OAK PARK (WWJ) – More Michiganders are putting pen to paper in support of pot.
Voters in multiple Michigan cities may have an opportunity in August or November to vote on ballot measures that would decriminalize the use of marijuana — by adults in small amounts — for recreational purposes.
Proponents of legalizing marijuana in Michigan said they’ve collected enough signatures for a vote in Oak Park, Hazel Park, Utica, Lapeer, Port Huron, Onaway, Harrison Township, East Lansing, Saginaw, Mount Pleasant, and Benzie County.
“That state of Michigan is ripe for change,” said Tim Beck, co-founder of the Safer Michigan Coalition, which started the petition drive.
The law would allow adults, 21 years old and up, to possess an ounce or less of marijuana on private property without criminal prosecution.
Detroit, Lansing, Ferndale, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Flint have already passed similar measures.
Marijuana users in the communities where such measures pass still face risks, however, because state law bars marijuana use and possession unless the user has a state-issued medical marijuana card.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick says that those behind these proposals are hoping to force the hand of lawmakers in Lansing.
“The intent of this Safer Michigan Coalition is to put on those local ballots this issue and let the voters decide yay or nay,” Skubick said. “This is part of a strategy to basically pick off, town by town, this issue to send the message to lawmakers that they ought to do this statewide. They have not done that so far. That’s why this coalition is taking a town by town approach.”