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Michigan: Supreme Court Says Detroit Voters Can Decide On Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure

Posted on | June 28, 2012 | No Comments

Lansing, MI: The Supreme Court for the state of Michigan has ruled that city election officials cannot prevent Detroit voters from deciding on a municipal ballot measure that seeks to remove marijuana possession penalties for those age 21 or older.

The Court refused to review an appeal brought by the Detroit City Clerk’s office and the Detroit Election Commission that sought to strike down the proposed ballot question, sponsored by the group Coalition for a Safer Detroit.

In 2010, the Coalition collected over 6,000 signatures from registered voters to place the measure on that year’s electoral ballot. The vote failed to take place, however, because election officials at the time alleged that the proposal conflicted with state anti-drug laws.

This past February, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Detroit election officials acted illegally in 2010 when they denied voters the opportunity to decide on the issue. “[Plaintiff[s] had a clear legal right to the placement of the initiative on the ballot,” the court ruled.

The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the Appellate court’s decision. Detroit voters will now decide on the measure this November.

Commenting on the ruling, Tim Beck – head of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit and the former Executive Director of Michigan NORML – said: “This case in Detroit was not just about marijuana. Had we lost in court, the local initiative process itself would have been rendered meaningless statewide, no matter what the issue might be.”

He added, “We expect a major victory for Detroit cannabis consumers this November.”

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