Voters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this November, will decide whether possessing marijuana in the city should be a considered a civil infraction or a criminal one.
If approved, Proposal 2 would “decriminalize the possession, control, use, or gift of marijuana” (see full text below the poll). Instead of being thrown in jail, one would only pay a maximum fine of $100.00, if charged. City Attorney Catherine Mish explained that “since the fines were so small… the change could lead to little or no enforcement at all.”
A Pro-Cannabis group called Decriminalize GR managed to obtain over 10,000 signatures to get the proposal past, much more than the ~6,500 required (more specifically, 5% of the population). The group included such wording in the proposal that would prohibit local law enforcement from reporting infractions to State and Federal law enforcement. The language also “[provides] an affirmative defense to prosecution for defendants intending to use marijuana to relieve pain, disability, or discomfort,” effectively acknowledging the use of cannabis for medical purposes.
The measure is estimated to save taxpayers $2.5 million per year, reduce the rate of arrests among youths, and will free up local police to focus on crime prevention and law enforcement.
PROPOSAL 2 PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO TITLE XVIII (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) OF THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS, CONCERNING THE DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA
A proposal to decriminalize possession, control, use, or gift of marijuana, through a Charter amendment prohibiting police from reporting same to law enforcement authorities other than the City Attorney; prohibiting the City Attorney from referring same to other law enforcement authorities for prosecution; prohibiting City prosecution except as civil infractions enforced by appearance tickets with a maximum fine of $100.00 and no incarceration; waiving fines if a physician, practitioner or other qualified health professional recommends the defendant use marijuana; and providing an affirmative defense to prosecution for defendants intending to use marijuana to relieve pain, disability, or discomfort.