Marijuana: Remembering "Michigan" Mike Torpie's Nederland legalization campaigner

michiganmike.jpg
"Michigan" Mike.
Backbeat editor Dave Herrera broke the news that Nedfest music festival founder "Michigan" Mike Torpie had died at the age of 43. As Herrera wrote, Tarpie was a "vital, highly esteemed and beloved member of the [music] scene."

But his death is also a blow to the Colorado pot community, which lost a hero in the seemingly endless fight to re-legalize cannabis.

In 2010, Torpie led a nearly one-man push that eventually made marijuana legal in Nederland, the small town (population: roughly 1,340) he called home. After seeing Breckenridge pass similar laws earlier in the year, Torpie led a drive to gather the needed signatures to get the proposal on the ballot.

As marijuana activist "Wayward" Bill Chengelis wrote over the weekend: "You should be in the Guinness Book of Records for singlehandedly garnering the 65 signatures needed to put the decriminalization of marijuana on the ballot in Nederland. Your work was rewarded with a 54% win. That's a landslide in politics. So what's it like dude? Did they give you a harp and wings?"

Cannabis activist and Nederland resident Kathleen Chippi points out that the language Torpie crafted didn't just decriminalize marijuana, it completely removed marijuana laws from the books. "Breckenridge likes to talk about how they legalized up to an ounce, but they really didn't. This is the only place where there is no law to enforce for marijuana. I appreciate the work he did on that."

Michael Roberts interviewed Torpie back in April 2010, right after the Nederland initiative had passed. In it, Torpie quoted an editorial he had written for the Mountain Ear, Nederland's local newspaper. Though he brings up a lot of valid points about the specific situation in Nederland, one of the most powerful statements he made holds true for all of the decriminalization and re-legalization efforts going on right now:

"This measure is largely symbolic... a statement that Nederland is a progressive community of realists who recognize the hypocrisy of marijuana prohibition... and will put on the record that the voters of our Town believe marijuana use by adults should not be a crime.

This issue is about your civil liberties and the right to choose for yourself as an adult much more than it is about marijuana as a plant or a substance. Who is it for anyone to tell you what you can or can't put in your body... especially if it you are not hurting anyone else? To continue to suppress people's rights and liberties, let alone create an atmosphere of fear just because someone wants to smoke some pot and relax, is ridiculous. This is about your rights as a United States citizen and as a human being on this Planet Earth."

Thank you, Mike. This next bowl is for you.

mike torpie photo by anthony camera.jpg
"Michigan" Mike Torpie, circa 2004.

More from our Marijuana archives: ""High Times Cannabis Cup: Colorado companies win big in Amsterdam" and "Medical marijuana dispensary re-review: Two years later at Walking Raven."

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11 comments
High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

Long rest fallen ganja heroes!  Let's all burn one down for Michigan Mike, he made Ned a fantastic cannabis hub of the High Country of the great Pot State of Colorado!

....And quick correction on Kathleen Chippi's comment about how "Breckenridge likes to talk about how they legalized up to an ounce".... No one in Breckenridge believes that bullshit except for Shaun McCallister the creator of the bullshit Breckenridge pot laws.

High Country Caregiver
High Country Caregiver

The Fatal Mistake..... falling asleep in your car on a freezing cold mountain night.  That's what I heard.

joe mama
joe mama

actually it was a suicide in the back of a vehicle. it happened 8 minutes from where i live.

mm
mm

if you see my wife please tell her the least she could do is divorce her heart broke HUSBAND in boulder that moved 2000 mile her to start a new life with. 

MM
MM

yes my wife actually she lied to me for almost 1 year about this and totally broke my heart. her name is liz and i am still married to her. she introduced me to this fool and wanted me to be friends with him and she the whole time had a relationship with him. some fun up in nederland. 

joe mama
joe mama

it involved mike's ex and one of his long time good friends. you can figure out the rest.

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

One recently declassified CIA document, a letter from an Agency consultant to a CIA officer, states: "You will recall that I mentioned that the local circumstances under which a given means might be used, might suggest the technique to be used in that case. I think the gross divisions in presenting this subject might be: 1) bodies left with no hope of the cause of death being determined by the most complete autopsy and chemical examinations; 2) bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate accidental death; 3) bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate suicidal death; 4) bodies left with residue that simulate those caused by natural diseases."

http://www.cannabisculture.com...

A friend
A friend

any more details? why, why, why? I last saw him a few months ago. he looked fine, we talked about nedfest for next year. Big plans for the future. It doesn't make sense.

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