Detroiters May Vote on Legal Marijuana
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Detroiters May Vote on Legal Marijuana');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

Detroiters May Vote on Legal Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on May 06, 2010 at 05:11:15 PT
By Bill Laitner, Free Press Staff Writer
Source: Detroit Free Press
Michigan -- A Detroiter who helped lead the drive to allow medical marijuana in Michigan is pushing for something bound to be equally controversial: legalizing pot in the city of Detroit."You've done a great job," meeting the detailed filing requirements, City Clerk Janice Winfrey said Wednesday as Tim Beck handed over more than 6,100 petition signatures.
Beck, 58, spent five weeks overseeing the collection of many more than the 3,700 signatures needed to get Detroit's November ballot to include his proposal. It would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of pot on private property by adults 21 and older.City officials must certify the petition signatures in the next 10 days, and then the City Council has 30 days to pass the proposal or send it to voters this fall, Elections Director Daniel Baxter said."We're quite sure we're in conformity with state law and the city charter," said Beck, a veteran of successful drives to approve medical marijuana in five Michigan cities and ultimately statewide.If his proposal passes, Detroit would follow Denver in legalizing possession of pot."It's a good year for this because it's also on the ballot in California," said Beck, a medical marijuana user. California voters this fall could vote to treat marijuana like alcohol. Battle Lines Drawn on Legalizing Marijuana The possibility that Detroit voters could legalize marijuana possession this fall has the supporters of liberal drug laws taking on the staunch advocates of America's war on drugs.Supporters of the proposal say it would free police to go after violent criminals, ease jail crowding and even encourage a safe alternative to alcohol. Some criminal justice and medical experts dispute those ideas."Our feeling is, how do we put an end to the drug war? This would be a step," said attorney and medical marijuana user Matthew Abel, 51, of Detroit.Abel, along with Detroit health insurance firm owner Tim Beck and real-estate scion David Farbman, pooled $10,000 to pay the legal, printing and labor costs for drafting the proposal, launching a Web site ( and getting petition signatures, Abel said. They turned in more than 6,100 signatures Wednesday to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, they said.Legalizing pot in Detroit wouldn't affect existing laws against driving while impaired and still wouldn't safeguard marijuana users from arrest under state law, Beck said."But we're hopeful the city would honor the people's wishes and not go after someone possessing a small amount," he said. The proposal would allow possession of up to an ounce of pot on private property in Detroit by anyone 21 or older.Michigan's top prosecutor, Attorney General Mike Cox, said in a statement that the Detroit proposal would change nothing about how drug laws should be enforced in the state's largest city."There can't be some kind of zone or island of non-enforcement, just because a city decrees it," Cox spokeswoman Joy Yearout said.Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans was unavailable for comment Wednesday. Deputy Chief John Roach said that Evans would need to see the legalization proposal before he could comment.But Roach said Evans "absolutely made it our focus to go after the mid-level and upper-level drug suppliers" and not marijuana users, although "we do encounter the lower-level people all the time, so we need to look at this issue."To submit the Detroit proposal, which still must be approved by election officials before it can go on the November ballot, petition gatherers like Fritzel Stanley, 59, of Detroit got thousands of residents to sign petitions this spring."Once I explain this to people, they're in agreement with it, overwhelmingly," Stanley said, as he sat last month at a card table inside Farmer John's Market on Detroit's east side.A U.S. Army veteran, Stanley said he quit using marijuana "when I left Vietnam" in 1970, "but I think it should be legal."Petition signers Roderick Harris, 48, and Richard Smyth, 55, both Detroiters, said they agreed with him."When liquor was against the law, they bootlegged it. Marijuana is no different," Smyth said. He said he paid a $1,000 fine and spent 90 days in jail for marijuana possession three decades ago.Although still in a small minority, a growing group of political figures and leaders in metro Detroit -- from Democrats to Libertarians to a few Republicans -- said possession of marijuana should be legal.Last month, in a breakfast forum at the Detroit Athletic Club, Compuware founder Peter Karmanos called for legalizing drugs to reduce crime.State Rep. LaMar Lemmons, a Democrat from Detroit, said he helped write the new proposal. "I'd like our police to concentrate on violent crimes," Lemmons said.Lemmons said he doesn't want to encourage marijuana use in public, but believes that people using it at home should be left alone."When Tim (Beck) was crafting the legislation, I did suggest that he put that caveat in -- about the private property," Lemmons said.Former state Rep. Leon Drolet of Macomb Township calls himself "a very proud Libertarian Republican" who favors legalization."We all make decisions about our health, whether it's drinking alcohol or having a slice of cake. There's lots of things people choose to do because they feel, in some way, it enhances their quality of life," he said."And unless they're infringing on anybody else's life or liberty, I can't imagine why we would prosecute them," Drolet said as he campaigned this week for state senator in north Macomb County.Legal experts differ about the impact of local marijuana ordinances, amid rapidly changing attitudes that run right to the White House. Last fall, President Barack Obama directed the U.S. Justice Department to stop using federal resources for prosecuting medical-marijuana cases.Some cities have directed their police not to arrest people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, Wayne State University Law School professor Robert Sedler said."They can't actually make it legal, but they do have the power to instruct their police," Sedler said.Medical and research experts disagree about whether marijuana is addictive; is less likely than alcohol to cause health problems or violence; is a gateway drug that leads to heroin, cocaine and other abuse, or has health benefits."Right now, we cannot look into the medical uses of marijuana" because it's illegal in Michigan for anyone but approved medical marijuana patients and their caregivers, Michigan State University criminal justice professor Sheila Maxwell said."So, there are no clinical trials going on," Maxwell said.Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)Author:   Bill Laitner, Free Press Staff WriterPublished: May 6, 2010Copyright: 2010 Detroit Free PressWebsite: letters freepress.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #16 posted by westnyc on May 07, 2010 at 12:22:13 PT
Thank you Hope! Yes! She was an old girl who spent her days mostly inside but loved to sun herself on my back porch when it was warm--she never wandered from the yard--so I didn't worry too much! Saddest part is: She contracted FIV (feline aids) although she had her shots! My vet, told me that the FIV immunization is very effective in preventing a cat from contracting the virus; however, there isn't 100% guarantee and some cats still contract it from strays, especially a young or very old cat like my Dolly! If anyone should read this and have a cat--please get them immunized asap for FIV--especially if they are prone to "escaping" outside! I discovered her illness when I thought she had contracted a respiratory illness and was breathing in gasps--at this point of the disease, my vet informed me, "It is only a matter of a short time before they go!" Sadly for me--I always thought that immunization meant prevention was absolute--but, immunization only decreases their chances and isn't a guarantee! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by Hope on May 07, 2010 at 06:33:56 PT
I'm sorry about your losing your Dollybot. Twenty three years! That's marvelous that she was with you that long. And about our Martha... I so agree. She's accomplished something very good for so many people by devoting her time the way she has. It was the Apostle Peter or Paul that said something to the effect that though some of us might not get to build on the foundation we laid... we did lay the foundation and it's a good, strong foundation of truth to be built on by those coming after us. Recently, I saw an activist speaking to younger activist and apologizing that our generation "failed" to get this changed... I don't think we've failed. We laid the strong foundation that all the good change is being built upon. That's not failing. You've got to have a good strong foundation if you want the "House" to stand well and be able to resist the winds and storms that will push and shake it through the years.But I'm still hopeful that most of us that have been at it for what seems like a very long time, will indeed get the joy of seeing the good "house" built firmly on the foundation we've been working on for so long. I'm so excited about the fact that we have so many dedicated reformers, of all ages, working with us now. It's wonderful and something we've worked diligently for and longed for. It's beautiful. It's the light of dawn on the horizon.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by FoM on May 06, 2010 at 13:30:23 PT
Thank you so much. That made my day.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by westnyc on May 06, 2010 at 13:20:02 PT
as the Great Oz said to the Tinman!
Thank you FOM--though I've never met you in person--I have been touched many times by your graciousness--and, I have so much admiration and respect for you and what you do each day to make this crazy world better--to help and provide a forum that attempts to make sense of what we can't seem to do--without judgement--and, when you leave this world--it may not be much different than today; but, it will certainly be better for those who knew you! You have always been here with a lending voice of compassion--for all of us--and I am "Tipping my hat to you right now!" Remember again--"A heart is not judged by how much you love--but, by how much you are loved by others!"
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 06, 2010 at 12:00:40 PT
In time you will find another cat because if you love them you love them. Good caring animal people need to help a dog or cat when they can. There's always a pet out there somewhere that needs a friend.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by westnyc on May 06, 2010 at 11:55:25 PT
Thanks everyone!
I'll eventually go to the Humane Society and get another "pound-baby" when I have some time away from work--but, after living alone with the same cat for 23-years--I'm just not ready yet--I still can't put her bowl away! I guess I should pursue finding a mate; but, I'm actually happy without one; however, I am not happy without a pet! I would love a dog--but, one can't leave a dog for several days away like one can with a cat! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 06, 2010 at 11:54:18 PT
I looked at the news and something happened with the Stock Market. It was down almost 900 points. Now it is near 500 down and they said they stopped trading. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by dongenero on May 06, 2010 at 11:48:17 PT
sorry westnyc
She was a lucky kitty to be loved.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by FoM on May 06, 2010 at 11:40:35 PT
I'm so sorry. Losing our pets is really hard. We put down our last rottie last August. I understand how you feel.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by BGreen on May 06, 2010 at 11:36:06 PT
I'm sorry, westnyc
I know just how you feel.The Reverend Bud Green
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by westnyc on May 06, 2010 at 11:18:33 PT
I had to put my cat DollyBot to sleep last week--that's what you do when you love someone so much and they are in pain--it will take awhile before home seems the same again! Sometimes I almost forget she's gone!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 06, 2010 at 11:13:11 PT
Can't Handle It
I love dogs too and I can't watch it.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by westnyc on May 06, 2010 at 11:10:05 PT
and they arrested the man for "Child Endangerment!
I think SWAT needs to learn the meaning of "Irony!"
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by BGreen on May 06, 2010 at 11:05:43 PT
I won't watch it, but
I would like to force every uninformed bozo out there who believes the cops are the good guys and do no wrong to have to watch these videos.The Reverend Bud Green
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by westnyc on May 06, 2010 at 10:31:20 PT
This appeared today on firedoglake! is terrible and frightening video to watch! I love dogs; and, I hope it is ok to post this horrific video--however, the American People need to see the reality of the prohibition of marijuana! Clearly, "The interests of the law enforcers are as self-interested and violent as the drug dealers!"
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Jim Leighton on May 06, 2010 at 07:03:07 PT:
 Good luck Detroit
Does anyone know if there is a provision in this petition for how Detroit will getting their cannabis ? The best option would be to free cannabis and allow the plant to be grown by those who choose to . The less laws , caveats , stipulations , the better .
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment