Detroit City Marijuana Legalization (November 2010)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
Thought this measure had been approved by city officials, it was later removed. Following a recommendation by the city lawyer, the election commission voted to take it off the ballot. They stated that state law says marijuana is illegal so there would have been issues with a city law saying it was legal.
Through a petition process, city residents had successfully gained the required 6,000 plus signatures needed to push this issue onto a referendum vote. The signatures were validated May 19 by the county clerk and the city council has 30 days to make the decision to add this measure to the November ballot or enact it into law. The future goal was to have a state wide vote that legalizes marijuana. While proponents believed it would save the city money if the council just enacted that law, it was instead to be given over for voter approval. The law would have allowed those over the age of 21 to posses no more than 1 ounce of pot legally. If approved, Detroit would have joined many other cities that have passed progressive marijuana laws in absence of federal regulation. Further marijuana questions will be voted on in different states throughout this year's election cycle.
The city council members voted not to take action on the measure, meaning they were going to allow the voters to have their say at the November election. Proponents noted that it would have allowed for the police to arrest people for more serious crimes now. The city had been deciding on the language for the ballot measure. The issue about the legality of the proposed measures was still in question, even though city law could allow possession state law would still consider it illegal. Constitutional challenges had been expected, more so depending on what language for the ballot is decided on.
Those who backed the petition to get this issue on the ballot took the issue up with the court, who decided to expedite the issue so that it could still make it to the November ballot if approved. Proponents had assumed there would be legal issues so were prepared to take up the battle in court when they heard that the council had removed it from the ballot. The court had the decision whether or not the issue would be voted on.
The measure was first taken to the circuit court where they ruled with the city. An appeal was then made to the Court of Appeals which sided with the petitioners. The city then in turn appealed to the Supreme Court which denied that appeal, meaning the circuit ruling stood. Though the election date is not set, it likely will end up on the November ballot, according to reports.
- Detroiters may vote on legal marijuana, proposal heads for ballot
- Is it time to legalize marijuana in Detroit? Ballot proposal seeks to put question to voters
- Detroit Possession Legalization Initiative Hands in Signatures
- Freep, "Local news: Legalization of pot won't be on city ballot," August 10, 2010
- The Detroit News, "Push to legalize pot in Detroit clears hurdle," June 1, 2010
- Free Press, "Proposal to legalize pot in Detroit headed for council vote," June 1, 2010
- Opposing Views, "Detroit Ballot Initiative Would Make Private Marijuana Possession Legal," June 3, 2010
- The Examiner, "Marijuana initiative one step closer to the ballot box," June 18, 2010
- The Michigan Citizen, "Detroiters to decide legalizing marijuana," July 5, 2010 (dead link)
- Stop the Drug War, "Detroit Marijuana Legalization Backers Appeal Ballot Rejection," August 13, 2010