When the residents of Detroit vote in the presidential election in November, they’ll also get a chance to vote for the legalization of marijuana.
Two years after organizers gathered enough signatures to force the referendum, the cannabis question will go before city voters, reports Dustin Block at mlive.com.
A legal battle kept the question off ballots until now, but a Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for a vote, and a city attorney signed a court order last month finalizing a November vote.
The measure’s organizer, Tim Beck of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, said he expects it to easily pass.
“We don’t feel we need to spend any money at all,” Beck said. “The poll numbers are so far ahead, it’d be a waste … This thing is going to pass, period.”
After the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that voters should be allowed to decide the referendum, there was some confusion over exactly when city residents would vote on the question. Initial reports suggested the referendum would be on the August primary election ballot, but it will actually appear on the general election ballot in November.
Beck said his group wanted to be on the general election ballot due to the higher turnout.
“We prefer to be on the November ballot,” he said.
If the measure passes, Detroit city law will allow people 21 and older the use or possess less than an ounce of marijuana on private property and not face arrest or prosecution under city code. However, use and possession will remain crimes under both Michigan state law and federal law.
Activists hope the ballot initiative highlights the need for local law enforcement to concentrate on crimes other than marijuana use.