On Nov. 4, voters in 11 Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to ever consider the question in a single election in the state. As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, marijuana advocates think they can win all of them.
Safer Michigan Coalition Director Chuck Ream is working to bring pro-marijuana legalization to local ballots.
“We can’t do much campaigning because we don’t have much money. But we expect them to win,” Ream says. He expects this to be a banner year for marijuana legalization in the state. The proposal would make it legal for anyone over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on private property.
But there are opponents to the proposals, especially among law enforcement groups. Terry Jungel, director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, is among them.
“I think it’s economically and emotionally driven, which are two really bad reasons to be making decisions on anything dealing with public safety issues.” Jungel says marijuana is still illegal on a state and federal level, making local communities co-conspirators in a federal crime.
Several Michigan cities, including Hazel Park, have already decriminalized or legalized marijuana. City Manager Edward Klobucher says not much has changed since the legalization of small amounts of marijuana and he doesn’t expect it to.
While pro-marijuana activists want to place marijuana legalization on the state ballot in 2016, Ream believes it may be a while longer before that actually occurs. But pro-marijuana advocates have put 16 measures on local ballots and they haven’t lost once.
Cities considering the proposals are Saginaw, Mount Pleasant, Clare, Harrison, Frankfurt, Onaway, Port Huron, Lapeer, Berkley, Huntington Woods, and Pleasant Ridge.
*Listen to Jake Neher’s report above.