Inside dope

Jan 16, 2002 at 12:00 am

Not long ago, Tim Beck was hoping that the medical marijuana ballot measure he’s pushing might be approved straightaway by the Detroit City Council, forgoing the expense of having voters decide the issue. Now he’s thinking he and fellow supporters of the measure will have to endure a court fight before the whole thing goes anywhere. Though nothing official has been handed down yet, Beck says he’s heard through the grapevine that the city Law Department is preparing to question the legality of the measure, which easily garnered many more than the 6,141 signatures needed to put it on the ballot.

“I’ve been told by a very reliable source that the Law Department is going to institute some sort of legal action,” Beck said.

Although News Hits was still waiting to hear back from new corporate counsel Ruth Carter at press time, Election Department deputy director Isa Azzouz confirmed that the city’s legal eagles were squawking, but he refused to provide any details.

If approved, either by the council or voters, the measure would amend the city charter to make users of marijuana for medical purposes the Police Department’s lowest priority. It would also eliminate funding for the prosecution of all such cases.

Barring legal challenges and absent council approval, the measure — which is patterned after a similar law enacted in Mendocino County, Calif. — would appear on the August primary ballot.

What makes the measure being pushed by the Detroit Coalition for Compassionate Care particularly interesting are some of the group’s supporters. Among those listed as members of its steering committee are former Detroit Police Chief Isaiah McKinnon, Wayne State University School of Medicine professor Dr. Eugene Perrin, state Rep. Hansen Clark (D-Detroit).and Wayne County Commissioner George Cushingberry Jr.

But, as we said, Beck is pretty certain he’s going to have to face a court fight before that can happen. The good news out there for all you chemo patients and others who use a little pot to alleviate suffering is that Beck is promising to do whatever it takes to get this measure before the people.

“We have donors lined up to put cash into this,” the Detroit resident said. “We’re prepared to fight.”

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail [email protected]