Tax and Regulate

Michigan: The fight for marijuana policy reform moves to the local level

After Prop 1's victory last November, we celebrated the end of marijuana prohibition in Michigan. But the effort to move marijuana policy reform forward isn't over. The frontlines have now shifted to cities and towns, where many municipalities are imposing bans on marijuana businesses in their jurisdictions.

It's not only about holding the line. Local activism opens up the possibility of more progress, too. Organizers in Ann Arbor, for example, are working to put a social use initiative on the ballot in 2020.

We encourage supporters of sensible marijuana policies in Michigan to get involved in political spaces at the local level in two main ways:

  • Get to know your city council members and attend local meetings. Express your views on how you think legal marijuana could benefit your community — just remember to always be respectful.

  • Help organize a local petition effort to repeal bans on marijuana businesses. Prop 1 allows residents to place certain marijuana policy questions on the ballot, provided they collect enough signatures, equal to 5% of the number of votes cast for governor. Click here to see a map of cities and towns where bans have already been enacted or are pending.

In some communities, bans on marijuana businesses are being imposed despite the fact that a majority of residents voted for Prop 1. We cannot sit on the sidelines while the will of the voters is ignored by city officials.

Let's bring our movement for sensible marijuana policies to the local level in 2019!

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Tax and Regulate

Rick Steves to tour Michigan in support of legalization ballot measure

Next week, legendary travel host Rick Steves will be visiting Michigan to give talks in support of Prop 1, the ballot initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana. Known for his hit PBS series “Rick Steves’ Europe,” Rick’s engaging personality and first-hand experience seeing the benefits of legalization in his home state of Washington make this an event you don’t want to miss.

You can catch him in two locations, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. Both speaking events are free and open to the public. The tour schedule is listed below.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2
It’s Time for a New Approach: Rick Steves on why legalization is a better solution
Time: 7:30 p.m., doors at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Peter Martin Wege Theatre, 341 Ellsworth Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
Cost: FREE
Register here

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3
It’s Time for a New Approach: Rick Steves on why legalization is a better solution
Time: 8:30 p.m., doors at 8:00 p.m.
Location: Rackham Amphitheatre, 915 E Washington St., Ann Arbor
Cost: FREE
Register here

As a board member of NORML, Rick Steves has been a long-time advocate for sensible marijuana policies. Audiences around the country have heard his informative and entertaining talks on marijuana legalization, and now you have a chance to see him, too. Register for one of the events above and share the word by inviting friends and family.

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Prohibition

What the Michigan Local Ordinances Really Do

While election day saw an overwhelming amount of media coverage surrounding marijuana issues, some of the details were confusing to people not living in those states, so here are the details for Michigan. Three cities in Michigan voted to remove criminal penalties associated with possession or transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana.  The ordinances apply to those 21 and over on private property.  Ferndale and Jackson voters passed city ordinances by 69% and 61% respectively, while voters in the capital city, Lansing, passed an amendment to their city charter with 63% of the vote.  Ferndale, Jackson, and Lansing all join the ranks of other Michigan cities like Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Kalamazoo, which had previously removed criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession or set marijuana as the lowest law enforcement priority.Untitled

Law enforcement is still able to enforce state and federal laws against marijuana, but local cops have the option to follow these ordinances and not charge adults for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Activists will be playing close attention to whether or not they heed the will of the voters.

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Prohibition

Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Decriminalization Bill

[caption id="attachment_6333" align="alignleft" width="210"]Jeff_Irwin_041012_RJS-thumb-400x266-108436 Rep. Jeff Irwin[/caption]

Michigan Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana in Michigan could result in a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 . House Bill 4623 would re-label the offense as a civil infraction punishable by a fine based on whether it was a repeat offense.
[caption id="attachment_6334" align="alignright" width="171"]Shirkey Rep. Mike Shirkey[/caption]

"We know, and the people here in Michigan know, that marijuana prohibition is not working," Rep. Irwin said today during a press conference at the state Capitol, where he was joined by the bill’s Republican co-sponsors, Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville).

"This is the right time to have this debate in Michigan," said Rep. Shirkey. "We're using a lot of money, energy and resources in Michigan and across the nation to accomplish something we've failed at."

If you live in Michigan, please ask your legislators to support marijuana decriminalization!

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