July 10, which is the deadline for submitting the marijuana petitions to the Secretary of State's office, is fast approaching. We have less than a month to collect the rest of the required signatures- this means that EVERYONE who is for this effort must get behind the drive fully. Show your support by action! At this point there are close to 50,000 petitions circulating all over the state- REMEMBER to send in petitions as soon as they're completed, so we can estimate the number of signatures we have, and so we won't be swamped by petitions the last minute. We want to go over all the petitions before they are submitted and estimate how many valid signatures we have.
Here are the ways you can help:
The most basic thing is getting out on the streets, in the parks, at concerts, even ballgames, and going everywhere with the petitions that is where the people are! Most people are into signing if you stress the fact that this petition is only to get the issue on the ballot-"Let the People Decide!"- good old all-American democracy in action!!! If you are in the Ann Arbor area, come to the MMI office at 304 S. Thayer-we're there from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at least, every day. If you live outside the Ann Arbor area, look at the list of area offices following this article and find the one closest to you. If there is no office near you where you could pick up petitions, give us a cali at (313) 668-7206, or write to us at Box 523, Ann Arbor 48107 and we'll mail you some petitions. When you find out that an event is happening in your town, first find out if you have to get permission from whoever is putting on the event in order to circulate the petition- then go about getting permission if necessary- and then get as many people as you can, armed with cupboards full of petitions, and GO!
One way to insure that we'll get the required number of signatures is for everyone, every weed smoker in Michigan, to set a quota of at least 200 signatures. This means committing yourself to getting that number of signatures- and one super easy way to do that is to go to the polls June 12, when school board elections will be held in nearly every city and township in Michigan. If everyone in every city gets really organized for this event, we can get half of the signatures that we need on that one day!! Here in Ann Arbor we are organizing a force of people who will be at every polling place in Ann Arbor- hopefully, every single person who goes to vote in Ann Arbor will have the opportunity to sign the petition!! Last election day we weren't organized at all, we only had about ten people at the polls-and we got 1,000 signatures in Ann Arbor alone!
Circulating the petitions at the polls is many many times easier than it is on the streets: first, because you know that everyone who is going in to vote is registered to vote, and everyone is registered in the SAME place (no leafing through a stack of petitions to find one for some obscure town); second, because people will be more conscious of the correct way to sign the petitions- exactly how they signed their name when they registered, and what address appears.on their registration card. Consequently, most of the signatures will be valid. To help the June 12 effort, cali or come to the Ann Arbor MMI office (668-7206, 304 S. Thayer) if you're an Ann Arbor person; cali the area office in your city (see the list at the end) and sign up to help at the polls; and if there's no office in your city, here's how to organize for petitioning at the polls: first, find out which precincts are high voter turnout, and which ones had a high McGovern vote-use that to determine priority precincts which should be covered first. Also, the best times of day in terms of number of voters who vote then, are f rom 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Second, use your own resources and also the files at the central office to get names of people in your area who can help. People who worked on the abortion petition averaged 200-300 signatures in just a few hours of work at the polls. We can do the same thing. Even if there's no school board election in your city, like Detroit or Flint, pie definitely should organize and help areas close to you-like the suburbs and outlying areas. So, everybody get out there on June 12 and work towards getting FREE LEGAL BACKYARD MARIJUANA by January 1, 1973! (NOTE: Circulators must stay 100 feet away from the polling place- don't hand out literature within that limit either!)
A lot of really far out things have been happening, adding momentum to the MMI petition drive. The response to the article in the last issue of the SUN was killer-people are constantly coming in, asking what they can do to help. We still need people for phone shifts (10-4 and 4-9), and there are a lot of other things that have to be done every day to keep this going right. We also need people to staff a Diag table every day, to put up posters around town. and to go to shopping centers and circulate the petitions there. In addition, we find it necessary to go into other cities around the state a lot, especially Detroit, so if anyone has a car that we can use, please give us a cali. We've been getting more and more support as we get farther into the drive- some of the organizations and groups that have come out in support of the petition drive or decriminalization of marijuana are: American Public Health Association, Institute for the Study of Health and Society, National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, La Doan Commission of Canada, President Nixon's Shafer Commission, Americans for Democratic Action, Ann Arbor Human Rights Party, Michigan Human Rights Party, Ann Arbor Democratic Party, Washtenaw County Democratic Convention, Wayne County Democratic Convention, 17th District Democratic Convention, 2nd District Democratic Convention, over 40 participants in the National Research Council Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence. . . and Herbie Hancock and Shirley MacLaine signed the petition last week!
There have been a lot of other examples of people really getting behind the drive. The Plum Pit, in addition to providing us with an office at the Birmingham Plum Pit, are planning a sale for the near future (check out the airwaves for specific time). A customer would have the choice of saving 25% on an item, or donating it to MMI. The other day two brothers walked in and said they wanted to make a donation-and ed me a fifty dollar bill! And people come n to the office a lot and get us high, which is pretty lucky since we can't afford to buy our own stash. (If anyone has any spare marijuana, we could sure use it! There's a lot ai work involved in the drive and its nice if we can stay high!!).
In case people are still confused about the Board of Canvassers' "rejection" of the petitions, here is what happened: over 3 weeks ago, the Attorney General informed us that the petitions had to include where the amendment would go in the constitution, so although we didn't feel that it was a correct judgement on his part- and we will submit the old petitions anyway (and take them to court)--we went ahead and printed new petitions with "A proposal to add Article I, Section 24 as follows" added, and got most of the old petitions back right away. Then, the Board of Canvassers met last week for the first time since we had submitted the original petition to them for certification. The only petition that was submitted for them to rule on was the old one- and the only error they they found was the one we corrected 3 weeks before. Not knowing that the correction had been made, they contacted the Associated Press wire service and announced that the marijuana petitions were invalid! That information went out all over the state and caused a lot of confusion till the next day, when AP sent out an explanation.
On Thursday, June 8th, MMI supporters from all over the state went to Lansing to get support from their legislators, and to have them sign the petition. A news conference was held to explain what we were going to do, and another one was held afterwards to announce who had signed it (and who had refused!). Find out if your representative and senator are really representing you-if not, LET THEM KNOW!! (Next issue we'll have a list of who did sign.)
The Michigan Marijuana Initiative is declaring June 24 to July 1st "Weed Week". There will be rock and roll FREE MARIJUANA! rallies held all over the state, to get people registered to vote, to sign the marijuana petition, and to get people high on the righteous herb and on good music! More on the rallies in the next SUN! If you want to help plan an event for your area, give us a cali at 668-7206 in Ann Arbor. this will culminate on July 1st, which is when we want the petitions back.
A few last words: we don't have a lot of time left, so it's really important that people commit as much time or money as possible to the Initiative. This is a people's effort- every weed smoker who doesn't want to get locked up for smoking marijuana has to help or it won't work. We need YOU now! ! As soon as you have completed a petition, send or bring it in, so that the last few days of the drive aren't too chaotic- July Ist is the target date. Last, everybody out there, STAY HIGH!!!
Sign the Petition!
We Need You June 12th
CIRCULATE THE PETITIONS!!
HELP FREE MARIJUANA!!
-Walden Simper, MMI Coordinator