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A Guide to Drug-Related State Ballot Initiatives






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Michigan Drug Treatment Initiative



(Michigan) Campaign for New Drug Policies



After its successful sponsorship of California’s Proposition 36 in 2000, the Soros group targeted 3 states east of the Mississippi – Michigan, Ohio, and Florida – in which to sponsor similar “treatment not jail” initiatives. Their reasons:

“'Politics is perception, and the perception up to this point is that voters want tougher and tougher drug policies,’ said Bill Zimmerman, executive director of the Campaign for New Drug Policies. ‘The votes we saw (Tuesday) night represent a sea change in that perception.’”

“‘It shows that the war on drugs is slowly being strangled and eventually the federal politicians are going to have to face up to their 20-year failure,’” added John Sperling, one of three men in the Soros group who finance these initiatives.

“Proponents say the campaign’s focus may shift to Middle America. ‘Michigan and Ohio are probably the places where you have the largest number of people affected, and you would send the loudest message,’ said Dave Fratello, campaign manager for the California initiative.”

(Quotations from: “Billionaires Push Drug Policy Program,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 9, 2000.)



This initiative establishes a mandatory sentence of 20 years for major drug traffickers, defined as a person who:

Earns a net profit of $500,000 in distributing illicit drugs and manages 5 or more people in the transaction,


Earns a net profit of $250,000, manages 5 or more people in the transaction, and commits 1 or more violent acts or has 2 or more previous felonies for distributing drugs or a violent felony or uses 1 or more moniors in the transaction or adds an adulterant to the trafficked substances that cause significant bodily harm or injury

This initiative also:

Prohibits any plea bargain unless the prosecutor states the term on the record

Revokes all current mandatory minimum sentences, consecutive sentences, and lifetime probations

Permits all offenders serving such sentences to apply for re-sentencing under provisions of htis initiative

Creates a drug sentencing commission and prescribes its composition, duties, and funding

Requires the chairperson of the sentencing commission to appoint a committee of members to develop new guidelines courts must follow to give nonviolent drug offenders the right to treatment

Prescribes a number of instructions for what those guidelines must include

Appropriates $9 million for start-up costs, $18 million a year for 6 years, and other sums to finance treatment for drug offenders.





Balance from 2001 $69,384.64
Cash as of 10/1/02  
George Soros $524,333.33
John Sperling 524,333.34
Peter Lewis 524,333.33
Total Cash $1,573,000.00
Campaign for New Drug Policies $459,252.00
Other Receipts  
Honigman Miller Schwartz, Cohn $30,288.42
Total Contributions $2,131,925.26



Not on November 2002 ballot.

Petitioners collected enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot. However, they failed to inform voters who signed the petition what parts of the Michigan constitution would be changed and how, which Michigan law requires. Consequently, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the initiative could not appear on the 2002 ballot.


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