Huffpost Detroit

Marijuana Decriminalization Question Must Appear On Detroit Ballot, State Appeals Court Rules

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Detroiters could be allowed to vote to decriminalize marijuana in the city as soon as August.
Detroiters could be allowed to vote to decriminalize marijuana in the city as soon as August.

The Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday morning ruled that a Detroit city clerk had no right to block a proposal to decriminalize marijuana from appearing on a 2010 ballot. Detroit officials must now place the question on the August 2012 ballot.

The 2 to 1 decision reversed an earlier ruling by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Sapala that allowed the clerk to suspend a vote on the issue because it conflicted with state law, Michigan Lawyers Weekly reports.

If approved by voters, the proposal would amend city law to allow "the use or possession of less than 1 ounce of marihuana, on private property, by a person who has attained the age of 21 years."

Attorney Matt Abel argued before Judge Sapala on behalf of the ballot measure in circuit court last year. He told The Huffington Post he felt vindicated by the decision.

"I think they made the right decision," he said. "We look forward to moving the drug war down another notch."

Abel said the proposal should be on the August ballot, barring a further appeal by the city.

Abel is also the campaign director for Committee for A Safer Michigan, a group lobbying for a statewide constitutional amendment to permit marijuana use. He sid the Detroit ballot question was one of many factors that led to his group to push for full marijuana legalization in Michigan.

According to the Court of Appeals, the proposal, if passed, would still conflict with current state law prohibiting the use of marijuana.

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