Michigan: Kalamazoo Voters To Decide On Marijuana ‘Deprioritization’ Measure

Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo voters will decide this November on a municipal initiative that seeks to make marijuana law enforcement the city’s “lowest priority.”

The proposed amendment to Kalamazoo’s city charter seeks to make the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by adults age 21 the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.

The initiative is modeled after a similar measure that was enacted by Seattle voters in 2003. A review of that measure in 2008 reported that implementation of the ordinance was associated with a reduction in local law enforcement costs and “no evident increase in marijuana use among youth and young adults.”

Voters in Tacoma, Washington will also vote on a similar proposal this fall.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette have spoken out against the measure.

Separate ‘deprioritization’ measures have previously been approved by voters nationwide, including voters in Oakland, California and Denver, Colorado. Since 1972, the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan has imposed a local ordinance classifying minor marijuana possession as a civil infraction rather than a criminal misdemeanor, as is called for under state law.

In 2008, 63 percent of Michigan voters approved Proposal 1, which legalized the limited use and cultivation of cannabis by patients who possess a physician’s recommendation.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.