By Scotty Boman, Editor
Ann Arbor, MI – On Sunday March 13th Michigan Libertarians convened at the Spring Convention to listen to speakers, announce candidacies, vote on Platform amendments, and select National Convention delegates.
The day began with a Benefactor breakfast followed by the start of business. There were officer reports, agenda approval, and open floor. Open floor included an announcement by Co-Director of Decriminalize Nature Michigan (DNM) Myc Williams. He informed the delegation that DNM had a ballot initiative petition ready to circulate and that they would be looking for volunteers. In addition to decriminalizing entheogenic substances, the initiative calls for de-felonizing all drug possession.
Looking ahead, Ben Boren said there would be two new affiliates by the next Convention.
The 2022 Spring Convention also featured a couple candidate announcements. The Libertarian Party of Michigan’s (LPM) 2014 candidate for Governor, Mary Buzuma announced that she would be seeking the LPM nomination for that office at the Summer Convention. Another delegate, Bruce Jaquays, also announced his intent to seek the nomination for Governor. Also, former Chair and 2018 Secretary of State candidate, Greg Stempfle, announced that he would be seeking the nomination for that office again this year.
Convention business was punctuated by guest speakers. The luncheon featured a Libertarian National Committee (LNC) Candidate Panel. The convention speaker was Justin Nazaroff. He is the CEO of Fenix Ammunition Company. The Central Michigan University and Walsh College graduate spoke on operating his business during pandemic lockdowns, and how being on the receiving end of authoritarian policies motivated his activism. He is also a competitive shooter, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt.
There were also legislative candidate announcements including Greg Black for State Representative and Mile Saliba for US House.
The Platform Committee primarily presented changes in wording, of existing planks, while not proposing significant changes in intended meaning. Some changes brought the verbiage more in line with the Dallas Accord. The delegates had time to adopt four of the Committee’s proposals. This included minor changes to Article III Courts, Sections 8 and 11. Those changes were to enhance clarity. The revision also removed language that connected rights to the United States Constitution.
The delegates also adopted proposed changes to Article V. Vice Laws, Section 1. The adopted language brings the plank more in line with the Dallas Accord, but also contained an additional substantial change: the phrase “…and other substances” was added to the sentence calling for the legalization of gambling and drugs. This is substantial since it calls for the legalization of any substance without exception.
The Spring Convention delegates also voted to reword Article V. Vice Laws, Section 4. While Cannabis would be included, implicitly, in Section 1, it was previously mentioned explicitly because of high-profile ballot proposals that eventually led to the legalization of Marijuana in Michigan. In a similar spirit, the Platform Committee proposed expanding the language to include entheogenic. Decriminalize Nature has spearheaded several local initiatives, and a statewide ballot initiative, to decriminalize these naturally occurring hallucinogens.
One of the reasons the LPM has two conventions, in even years, is to meet early enough to nominate national convention delegates, while meeting late enough to nominate candidates after we know who the primary eligible parties have run in their primaries. It also allows for a seamless transition to standard practices of primary eligible parties in years when the LPM qualifies as such.
The State Convention Delegates selected National Convention delegates with an approval style ballot. The convention then tabulated the votes to rank their preferences, while not imposing a minimum number of votes. To qualify as a National Convention Delegate or alternate, the nominee had to earn more votes than None Of The Above (NOTA), but nobody voted for NOTA. The 33 highest ranking nominees qualified as National Convention delegates, and up to the next 50 would qualify to be alternates. So, since there were fewer than 83 nominees, all of them either won as delegates or alternates. LPM Chairman Tim Yow is automatically chair of the Michigan delegation.
The Michigan Convention delegates chose the following people to be delegates to the 2022 National Convention:
The Michigan Convention delegates chose the following people to be alternates to the 2022 National Convention (In descending order of preference, with ties settled by a roll of the dice):
Jami Van Alstine
Deborah Van Alstine
Will Tyler White