Statewide victories in Colorado and Washington (legalization) and Massachusetts (medical marijuana) weren’t the only blows our country’s failed marijuana policies were dealt on Election Day. A number of cities and towns voted against cannabis prohibition, as well.
In Michigan, voters overwhelmingly approved all four citywide measures to stop arresting marijuana users, reports the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Grand Rapids voters replaced possible jail time for simple possession of marijuana with a fine. In Detroit and Flint, voters removed local criminal penalties for marijuana possession. In Ypsilanti, marijuana possession will now be the lowest law enforcement priority.
Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies, Marijuana Policy Project
“Between 2004 and 2007, voters in five Michigan cities approved medical marijuana measures, paving the way for the compassionate statewide vote in 2008,” said Karen O’Keefe, a Michigan native who is director of state policies at MPP. As O’Keefe hints, the parallel is that Michigan is looking very good for marijuana legalization in 2014 or 2016.
While in Massachusetts voters were legalizing medical marijuana statewide, voters in six state legislative districts representing 45 towns and cities approved Public Policy Questions calling for even broader reform. Two of the measures called for Congress to repeal federal marijuana prohibition and let the states decide, while the other four called for marijuana to be taxed and regulated.
Burlington, Vermont voters also called for an end to marijuana prohibition, with 70 percent of voters approving a non-binding question that asked whether marijuana should be legal and regulated.
Turning to medical marijuana, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a proposal allowing up to three regulated dispensaries received 64 percent support.
Unfortunately, however, every one of the six local California measures to allow dispensaries or overturn restrictions was defeated. The local defeats highlight the need for California to join other medical marijuana states by modernizing its law and setting up clear protections and regulations for dispensaries.
“Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard for the 12 local victories,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of MPP. “They will lay the foundation for statewide reform. And thank you to everyone who donated to MPP, making it possible for Colorado to have the best marijuana law on the planet.”
“November 6, 2012 was the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition,” Kampia said.