Detroit City Marijuana Decriminalization Question (November 2012)
This measure seeks to remove penalties for adults over the age of 21 if they are in possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or less. Even if this measure were to be approved, it could face further legal challenges since marijuana is still illegal in the state. Opponents to the measure noted that the court's ruling was not in favor of marijuana but rather in favor of allowing democracy and the initiative process to proceed.
|Detroit City Proposal M|
Election results from Detroit City Website, Election Results for Wayne County
Text of measure
Language on the ballot:
|“|| Shall Chapter 38, Offenses, Miscellaneous Provisions, Article XL, Controlled Substances and Drug Paraphernalia, of the 1984 Detroit City Code be amended to exempt adults, 21 years of age or older, from criminal prosecution under the article for use or possession of less than one (1) ounce of marijuana on private property in the City of Detroit by adding the following section:
Sec. 38-11-50. Applicability.
None of the provisions of this article shall apply to the use or possession of less than one (1) ounce of marijuana, on private property, by a person who has attained the age of 21 years.
Those in favor of this measure note that it would save the city money fighting low level marijuana possession crimes. The main group behind this measure, Coalition for a Safer Detroit has stated that if this measure was approved police officers could focus on more important crimes and not have to deal with marijuana possession which is a low level of crime.
City council member Ken Cockrel Jr. noted his opposition to the measure, stating that in his opinion it would send the wrong message to companies and investors who may be looking to come to the city. Stating that the high unemployment in the city could lend to further recreational use of marijuana if possession of 1 ounce would not get a person arrested. Police officials have countered that they would not have to enforce marijuana possession laws in the city since there still are state laws which make it illegal.
Path to the ballot
City residents had collected over 6,000 signatures in 2010 to put this measure on the city ballot but the clerk refused to put it up for a vote. The reasoning behind the refusal was that the measure would conflict with state drug laws which make marijuana illegal. Supporters then too the measure to court where an appellate court ruled in February that the city was wrong to deny the petition a place on the ballot. An appeal was made to the Michigan supreme court where they confirmed the original ruling, that the city must allow the issue to be voted on.
- Detroit News, "Detroit marijuana referendum goes to voters in November," July 5, 2012
- Detroit News, "Detroit plans to appeal marijuana decriminalization ballot proposal to Michigan Supreme Court," February 14, 2012
- News Park Forest, "Michigan: Supreme Court Says Detroit Voters Can Decide On Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure," June 21, 2012
- Metro Times Blog, "Supremes give Detroit pot vote a green light," June 1, 2012
- Wayne County Elections, Elections Results
- Detroit News, "Detroit councilman: Marijuana decriminalization a 'bad idea' that could hurt job seekers," June 8, 2012