Marijuana Legalization Gains in Michigan; Does Decriminalization Lie Ahead?


Marijuana legalization advocates have gained momentum in Michigan after voters last week approved pot legalization measures in three cities, the Detroit News reports. The state House leader seems more ready to debate the issue than the Senate majority leader or Gov. Rick Snyder. House Speaker Jase Bolger “is open to having the discussion about the right policy regarding marijuana and how it is treated under state law,” said Ari Adler, press secretary to the Republican House leader. Bolger doesn't support legalized marijuana but is willing to discuss decriminalizing it.

“(Bolger) likes to use the example of speeding — it's illegal, but the punishment is a ticket, not jail time,” Adler said. “Using that premise, the question is: Should a small amount of marijuana for personal use result in a ticket or jail time; does the punishment fit the crime?” Including last Tuesday's results, nine Michigan cities have eased or eliminated penalties for use or possession of small amounts of marijuana, joining the state medical marijuana law approved by voters in 2008. In some cities with decriminalization ordinances, marijuana use or possession involving an ounce or less is treated like a parking ticket or traffic violation.

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