Ian Elliott, president of Student Advocates for Medical and Recreational Cannabis, has pledged to gather 50,000 of the required 300,000 signatures necessary to get a new marijuana legalization initiative placed on Michigan’s ballot in 2016.
“It’s an undertaking,” Elliott said. “I’m going to organize volunteers. We need all the help we can get.”
Michigan laws governing marijuana are considered some of the most complex in the nation. Twelve years after California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, on Nov. 4, 2008, state voters passed the Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative. The measure was approved by voters in each of Michigan’s 83 counties.
Central Michigan University Police Department Lt. Cameron Wassman said there has been a cultural shift in the way students view marijuana.
“I’ve been on CMU’s police force since 2000, and what we’ve seen is students becoming desensitized to pot and not treating it like a really serious drug,” Wassman said. “A lot of cities and municipalities have changed their laws. That can affect public opinion.”
In addition to Michigan’s statewide legalization of medicinal marijuana, individual cities have their own ordinances regarding the use of marijuana. Ann Arbor has been passing increasingly lenient laws regulating marijuana since the early 1970s. Today, if you are caught smoking a joint on the streets of Ann Arbor police will issue you a $25 ticket. Grand Rapids recently enacted a similar law which allows police to issue a $25 ticket to an individual for their first marijuana offense.
However, all cannabis products are illegal under federal law.
The six and a half years that have passed since Michigan legalized medicinal marijuana use have brought sweeping change to how individual cities in Michigan treat marijuana offenses. On Nov. 4, 2013, 62 percent of Mount Pleasant residents voted in favor of decriminalizing the possession and use of less than one ounce of marijuana for adults above the age of 21 within a private residence.
Elliott said the push for complete legalization of marijuana in Michigan is, “stronger than ever.”
“The push for legalization has three fronts,” Elliott said. “The first front is a legislative movement. The other two are ballot initiatives.
“Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, announced April 4 that he is drafting legislation to introduce a version of Colorado’s marijuana laws in Michigan. Irwin’s statement was well received by a hazy crowd of supporters at Ann Arbor’s 44th annual Hash-Bash.
Tecumseh sophomore Matt Vallad said mimicking Colorado’s practices could help Michigan.
“I …Read More