State Supreme Court Won't Consider Appeal To Block Detroit Marijuana Ballot Proposal

Michigan's High Court Clears the Way For August Vote To Decriminalize Pot

After an extended legal battle, voters in Detroit will decide in August whether they want to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot within the city limits.

The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal from the city to keep the measure off of the upcoming ballot -- as it had originally done in 2010.

Detroit's city clerk and election commission were challenging a February decision by the state court of appeals that ruled the city could not suspend a vote on the issuesimply because it conflicts with state law prohibiting the substance.

The proposition, which is being advocated by a group called the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, would amend city law to permit "the use or possession of less than 1 ounce of marihuana, on private property, by a person who has attained the age of 21 years."

Sgt. Eren Stephens told the Detroit Free Press Friday that Detroit's police department would adjust to the change in policy "if it's handled in an appropriate way, and this is what the citizens of Detroit choose."

Although the ordinance, if revised, would not protect citizen from Michigan and federal laws against marijuana possession, a group called the Committee for a Safer Michigan is conducting a statewide campaign for full legalization of the substance.

If successful, the proposed statewide measure would end the prohibition of the cultivation, use, sale and distribution of the cannabis plant for adults over the age of 21, but would not permit the use of marijuana while driving a motor vehicle. The group is currently collecting signatures to place that proposition on the November ballot.

A January poll of 600 likely Michigan voters conducted by EPIC-MRA of Lansing found that 45 percent favored legalizing the possession and use of marijuana, while 50 percent were opposed and 5 percent were undecided. The survey had a margin of error of four percent.

A national telephone poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports on May 12 found that 56 percent of those surveyed supported legalizing pot in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco. 36 percent were opposed. The margin of error for that poll was three percent.

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