Kalamazoo Passes Marijuana Lowest Priority Initiative

Voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative making the use or possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults the lowest law enforcement priority. The measure passed by a margin of nearly two-to-one, with 4,649 yes votes and 2,416 no votes.

Similar measures have passed in a number of cities around the country since Seattle led the way in 2003, but Kalamazoo is the first Michigan locale to do so.

The question before the voters was: "Shall the Kalamazoo City Charter be amended such that the use and/or consumption of one ounce or less of usable marijuana by adults 21 years or older is the lowest priority of law enforcement personnel?"

The measure passed easily despite the opposition of Michigan's governor and attorney general. Local officials said passage of the measure won't change much. "The proposed charter amendment has no bearing or standing relative to the enforcement of state or federal law, which our officers have the full authority to enforce," Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley told the Kalamazoo Gazette last month.

Still, the effort led by the Kalamazoo Coalition for Pragmatic Cannabis Laws has made clear to elected officials just where the local electorate stands on the issue. As Hadley's comment shows, activism does not end when a law gets passed.

Kalamazoo, MI
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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