Search Results: cities and towns (43)


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.


We told you earlier this week about marijuana decriminalization measures in Berkley, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge and several other towns in Michigan and suburbs of Detroit. In total, there were 11 measures scattered around the state.
Well, voters did the right thing in six of those communities last night and passed bills lowering or eliminating marijuana penalties for small amounts of cannabis.

Both Colorado and Washington made history in 2012 by becoming the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. But while Colorado-based pot shops have been raking in mile-high profits since implementing the new laws at the beginning of this year, folks in Washington are still waiting for the green light to begin their own green rush.

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But not everyone in Washington is excited about the controversial new industry coming to their neck of the woods. Nearly three dozen of the state’s 75 largest cities, towns, and municipalities have scrambled to enact ordinances, restrictions, and outright bans to keep any eventual recreational weed stores from opening up in their neighborhood.
As covered by local KING 5 News, a new bill (HB 2144) is in the works that would effectively place a ban on any future bans on pot shops, and it has some city officials hot under the collar.


So far, 24 Colorado cities have banned recreational marijuana sales since the passing of Amendment 64. This is not a surprise, since most already had an ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana stores.
But what about those that have MMJ shops that now won’t be able to switch to recreational — like, for instance, Englewood, which briefly allowed dispensaries in 2009 but has since banned them. The three dispensaries that were grandfathered into that city have found it hard to stay open ever since. Denver Westword has the full story.

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The California Supreme Court unanimously ruled earlier today that cities and municipalities in that state can outright ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
The decision centers around the Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center, which was shut down by the city last year after the city declared the dispensary a public nuisance. The court today ruled the city was within it’s legal rights to do it, opening the doors for all other cities in the state to ban medical marijuana shops if they want.

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Towns in Massachusetts can not ban medical marijuana centers outright, but they are allowed to enact zoning regulations on where dispensaries can be located. State Attorney General Martha Coakley handed down that decision yesterday in response to a Wakefield, Mass. passing a law that prohibited marijuana centers from operating in that town.

Graphic: WWJ

​Saying the rights of patients are endangered, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on Wednesday filed lawsuits against three metro Detroit communities that have passed ordinances banning medical marijuana.

The ACLU filed the suit against the cities of Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills on behalf of a Birmingham couple who want to use medical marijuana in their home, take it to private clubs in Bloomfield Hills and grow it in the husband’s warehouse in Livonia, reports Bill Laitner of the Detroit Free Press.
The suit, filed on behalf of Linda and Robert Lott of Birmingham, alleges that the three cities have each adopted ordinances that effectively ban the couple and other patients from legally using medical marijuana as overwhelmingly approved by 63 percent of Michigan voters in 2008, reports RoNeisha Mullen of The Detroit News.

Graphic: ABC News
Some Massachusetts towns are throwing in the towel when it comes to marijuana enforcement. Puzzlingly, some folks, mostly cops, seem upset about that.

​Some towns in Massachusetts have given up enforcing the state’s marijuana law which decriminalized the possession of small amounts of pot, saying the law is written with too many loopholes to be effective.

The decrim law established a civil fine of $100 for those caught with an ounce or less of cannabis. That punishment replaced what had been a criminal offense carrying a penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine, also for possession of an ounce or less.
But the decrim law, which voters overwhelmingly passed in November 2008, doesn’t require offenders to correctly identify themselves, nor does it give a way for cities to make them pay the fines, reports The Associated Press.
What has resulted is a patchwork of marijuana enforcement across Massachusetts, as some communities continue to hand out hundreds of the $100 civil citations for pot, while others look the other way when it comes to personal cannabis use.


​Connecticut State Senator Robert J. Kane (R-Watertown) claims he can’t understand why his idea isn’t getting more support. “Everyone but the drug dealers would benefit,” said Kane, the lead sponsor of legislation to exploit a 1991 law that imposes a tax on illegal marijuana sales and establishes penalties for not paying the tax.

The 1991 tax was enacted to provide another avenue for seizing the assets of drug dealers, reports the Waterbury Republican-American.
This is the second year that Kane has pushed his pot tax. The first bill died in the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. This year’s version is stalled in the state Senate.
But this isn’t the honest, upfront kind of taxation that comes with legalization. This is that sneaky kind of taxation that is imposed on a still-illegal substance — to provide a pretext for asset seizure, for “non-payment of taxes” on a product that would have gotten you busted even if you paid the tax.

Graphic: Reality Catcher

​A Rhode Island Senate panel is expected to recommend decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana when it wraps up its 3 1/2-month investigation later this week.

The commission, chaired by state Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston), has been studying the costs of current marijuana policy since November. Rhode Island, facing a budget crisis, tasked the panel to build a dossier on how much it costs to arrest, prosecute, and sometimes jail people for pot, reports Katherine Gregg at The Providence Journal.
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