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Marijuana, prevailing wage petitions drives OK’d to collect signatures

person writing on paper

Two more petition campaigns were given the go-ahead Thursday by a state elections panel to start collecting signatures, including one to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan.

The proposal would create a system for regulating marijuana much like the one for beer, wine, and liquor. It would also allow marijuana cafes and for people to grow their own plants without fear of prosecution by state authorities.

Campaign spokesman Josh Hovey says signature gathering will begin right away.

“We got the petitions printed,” he said. “We’re ready to go.”

The campaign has to collect more than 250,000 signatures to get the issue before the Legislature or on the 2018 ballot.

A group also appeared at the meeting of the Board of State Canvassers to oppose the petition, but a spokesman would not identify who is in the group or who is providing the funding.

The elections board also approved a petition to ban state and local laws that require government contractors pay union-level wages. Jeff Wiggins is with Associated Builders and Contractors, which represents non-union construction companies.

“It’s basically saving taxpayers money,” he said. “It’s getting government out of the way, making the bid process for public construction more competitive, more fair, more free.”

Opponents say governments should be allowed to set conditions for contracts, including pay rates for people who work on the projects.

A drive last year to do the same thing fell apart after it was revealed petition circulators turned in fraudulent signatures.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.