Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Detroit Plans to Continue Fight to Keep Marijuana Decriminalization Off the Ballot

By: Jon Walker Wednesday February 15, 2012 8:45 am

The City of Detroit plans to continue its effort to keep a local marijuana decriminalization initiative off the city ballot despite recently losing the case in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The city plans to appeal the ruling to the State Supreme Court. From

Krystal Crittendon, corporation counsel for the Detroit law department, says the city plans to file an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, likely delaying attempts to place the measure on the August primary ballot.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 last week that Detroit illegally kept the proposal off the ballot despite the fact that organizers had collected far more signatures than needed to put it before voters.

The group, Coalition for a Safer Detroit, originally collected sufficient signatures to get the initiative on the November 2010 ballot, but thanks to a lengthy legal fight with the city, the initiative was kept off the 2010 ballot. The recent Court of Appeals ruling would have allowed the measure to go on the ballot in August, but a further appeal by the city could again delay the initiative for months, even if the city ends up losing the appeal.

The initiative would remove city-imposed penalties for adults for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. An individual could still be arrested under state law.

The irony of is that this “symbolic” initiative was intended to be a way for the people of Detroit to send a message to their city officials that they don’t want their limited government and police resources wasted on arresting people for minor marijuana possession. By continuing this legal fight the city government is spending even more resources on the issue primarily to stop the voters of Detroit from being able to send the message that they don’t want government resources wasted on the issue of minor marijuana possession.

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