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Detroit Marijuana Legalization Measure to Get Vote

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #721)
Drug War Issues

A marijuana legalization initiative in Detroit was improperly barred from the ballot in 2010, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The appeals court decision overturned the ruling of a Wayne County judge, who had sided with the Detroit Elections Commission's decision to keep the measure off the ballot because they thought it conflicted with state and federal law.

"It was outside the authority of (city officials) to consider the substance and effect of the initiative and defendants have a clear legal duty to place the matter on the ballot," the court held in a 2-1 decision.

That means that unless the city appeals the decision, the measure should be on the August municipal ballot.

[Update: Detroit law department corporation counsel Krystal Crittendon said this week that the city plans to appeal, and it did so Wednesday.]

Sponsored by the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, the initiative would remove from the municipal code all references to the adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in private from the municipal code, in effect legalizing up to an ounce within the city limits. The initiative would not change state law, which still criminalizes marijuana possession.

The appeals court ruling marked "a great day for voters' rights in the city of Detroit," the Coalition's Tim Beck told the Detroit Free Press Friday. The election commission's decision to deny the measure a spot on the ballot was "total hocus-pocus," Beck said. "We did everything right. Every 'i' was dotted, every 't' crossed."

There is an ongoing campaign led by the Committee for a Safer Michigan to put a legalization initiative on the statewide ballot in November, but it appears likely voters in the state's largest city will have the chance to make their voices heard well before then.

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.


malcolmkyle (not verified)


During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education, etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

It's possible that many of the early Prohibitionists did not actually intend to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide and put 1 in every 30 American adults under supervision of the correctional system while bringing shame upon what was once a shining beacon of liberty and prosperity. But predictively similar to our "Great Experiment" of the 1920s, this foolish and counter-productive 're-run' has once again spawned rampant off-the-scale criminality, corruption, a bust economy, mass unemployment, the world's highest incarceration rate, a civil war in Mexico, an un-winnable war in Afghanistan, and an even higher rate of drug-use (both legal & illegal) than in all other countries that have courageously refused to blindly follow us down this sadomoralistic, dystopian rat hole. 

Should we wait for complete and utter economic ruination before demanding a return to sanity and the restoration of our unalienable­ rights? 

Surely it's high time we all stood up and told our dysfunctional government that we're totally pooped at being abused, beaten and jailed in order that unconscionable Transnational Corporations - and their Media Enablers - can continue to dupe, addict and poison us for obscene profits.

Sun, 02/12/2012 - 1:45pm Permalink
ConservativeCh… (not verified)

Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child or grandchild thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains.
If the people who want to use marijuana could grow a few plants in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes; it would put the drug gangs out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods.

Sun, 02/12/2012 - 11:15pm Permalink
Therese L. Smith (not verified)

As a Medical Marijuana card holder,I deplore the blatant attack on patients Who use marijuana for many different medical conditions . Must I repeat the benefits? I have had 3 different legally prescribed by primary physician Medicines pulled from the market for side effects that were harmful. Some even caused "sudden death". In addition, asI have repeatedly written, called, texted, and E-mailed public "servants" about the wastefulness and harm done by a "drug war"when anyone of any age who knows how to use a computer can get recipes for substances more dangerous. With common household products found in kitchens, basements and garages that can be used to make drugs such as LSD, meth amphetamines, crystal meth. I can imagine which industries pay big money to lobby for continuing prohibition: alcohol, chemists making legal poisons, cops and officials who are crooked, and of course politicians who need "donations" to their campaigns. There is too much evidence and too many people who can attest to the medical benefits of marijuana without dangerous side effects.Elected officials seem to be oblivious to the voters will. In state after state people are voting for repeal of marijuana prohibition. It is up to elected officials to enforce, not thumb their noses at us. Vote them out!
Mon, 02/20/2012 - 10:47am Permalink

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