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Michigan Cops Ponder Detroit Marijuana Legalization Vote

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #764)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

Voters in Detroit overwhelmingly approved legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults on private property in last month's elections, but according to Michigan Live, local law enforcement agencies are either uncertain what to do or are fully prepared to ignore the will of the voters.

Marijuana is legal in the Motor City. Someone tell the cops. (
None of the law enforcement agencies contacted by Michigan Live said they had instructed their officers to stop citing or arresting people for pot possession in the city. Some agencies were set to ignore the Detroit ordinance, while others were not sure how they would respond.

State Police spokesman Lt. Mike Shaw said the ordinance would have no impact on its enforcement policies. If state police catch you with marijuana, he said, you will be cited with state misdemeanor possession charges and be looking at up to a year in jail.

"We don’t enforce local ordinances, so nothing has changed for us," Shaw said. "Marijuana is still illegal for us according to state law. Anyone who doesn't have a medical marijuana card will be arrested for state possession."

The Detroit Police Department isn't sure what it will do.

"This legislation is being reviewed by the city of Detroit Law Department," said Sgt. Eren Stephens of the Public Information Office.

Neither is the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

"We have not developed a policy yet on that issue," said sheriff's spokesman Dennis Niemiec. "It’s being looked at by our training and legal departments."

The Wayne State University Police Department, which patrols the campus and some surrounding neighborhoods hasn't figured out yet how to respond, either.

"We have not come up with an official policy," said Chief Anthony Holt. "It’s a federal law regarding (marijuana possession) so it's probably something we’ll have to get an opinion on. But it's not a real big priority for us now."

And even though the measure passed by a margin of 65% to 35%, Detroit City Council members remain adamantly opposed to implementing the will of the voters.

Possession of marijuana is "still illegal" under state and federal law, Councilwoman Brenda Jones told the Detroit Free Press. "We will not be writing an ordinance that says something that's illegal is legal."

"It was really a waste or our time," said City Council President Charles Pugh.

Perhaps in the next election, Detroit voters will find that reelecting people like Jones and Pugh is a waste of their time.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Thinking Clearly (not verified)

This really sounds like a Mayberry story from old tv reruns.

Gosh, golly gee. Does anyone know what to do?

"They voted for what?"

Thu, 12/13/2012 - 9:44pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

You would think that a city that is in serious financial decline would look forward to legal Cannabis . I guess cops in Detroit fear the loss of their jobs if they can`t make a " pot arrest " . Welcome to 2012 .

Fri, 12/14/2012 - 2:25am Permalink
Seanymous (not verified)

In reply to by Scooby (not verified)

I'm old now, and have been hearing that sound for decades.

It's false. The "War" is not ending.

The War on Drugs is a front for a war on people, poor people, colored skin people, scapegoats.

It is NOT a failure. It was designed to do what it is doing, and it is doing it very nicely thank you.

Really the best thing would be to EXPAND the war to include alcohol and tobacco. Then the State could Really get some serious action on seizing homes, smashing families, and filling jails. But best of all, blatantly demonstrating that only a sub-class of people need to worry. Rich white folks would continue to be "free", drinking good liquor, while the rest would buy rot-gut from un-taxed cop-bribing thugs.


Qui Bono ? Qui Malo ?  Follow the money.

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 4:45pm Permalink

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