In honor of the gentleman, scholar, and judge of fine wine chipuni on his birthday, I offer this overview of Michigan’s ballot proposals for 2008. (He asked for one proposal or race, but we only have two proposals so I thought I’d go for broke.)
We have two ballot initiatives in the state of Michigan this year (down from five in 2004). The first proposal, if passed, would permit the use of marijuana for medical reasons under state law. The second is a state constitutional amendment that would broaden the use of embryonic stem cells in Michigan.
Proposal 1 is not getting much attention at all so far. It’s only been the last week that I’ve seen billboards for or against it, mostly for. I heard a supporter on the radio tonight saying that the legislation that would be approved is 14 pages, compared to (she said) California’s which is only a few lines. I think her point was that they had been very careful in drawing up the legislation. I wasn’t in the car very long, and that’s all I heard, which wouldn’t be very helpful if it weren’t for the fact that I made up my mind on the issue a long time ago.
Proposal 2 is getting far more attention, and there is a lot of … I’ll say “unfounded extrapolation” on the part of the opponents. Many local churches have been displaying “No on 2” signs, in case you had any doubts about who the antis were. Yes, that’s supposed to be illegal; apparently no one cares anymore, but that’s another rant. It has also been said that our taxes would be spent on stem cell research, perhaps even increase. This is not necessarily true if one reads the proposal, though it’s true that one proponent said we should support the research with public funds (but he’s not a lawmaker).
Here’s the actual ballot language:
A LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE TO PERMIT THE USE AND CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA FOR SPECIFIED MEDICAL CONDITIONS
The proposed law would:
• Permit physician approved use of marijuana by registered patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health.
• Permit registered individuals to grow limited amounts of marijuana for qualifying patients in an enclosed, locked facility.
• Require Department of Community Health to establish an identification card system for patients qualified to use marijuana and individuals qualified to grow marijuana.
• Permit registered and unregistered patients and primary caregivers to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.
Should this proposal be adopted?
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
• Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos —
— are created for fertility treatment purposes;
— are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;
— would be discarded unless used for research;
— were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.
• Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
• Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
• Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research, future therapies and cures.
Should this proposal be adopted?
(See source for both proposals; includes full text of the legislation for Proposal 1.)
I support both proposals. I recognize that changing state law on medical marijuana will not change the federal law, which leaves the issue in limbo, but I’d like to see the federal law changed so maybe this is a useful step in the right direction. As for the embryonic stem cell research, I want to see the state take a step that might help a growing medical field, so our economy might diversify, while providing the research that might improve the lives of people who need new cures and therapies for diseases.