The city of Detroit will finally be able to vote on a suppressed 2010 ballot proposal that would amend city law and permit the legal use and possession of up to an ounce of cannabis on private property by those age 21 and up.
Previously, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge had upheld the Detroit Election Commission’s unanimous vote against placing the 2010 question on the ballot because they were advised by the city's Law Dept that decriminalizing pot conflicted with state law (cannabis is illegal for recreational use in Michigan, though medical marijuana was legalized in 2008 by the Wolverine State).
However, last Friday the Michigan Court of Appeals decided the Election Commission didn’t have the authority to keep the proposal off the ballot in a 2-1 ruling.
The appellate court noted that even if the proposal passes, those possessing pot for non-medical reasons anywhere in Michigan would still be guilty of violating state law.
The Bulletin of Cannabis Reform reported in 2007 that for every 100,000 arrests in Detroit, 222 were for marijuana offenses, and while that's below the national average, if the proposal passes, it will allow Detroit’s overburdened and under-budgeted police department to shift priorities and deal with violent crime and dangerous drugs like crack and meth.
Barring an appeal to the State Supreme Court by the city, it is expected that the question will appear on the 2012 August ballot – so get out there and vote Motor City residents!