roads, and treatment and for infrastructure rather than to organized crime," Vandenberg said.

"This could be a game changer. In Colorado, I've been watching very closely, they're having town hall meetings asking what they should spend the money on."

The next move is up to the state to certify all of those 365,000 signatures. That's about 113,000 more than what's needed to file a petition.

If the elections bureau okays the signatures, the vote to legalize pot in Michigan would be on the November 2018 ballot.

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