Newsbrief: Ann Arbor Officials to Ignore Voters' Will on Medical Marijuana 11/12/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


Last week, voters in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, voted by a whopping 74% margin to approve an amendment decriminalizing the use of marijuana for medical reasons. Within days Ann Arbor Police Chief Dan Oates announced that his department would ignore the new law. In a written statement issued two days after the election, Oates said he had directed officers to continue enforcing all marijuana laws as they had prior to the vote.

Ann Arbor's medical marijuana amendment would not prevent state or federal officials from making arrests under state or federal law. But since, according to the Michigan Daily, 99% of Ann Arbor pot arrests are made by local police, the amendment, if enforced, would significantly reduce the likelihood that a medical marijuana user in the city would run into legal hassles.

Chief Oates cited the opinion of City Attorney Postema, who told the Michigan Daily News that although the initiative was legally placed on the ballot, case law in Michigan dictates that when city ordinances mandate softer penalties than state law, law enforcement officials can prosecute people under the harsher state law anyway. Based on that case law, Postema said, his office is not bound to observe the will of the voters.

What Postema neglected to say is that officials could also choose to obey the ordinance, but have decided not to. And that is not sitting well with Scio Township Trustee Chuck Ream, who led the petition drive. Yes, Michigan law allows officials to ignore such charter amendments, he told the Daily. "But the citizens of Ann Arbor have spoken just as clearly," he said. "And people who would like to be employed by the city should either listen to the voice of the people when they vote or they should seek employment... in another community. If the people of Ann Arbor didn't speak clearly [on Election Day], then I don't know what it takes."

If officials refuse to enforce the law, said Ream, the county could be hit with a costly lawsuit.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #362, 11/12/04 Editorial: The Spirit of Lawfulness | Ever Upward: At Nearly 1.5 Million, US Prison Population at New High | In an Hour of Conservative Ascendancy: Prospects for Drug Reform at the Federal Level During the Next Four Years | Syracuse Reconsiders Drug Policy | Newsbrief: Congressional Drug Warrior Threatens Canada Over Marijuana Legislation | Newsbrief: In New Twist in Thai Drug War, Police Detain and Drug Test Club Goers | Newsbrief: Ann Arbor Officials to Ignore Voters' Will on Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Georgia Supreme Court Says Wife Can't Consent to Search of Home Against Husband's Will | Newsbrief: Austin, Texas, Cop Killed Enforcing Marijuana Possession Law | Newsbrief: Supreme Court to Look at Drug Dogs in Traffic Stops | This Week in History | The DARE Generation Returns to DC: Students for Sensible Drug Policy 2004 National Conference Next Month | Apply Now to Intern at DRCNet! | Seeking Information, Affiliations, Link Exchanges | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]