Michigan voters who care about marijuana legalization and criminal justice will be presented with some unique opportunities at the ballot box this November. Not only does it look like there could be a pot legalization initiative to vote on, but the clock has run out for anti-pot Attorney General Bill Schuette, and the leading Democrat candidates hoping to replace him all reportedly support legalizing marijuana.
One of those candidates, Dana Nessel, today picked up an endorsement from the political action committee for marijuana legalization group MILegalize. The group is part of the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) spearheading this year’s legalization initiative. MILegalize also mounted an unsuccessful effort to put the legalization question to voters in 2016.
“Of all of the candidates, Dana Nessel has shown up early and often for the campaign to legalize cannabis in Michigan,” MILegalize Board member Tami VandenBerg says in a release. “Nessel has also displayed a keen understanding of the harms done to our communities due to prohibitionist policies.”
Nessel is a Plymouth Township-based attorney best known for helping overturn Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.
The endorsement comes two days after Democrat challenger Pat Miles changed his stance on pot. On Wednesday, Miles issued a statement saying he’d “decided to take a stronger stance on marijuana legalization” and now supports the CRMLA’s initiative.
“As many leaders on both sides of the aisle have recognized, the war on drugs has failed,” Miles said in the statement. “The classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug is ridiculous, and has done a great deal of harm to communities in our state and around the country, particularly communities of color.”
Nessel reportedly cast doubt on the sincerity of her opponent’s newfound position, telling the Detroit News she recognized long ago how “disastrous the war on marijuana has been.”
The release from MILegalize said Nessel presented “the strongest case” of Democrat candidates who support the legalization of recreational marijuana.
“This endorsement is proof that I am the only candidate voters can trust to protect the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers, fairly implement the legalization of marijuana in Michigan and fight back against the Trump administration’s overreach,” Nessel said in a statement.
The AG race also features Democrat candidate Bill Noakes. The Republican field includes candidates Tonya Schuitmaker and former assistant state Attorney General Tom Leonard.
The Democratic Party will select a candidate to support at a convention in April, though the primary is in August. Nessel has also picked up support from the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union.