Bid to put legalizing pot on city ballot wins another round

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Detroiters edged closer Monday to a vote on legalizing marijuana use.

The Michigan Court of Appeals denied the City of Detroit’s motion to reconsider its previous ruling requiring a local legalization measure be placed on the ballot.

The decision comes two years after the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, headed by pot-activist Tim Beck, put together a successful petition drive, gathering an adequate number of signatures to put the measure before voters.

Although CSD complied by the requirements of the petition drive, the Election Commission refused to put the measure on the ballot, arguing it conflicted with state law, which only allows for medicinal use within state guidelines.

CSD sued and had Detroit-based lawyer Matt Abel, whose firm specializes in marijuana-related cases, argue the case.  But, the group lost at the Wayne County Circuit Court when Judge Michael Sapala ruled in favor of the city.

They took their case to the Court of Appeals where the decision was reversed.

That’s when the City filed the motion to reconsider the ruling with the Court of Appeals, sticking by the argument that state law overrides city ordinances.

The city still has the opportunity to see if the Michigan Supreme Court will hear the case. It’s not clear whether they will do so. According to an e-mail from CSD, the city has 42 days to appeal.

If the measure is passed, Detroit law would allow adults 21 and older to carry an ounce or less of marijuana on private property in Detroit.


About The Author

Ryan Felton

Ryan Felton was born in 1990 and spent the majority of his childhood growing up in Livonia. In 2009, after a short stint at Eastern Michigan University, he moved to Detroit where he has remained ever since. After graduating from Wayne State University’s journalism program, he went on to work as a staff writer...
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