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Groups Want $2 Bills To Send Message On Marijuana

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) - Advocates pushing for broader legalization of marijuana in Michigan hope to send a message of support -- and economic clout -- by spending $2 bills.

Supporters of the cause are being asked to spend at least one of the typically less-used $2 bills for every cash purchase for the three weeks. The effort kicked off on Wednesday.

Steven Greene, a 45-year-old South Lyon resident, said he picked up $200 in $2 bills from a credit union in Southfield. Greene, a state-registered user of medical marijuana and a caregiver licensed by the state to grow medical marijuana for others, said the use of the bills could remind people of possible tax revenue from marijuana sales.

"People will also realize, if you arrest us, you're taking that same money out of circulation, and you're spending tax dollars to put us in jail," he said.

Michigan voters approved marijuana for some chronic medical conditions in 2008, but the state Supreme Court ruled in January that medical marijuana dispensaries aren't allowed. Michigan has roughly 130,000 registered users of medical marijuana.

"We want this $2 drive to spark conversations in chambers of commerce and during business lunches of shop owners," said Rick Thompson, editor of the Flint-based Compassion Chronicles website. "They're going to start to realize they shouldn't just dismiss this big segment of Michigan's economy."

Thompson also hopes to reach marijuana opponents who have not been swayed by other arguments for widening marijuana legalization.

Carol Mastroianni, executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, said she was disappointed to learn of the $2 bill drive. Her group is one of dozens of similar nonprofit community groups that promote drug-free lifestyles for youth.

"To me, the whole medical marijuana thing is not supposed to be about economic clout. It's supposed to be about health and quality of life," Mastroianni said.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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