A backer of a Detroit ballot proposal decriminalizing marijuana says that the decision of voters to pass the measure Tuesday didn't come as a shock to him.
"This election result is no surprise," Tim Beck of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, which put Proposal M on the ballot, told The Huffington Post in an email. "The City of Detroit did not spend two years in court and thousands of dollars in legal fees to keep this off the ballot because they thought the measure would be rejected by the voters."
The ballot measure amends a 1984 Detroit city ordinance to exempt adults over the age of 21 from being prosecuted for the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana on private property. It will take effect once the results of the election are formally certified, according to Beck. A spokeswoman from the Detroit Department of Elections said certification will take place Nov. 20, two weeks after the election.
Detroit City Council wouldn't consider the issue when it was brought before them in 2010, on the grounds that the measure conflicted with state law. Following the advice of the city's Law Department, the Detroit Election Commission later voted 3-0 to block the referendum. It became the subject of a lengthy court battle before finally being certified for Tuesday's ballot.
In a prior interview Beck told The Huffington Post he supported the measure not just due to a concern for personal freedom, but also because he felt it would encourage the city's police department to rethink their priorities.
"The city of Detroit is in some very, very deep financial problems. It is on the verge of bankruptcy. The police force is stretched as thin as it's ever going to get," he said. "We've got to get out of the business of dealing with victimless crime and refocus our scarce resources on crimes that have actual consequences to other people."
It's still unclear how Detroit police will enforce the revised city code on marijuana, because state and federal laws criminalizing the substance still remain on the books.
Detroit City Council Member James Tate told The Huffington Post in a pre-election interview that he didn't think the proposal would have any immediate effect on local policing.
"We can talk the ifs, possibles, maybes, but the reality is in fact that marijuana is a federal crime," he said. "Depending on how the voters cast their ballots, it may send a message either one way or the other, but right now by law we still have to follow the what's federally mandated."
Detroit wasn't the only Michigan city to pass laws decriminalizing marijuana this election season. Voters in Flint, Grand Rapids, and Ypsilanti approved related measures, while Kalamazoo passed a proposal to establish medical marijuana dispensaries, the AP reports.
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The conservative former Fox News host is known for going on rants, but who would have predicted <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=210" target="_hplink">this tirade</a> against the failure of marijuana prohibition? “I think it's about time we legalize marijuana... We either put people who are smoking marijuana behind bars or we legalize it, but this little game we are playing in the middle is not helping us, it is not helping Mexico and it is causing massive violence on our southern border... Fifty percent of the money going to these cartels is coming just from marijuana coming across our border.”
The notoriously cautious former White House chief of staff, who urged President Obama to stay away from polarizing issues and take a middle-of-the-road approach, <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=176" target="_hplink">pushed through</a> a money-saving marijuana decriminalization law after becoming mayor of Chicago. “We have police officers...arresting people for 10 grams, 11 grams, 12 grams. A huge amount of time dedicated to that. Then, they go to court. That means they're not on the street fighting gangs, fighting gun violence... I think [the decriminalization proposal is] a smart change because I want our police officers focused on serious violent crime.”
The Republican governor of Texas and former presidential candidate doesn't fancy himself a fan of marijuana, but does <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=71" target="_hplink">support</a> consistently applying the principles of federalism and states' rights, even when it comes to medical marijuana laws. “[If] you want to go somewhere where you can smoke medicinal weed, then you ought to be able to do that.”
The Majority of Americans
You wouldn't know it from the way so many national politicians act like talking about the marijuana issue is some kind of dangerous "third rail" of politics, but polls from respected firms Gallup and Rasmussen both <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/about.php" target="_hplink">show</a> majority support for legalizing marijuana. Gallup has been polling the marijuana legalization question for 40 years but found majority support for the first time in 2011, with 50 percent of voters in favor and just 46 percent opposed. Rasmussen reports that 56 percent support legalization.
While not a supporter of legalization per se, the Fox News host <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=199" target="_hplink">says</a> he simply doesn't care whether people use marijuana in the privacy of their own homes. This puts some distance between his vision and current law, which allows for police to enter the homes of peaceful marijuana users who don't bother anyone else. These raids, which are sometimes conducted on the wrong houses due to misinformation, often lead to death for people and dogs shot by police. “My philosophy is if you want to smoke marijuana in your basement, I don't care. I'm not going to get a search warrant and kick your door in. I think that's foolish... But...if you get behind the wheel of a car, if you sell the dope to my kid, if my kid sees you smoking...I then will demand that the authorities protect me and my family from you, the marijuana smoker in public. Am I wrong?”
Juan Manuel Santos
The president of Colombia, a country that is one of the U.S.'s most important allies in the "war on drugs," is probably one of the last people you would expect to call the entire global approach to drug control a failure and to support having a conversation about legalization, but that's exactly what he's <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=60" target="_hplink">doing</a>. “A new approach should try and take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking... If that means legalising, and the world thinks that's the solution, I will welcome it.”
The Republican former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate is known for speaking her mind, but did you know that she <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=55" target="_hplink">thinks</a> cops have better things to do than bust people for marijuana? “We need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts, and if somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody else any harm, then perhaps there are other things that our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems that we have in society that are appropriate for law enforcement to do.”
Who could be more mainstream than this legendary Grammy Award-winning singer? Following the tragic death of Whitney Houston, Bennett <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=74" target="_hplink">urged</a> the legalization of all drugs -- not just marijuana -- to better protect the health and safety of drug users. “I'd like to have every gentleman and lady in this room commit themselves to get our government to legalize drugs -- so they'll have to get it through a doctor, not just some gangsters that just sell it under the table.”
While many HuffPost readers may disagree vehemently with Koch's politics overall, particularly his support for the Tea Party, you may be surprised to learn that he is a funder of the criminal justice reform group Families Against Mandatory Minimums and that he <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=89" target="_hplink">supports</a> decriminalizing marijuana. “I have friends who smoke pot... It's ridiculous to treat them as criminals.”
Over the years, the Christian televangelist has said some things that many HuffPost readers may find wacky, but his position in <a href="http://marijuanamajority.com/?id=47" target="_hplink">support</a> of marijuana legalization is completely sane. “I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I've never used marijuana and I don't intend to, but it's just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn't succeeded.”