Local Depenalization Measures Win Big On Election Day

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 7, 2012

    In addition to the historic Election Day votes in Colorado and Washington, voters in several cities in Massachusetts and Michigan also decided overwhelmingly in favor of ending marijuana prohibition.

    Massachusetts voters in over 40 municipalities — representing approximately one-fifth of the electorate — voted in favor of local (non-binding) public policy questions in favor of ending the criminalization of cannabis for adults. A complete tally of these public policy questions and results is available here. (Voters in Burlington, Vermont also passed a similar non-binding legalization measure.)

    In Michigan, voters in four cities – totaling over a million people – also decided on Election Day to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis. Sixty-five percent of voters in Detroit approved Proposal M, removing local criminal penalties pertaining to the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults over age 21. In Flint, voters approved a citizens’ initiative to amend the city code so that the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia by those age 19 or older is no longer a criminal offense. Grand Rapids voters approved Proposal 2 to allow local law enforcement the discretion to ticket first-time marijuana offenders with a civil citation, punishable by a $25 fine and no criminal record. Finally, in Ypsilanti, 74 percent of voters decided in favor of a municipal proposal that makes the local enforcement of marijuana possession offenses the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.

    50 responses to “Local Depenalization Measures Win Big On Election Day”

    1. M. Asquino says:

      The biggest hurdle remains now to change federal laws. Mainly law enforcement and their interpretation, drug testing issues and how a positive could destroy a persons future plans for a career in law enforcement or the military. How can civil service agencies or military differenciate between someone having a beer the night before, or smoking a joint the night before testing and coming back positive.For that matter who determines how this would affect performance or reliability as a LE officer, or soldier, sailor, airmen or marine. How does an agency comeup with guidelines? Is it worth destroying someones life over a positive on a drug test for marijuana. I just believe there is just way to much ignorance over marijuana compared to alcohol use. Its just mind boggling, the time for change is NOW!

    2. […] Local Depenalization Measures Win Big On Election Day | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform. Be Sociable, Share! Tweet(function() {var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = document.getElementsByTagName('SCRIPT')[0];s.type = 'text/javascript';s.async = true;s.src = 'http://widgets.digg.com/buttons.js';s1.parentNode.insertBefore(s, s1);})(); : Drug Policy […]

    3. Mike says:

      When will Indiana be able to vote for adult use of pot

    4. jason lafleur says:

      The measures that have been voted on and enacted in grand rapids such as the proposal two is something that should be voted on and enacted in maryland and the rest of the u.s. and the world, making enforcment of marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority, a criminal record could ruin someones chances of getting a good job, and not everyone has the money to waste on court fees and lawyers for a little marijuana, thanks norml for making the end of prohibiton and criminal penalties possible. 🙂

    5. […] headlines last night, some quieter marijuana law reform was going on in the state of Michigan as four cities decided to decriminalize or otherwise depenalize marijuana possession in certain amou…, including Detroit. Sixty-five percent of voters in Detroit approved Proposal M, removing local […]

    6. Marko says:

      Congratulations friends I am proud of you, and admire you, you gays did it. I am from Serbia and I just got three years in prison for posession less than three grams of marijuana, unbulivable isint it

    7. Pointless enforcement says:

      I have not heard this talking point among pro-pot people!!! Even if the DEA raids and shuts down all legalized distribution centers in Colorado and Washington State, people in Washington are always allowed an ounce. So if all the centers are gone, people will buy their weed from dealers without fear of arrest and the dealers would just super rich. The feds would literally be subsidizing the dealers. On top of it, if the distribution centers are gone, the people of Colorado have the right to grow 6 plants. The DEA doesn’t waste their time with 6 plant home grows and small possession. Marijuana prohibition is on “life support”!!!

    8. Mr. Leaf says:

      Decriminalization measures are positive steps we should applaud. However, decriminalization is far from adequate especially since decriminalized offenses still carry a high level of stigmatization almost equivalent to a misdemeanor.

      Although under decriminalization one might not go to jail, but it is still a civil infraction that carries a heavy fine. Also, this “drug infraction” may still show up on criminal databases, background checks, job searches, it may cause one to lose government housing or college assistance, or may cause one to lose a job. It may also follow the “offender” for the REST OF HIS LIFE. Civil infractions are better than misdemeanors, but when it comes to “marijuana drug infractions” nothing is acceptable to me short of full legalization (albeit for limited amounts like WA and CO). Everything varies by state, but caveat emptor (buyer beware) here!

    9. mike says:

      The fed plans to fight the vote of the people, stand up against this and continue to make our voices heard.

    10. Uncle Larry says:

      Everyone will be thinking about their state, so I’ll just say it. Why wasn’t something like this on the ballot in MN. I’d bet they could get a lot of signatures in Minneapolis, but it seems they haven’t been trying. I know, I know, I should try to do something about it. I suppose I must join Norml soon.