As the fight to free the weed wages on in Michigan, voters will finally get the opportunity to determine whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use when they go to the polls on Nov. 6. The Michigan State Board of Canvassers unanimously approved the ballot initiative after it ruled that an advocate group seeking to take the issue of legalization to the voters had successfully secured enough signatures to place the question on the ballot for the upcoming mid-term election.
Recent polls indicate that more than 60 percent of Michiganders support legalizing marijuana. As citizens across Michigan prepare to vote on the measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, black voters may prove to be the crucial swing vote in determining the outcome of the historic ballot proposal. The black community however is divided on the issue of legalization, with many local leaders touting that a key benefit of decriminalization would be the reduction of arrests, prosecution and imprisonment of young black would decline dramatically, others fear it will encourage more drug use.
Michigan citizens overwhelmingly voted in favor of legislation in 2008 to allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. The measure initially led to the opening of more than 250 dispensaries in Detroit. But following a relatively confusing and frenzied effort to determine how to best regulate the bourgeoning businesses, the city shuttered many of its dispensaries, leaving only about 70 to continue operating under emergency rules crafted by the state.
In November of last year, Detroiters shot down challenges to relax regulations for dispensary operations and approved two city ordinances to increase access. The Detroit Medical Marijuana Facilities Ordinance allows dispensaries to remain open for longer hours, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m and the accompanying Detroit Zoning Ordinance for Medical Marijuana Facilities ordinance