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8 Michigan Cities Adopt Legalization Measures In 2014 Election


hash bash michigan marijuanaDuring the 2014 election season, eight Michigan cities have voted to eliminate all local penalties for the possession, use, transfer and transportation of small amounts of marijuana.

Two cities, Oak Park and Hazel Park, made the choice during the August primary election. November 4th’s General Election saw six additional cities line up to liberalize their cannabis ordinances.

Passing the legalization measures were Saginaw, Port Huron, Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods and Berkley.

The election was monitored by several groups during election night. A Lansing gathering of Michigan activists posted election results on social media- and on a big wall- as the returns came in from across the state and the nation. Think Live Music hosted the event, which contained the principals from the Safer Michigan Coalition, the state-based organization most directly responsible for the successful local ballot initiatives.

Safer leaders had a lot to say about the election. “I am just so proud of all our local sponsors and petitioners,” said Tim Beck, of Grand Haven.

“Onward to victory!” cried Chuck Ream as the election results were read to the assembled revelers.

A second group monitoring the election was on a national basis. 81 ballot proposals and state-based initiatives from across the country (and our protectorates and territories) that proposed to adjust marijuana laws were voted on November 4th. All the elections were monitored by a national radio broadcast featuring Russ Belville, national media personality, and the final numbers were posted on a giant Totals Board. The broadcast initiated from Oregon.

Nationally, marijuana use was legalized in the states of Alaska and Oregon, and Washington, D.C., but the Florida bid to pass a medical marijuana law lost- even though it received more than 50% of the popular vote.

“If 2012’s legalization wins in Colorado and Washington were the jabs that shocked prohibition, then 2014’s legalization wins in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC are the body blows that leave prohibition staggering,” Belville told TCC in an exclusive interview.  ”Couple those with medical marijuana winning in Guam and, despite failing to meet the 60% threshold, medical marijuana getting the majority of the votes in Florida, and the momentum toward the knockout punch to prohibition in 2016 feels inevitable.”

Not every contest was won. In addition to the Florida loss, where the state Constitution demands a 60% approval for amendments of this nature, voters in the Michigan cities of Clare, Harrison, Lapeer, Onaway and Frankfort rejected their bids to legalize cannabis.

“This is a case of urban centers being more liberal than their rural counterparts,” said Rick Thompson, editor of The Compassion Chronicles and the Michigan reporter for the Belville broadcast.  ”These initiatives are the benchmarks of social evolution. That progression of thought is being achieved but, much like America, Michigan is not of one mind on this issue yet.”

Jamie Lowell of Ypsilanti’s 3rd Coast Compassion, and the chair of the Michigan chapter of the national organization Americans for Safe Access, said, “Now we know where in Michigan we need to spend more time on education and sharing information.”


About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.


  1. I have been telling the leadership since the beginning that there will never be mass legalization until conservatives have seats at the table. I am glad to see it being spoken by leadership. Great jobs!!

  2. In a few years we might see solid legal cannabis along the Pacific Coast from Alaska down to Chile.

  3. These victories are the route to state wide policy change. They do help in the cities where passed in terms of swaying the focus of local enforcement away from adults with small amounts of cannabis on private property, but the biggest value that they have is demonstrating- very directly- the kind of support that exists for change around the state.

    Before medical marijuana became state wide law- Chuck Ream and Tim Beck of SaferMich, helped to get five cities to pass local medical marijuana initiatives- these efforts then led to a state wide ballot victory.

    Every local victory moves us forward- look out for several more next year too!

  4. Cities with strong MMJ support, but weak State support, should petition the cities to legalize in a show of solidarity and support for the movement.

  5. Really? Then why didnt seattle, denver, etc do that when they legalized personal use far before their states?

  6. Reform takes time. I wonder if Californians would have believed in 2010 four other States would legalize marijuana before
    them ? (2016 is California time !)

  7. It’s nice to see 8 Michigan cities pass there legalization. But for people not living in the city limits of these 8 and other cities with similar decriminalization laws will have to worry about state or county police. Until we can get laws changed on a county or better a state level police can and will use any trickery to make sure they can prosecute you, me and every person who is a marijuana user.

  8. Earl Steffy III on

    I would not call it a “big win” because local cops will still be arresting and imprisoning citizens for using a harmless plant. The city law changes nothing, city cops will still arrest you under state law. Passing city laws that legalize cannabis are a victory but like I said hollow. Instead of focusing on the city’s like michigan has done since we voted for state medical marihuana, we need to focus on getting a bill on the state ballot to legalize cannabis.

  9. I-70 which Seattle voter’s passed in 2007, is viewed by many here as being the precursor to Washington’s full legalization success in 2012 (admittedly, having medical legal since 1998 didn’t hurt either). Although It’s not the same as full state legalization, these cities yes votes should be viewed as big wins for all reform minded Michigan resident’s.

  10. Earl Steffy III on

    If cannabis legalization was on the MIchigan state ballot, it would have easily passed. Victory’s in the city’s are hollow. Local cops are saying they plan on enforcing state law within there respective city’s. e.x. Port Huron, MI. We need to vote on a state level to legalize cannabis. Wasting resource’s on passing cannabis laws on a local level is foolish. The time is now, we need focus on a state and national level.

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