Detroit voters overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to decriminalize personal use of marijuana, but users may not want to breathe easy just yet, says the Detroit News. Because state and federal law still deem the drug illegal, there’s disagreement about whether the change will mean anything. On the same day voters in Flint and Grand Rapids, Mi., approved similar measures, Detroit passed its proposal 65-35 percent, allowing those 21 and older to possess less than an ounce of marijuana without prosecution.
Tim Beck, chairman of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, which lobbied for the change, said, “I truly believe that the city will not use its resources to prosecute small time marijuana users. There is no upside.” Wayne State University Law Prof. Peter Henning doesn’t expect the new law to change much. Because marijuana is illegal statewide, Detroit police officers still would have probable cause to search suspected users for the drug and could charge them under state law, Henning said.
For news on state votes on criminal justice issues, including marijuana legalization, see this survey in The Crime Report.