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3 Michigan Cities Vote To Ease Marijuana Laws

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(Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Voters have given a big thumbs up to proposals offering some legal protection to recreational marijuana users in three Michigan cities.

Proposals on the ballot Tuesday in Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing allow citizens at least 21-years-old to possess an ounce or less of marijuana on private property.

Unofficial returns show Ferndale’s proposal getting 69 percent support, Jackson’s getting 61 percent and Lansing’s getting 63 percent.

Andrew Cissel, a licensed medical marijuana caretaker in Ferndale, said he was surprised the city’s proposal passed by 70 percent of the vote.

“It’s quite amazing. It really fuels for momentum to continue the progress that we need to do in the state,” he said.

Cissel’s mother, Pat, said the vote shows that the times really are changing.

“I talked with many older people like myself who are over 50, and I think people are just tired of the big hullabaloo over marijuana, which is a natural drug,” she said.

Marijuana users in the communities still face risks because state law bars marijuana use and possession unless it’s medical marijuana.

In 2012, voters in several Michigan cities backed local ballot issues to decriminalize marijuana in some cases.

Grand Rapids voters chose to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil violation instead of a misdemeanor crime. Similarly, voters in Flint chose to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana by anyone 19-years and older. And in Ypsilanti, 74 percent of voters approved a proposal to redirect police efforts away from enforcing laws against marijuana — making it their lowest priority.

Opponents to the laws, however, say the decriminalization is an attempt to overrule state and federal law by legalizing marijuana use and possession.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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