While the big news in marijuana reform was that voters in Colorado and Washington State passed ballot measures legalizing marijuana, there were also some important victories at the local level in Michigan. Three of the largest cities in the state overwhelmingly approved local marijuana-decriminalizing ballot measures.
Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, overwhelmingly approved Proposal M. With 80 percent of precincts reporting, the proposal is at 60 percent yes to 40 percent no. The ballot measure makes it no longer a local criminal offense for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Marijuana possession is still technically a crime under state law, but this initiative is a powerful message to local officials about how residents of the city want limited police resources used.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second most populous city, the voters approved Proposal 2 to decriminalize marijuana. As a result marijuana possession and use will only be a civil infraction in the city. People caught with small amounts of marijuana would only be subject to a $25 fine for a first offense and sightly higher fines for subsequent offenses.
The final big local victory for marijuana was in Flint. The local voters approved an initiative to remove the penalties for minor marijuana possession on private property for adults age 19 and older. With 95 percent of precincts reporting the initiative is at 57 percent yes to 43 percent no.
Combined these three municipalities contain roughly 10 percent of the people in Michigan. Having the voters in all three cities vote to reduce or eliminate penalties for marijuana use is an important sign that a large segment of the state has turned against marijuana prohibition.