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Mmi Smokes On To '74

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Michigan Marijuana's deadline of July 10th s approaching fast, and while huge stacks of petitions are being returned every day, it looks like MMI will not reach its goal of 265,000 valid signatures. One of the primary reasons we don't have our quota is that people are not REGISTERING TO VOTS. Since this year was the first time many people had a chance to register because of the new 18 year oíd vote, most of these people haven't yet made the trip down to city hall. They haven't yet seen any reason to vote. So far, no candidate has represented their deas. But now there is a reason to register. You have to be a registered voter to sign the Michigan Marijuana Initiative. If you don't register to vote, you can't sign the petition to get the marijuana question on the ballot, and it has to be on the ballot in order for us to vote on it, and legalize marijuana. Because that's the only way it will be legalized, by the people taking the initiative 50% of the people who were asked to sign the petition were not even registered to vote. Ann Arbor is one of the only cities to have had a voter registration drive of any magnitude. This is because we are the home of the most advanced local Human Rights Party in the state. In Ann Arbor we have already confronted the problems of City Clerks who make it dufficult to register by having registration only at hard to get to city halls, and during business hours when everyone is working. The other problem we encountered with the Initiative was in moving from the IDEA that the marijuana question should be on the November ballot, and that we should collect 265,000 signatures to get it there, to the REALITY of actually going out on the streets with the petitions and getting those signatures. We knew that two months was a very short time in which to get all those signatures, but we were convinced that people are ready to vote on the question of legalization. The response to the ICEA of the Initiative was tremendous. People of all ages called to piek up petitions. Everyone feit very strongly that people should no longer go to jail for possession of weed. Most people thought it was a waste of time to tie up the courtsand the pólice in prosecution of weed smokers. Over 75,000 petitions were taken out and circulated in that 2 month period. Add to this figure the thousands of petitions printed in newspapers such as the SUN, Fifth Estáte, Freedom Reader, Joint Issue, Root, South End and the Michigan Daily. MMI supporters opened offices in 15 cities and there were MMI contact workers in every city and township. We figured that once the word got out that MMI was started and that all you had to do to get hold of petitions was to cali 668-7206 or come to 304 S. Thayer St., that individuáis who feit strongly a against the present marijuana laws would flock to Ann Arbor to piek up petitions. MMI was constantly in the news so we know that the word was out. And people responded. The telephone never stopped ringing and the printer couldn't print the petitions quickly enough to keep up with the demand. People, who work on MMI, work because they know they are doing something concrete to actually change the conditions under which they live. Circulating the petition is an action that they know will directly affect their future chances of staying out of jail. MM I is a grass-roots effort. No one is going to do t for us. It's just people like us working- freeks, young people, oíd people-people who can't stand the present conditions and want them changed. Some people related to the fact that if they didn't work on the Initiative, that no one else was going to do it either. Through these people we've established a state-wide network of workers who all plan to stay n touch and work together in the future. Even though a majority of the people who heard about MMI related to the IDEA just fine and picked up petitions, few people actually got out and worked. The realty of working for MMI doesn't mean just buying a t-shirt and pin (which sold ncredibly fast). And it doesn't mean just signing the petition that one of your friends is circulating. It means organizing yourself and your friends over a period of time to conscientiously circuíate the petition. This means hours and hours of time snent ting all the events where people gather. You have to spend these hours explaining the Initiative. Three weeks ago, MMI realized that petitions were not being returned in anywhere near the number needed f MMI was going to make ts quota. So MMI declared WEEK WEEK to make people highly conscious that t was time to turn in all those petitions that they had taped to their refrigerators and in their drawers. Again th there was great response to the IDEA of Weed Week. This response enabled MMI to kick off Weed Week with a huge party on June 23rd at the Central Headquarters in Ann Arbor. Several hundrrd people from all over the state who had been working on MMI, gathered to get high on tokes (a couple pounds were smoked), Marijuana tea (16 gallons), lots of good food (marijuana and hash brownies), and good old rock and roll. On the 25th, MMI Free Marijuana Concerts were held in Flint, Lansing, Oakland Community College, and in Escanaba. Over 10,000 people went to MMI concerts on that day, with the surprise being that half of that number, 5,000, were at the Escanaba concert, n the Upper Península! In addition to the concerts, many stores donated a portion of their profits to MMI during Weed Week. Thanks to Indian Summer, the Hide-Out, Middle Earth, Foll Floods, Get Frocked, Salvation, This Is It, Sunrise, and the Plum Pit! On J-Day, July 1st, a state-wie area office meeting was at 7, and at 9, we had another party- to end Weed Week on a high note! So while enthusiasim was high, and everyone was getting together over the IDEA of Weed Week, there was still a very small percentage of petitions coming back into the office. By the end of the week, we had an estimated 100,000 signatures collected. And that is where we stand as the SUN goes to press. We know that only a small percentage of weed smokers have gotten behind MMI, because if everyone who smoked weed in Michigan had worked for MMI, there would be no question of meeting quota of 165,000 signatures. The Michigan Marijuana Initiative will continue as a non-profit community service organization. We will particípate in a massive voter registration drive all over the state, in addition to continuing to sell MMI materials to pay the bilis. We want everyone who worked for MMI to continue working. Now we know why more people didn't sign the petition, we can work on getting people to register to vote. Meanwhile, return all petitions so we can make an accurate couat of the number of signatures turned in. We need to make an accurate assessment of the number of people who got involved with MMI. We're calling another state wide meeting soon, to make concrete plans for the future of MMI. We urge everyone who feels a commitment to MMI to attend that meeting. There will be a full report on these future plans in the next issue. REGISTER TO VOTE SIGN THE PETITION