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America Will See 17 Votes For Marijuana Legalization In 2014


michigan local election marijuana summaryAmerica will see 17 votes for marijuana legalization during the 2014 general election in November: the states of Oregon and Alaska, the District of Columbia, and 14 individual cities in Michigan.

August 12 was the deadline date for those Michigan cities to confirm the ballot proposal language for the November ballot. All 14 cities agreed to put the issue before the voters, but one city- Montrose- will refrain from forwarding their ballot proposal to the County Clerk until after a meeting of the Council on Thursday evening, August 14.

Although that delay could force petitioners to engage in legal action to secure the issue on the Montrose election ballot, observers believe the process will be complete without court appearances.

“We are very excited,” said Chuck Ream, co-founder of the Safer Michigan Coalition (SMC) and this year’s recipient of the High Times Lester Grinspoon Lifetime Achievement Award. SMC has sponsored or been involved in each of 2014-s successful ballot proposals.

Two votes have already been taken in Michigan this year and in both cases, marijuana legalization won. Voters in the the twin Oakland County cities of Oak Park (53% approval) and Hazel Park (63% approval) cast their votes during the August primary election.

Those dual victories raise the total of Michigan’s successful local marijuana law reform measures to a perfect 16 – 0 in the last decade. The state could nearly double that number in November; along with the 14 legalization issues, one city- tiny Utica- will vote on a Lowest Law Enforcement Priority measure to support marijuana users, too.

Currently, 1.3 million Michigan citizens live in cities with legalized or decriminalized marijuana laws. Should the 14 proposals all be approved this year, which is expected, that number will grow by 200,000.

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Tim Beck (r) and former Ferndale mayor Craig Covey celebrate victories in Hazel and Oak Parks, August 2014

In each of the 14 local elections the proposals would allow use, possession and transfer of marijuana by all adults 21 and over on private property. Most cities allow a one ounce possession limit; in Harrison and Clare activists made the quantity match the legal limit for the state’s medical marijuana patient population, which is 2.5 ounces.

Cities that did qualify to appear on the November ballot: Saginaw, East Lansing, Port Huron, Mt. Pleasant, Berkley, Lapeer, Huntington Woods, Clare, Keego Harbor, Pleasant Ridge, Harrison, Montrose, Frankfort and Onaway.

Earlier this year petitioners from the Safer Michigan Coalition had to sue Oak Park to place the issue on the August ballot. Michigan citizens derive the ability for the petition process from the Michigan Home Cities Rule Act, part of which reads that the Governor and Attorney General have to approve ballot proposals. That language stands in conflict with specific election law that states if petitions are collected and signatures are verified, the issue MUST be placed before the voters. East Lansing officials are dragging their feet in the delivery of an official approval, but they too will have to comply with election law or face attorneys and the media.

Cities that try to use the Act to refuse ballot proposals have lost those battles in the past. The state capital, Lansing, legalized marijuana last year over the objections of both the AG and Governor. Each submitted a letter reiterating their objections while admitting their impotence to halt the flow of the balloting process. Similar letters were sent this year to cities that requested guidance. “Cities are getting the message- you can’t interrupt the process,” Ream explained.

Although inconvenient and expensive, the 2014 Oak Park lawsuit probably deterred other cities from using similar stalling tactics. Others have tried, too. Saginaw, East Lansing and Clare have all made noise about needing a letter from state officials approving the ballot question before they can allow votes to be cast.

None of those cities were successful in stopping their ballot proposals but other cities were. Ritzy Grosse Pointe Park rejected hundreds of signatures because of a typo on the petition, and an attempt to legalize an entire county- a state first- was unsuccessful due to legal challenges mounted by the Benzie County authorities. Portage collected thousands of signatures, but many were rejected and the effort fell short by a few hundred. Both Portage and Grosse Pointe Park will use their collected signatures to launch legalization campaigns in 2015.

“Michigan is the new battleground for marijuana legalization in America,” said Jamie Lowell, Chair of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that in Michigan, the only way to fully protect medical marijuana patients is to make cannabis use legal for all adults.”


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Debra Young (L) of Safer Oak Park in Ferndale after marijuana legalization votes, August 2014

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Greg Pawlowski (R) of Michigan ASA and Marvin Surowitz after legalization passes in two Michigan cities, August 2014

Source: TheCompassionChronicles.Com


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. Kenneth William Hill on

    Cannabis is from God ! Cannabis should be ingested , no smoked. Cannabis is the most nutricous plant on Earth. Government , big pharma , and Catholics are evil !

  2. Im up in Oregon. Cant wait to vote. You only get for plants and one half pound per person but that’s enough for me

  3. I really want to see Detroit legalize. They need money. They should legalize weed and have tax breaks for artists to live there, and watch the place start to shine.

  4. Why would you want to see canabis (a plant) on schedule II when Marinol which is 100% synthetic THC is on schedule III?

  5. Lets stop criminalizing millions of Americans and wasting billions of our dollars in a futile attempt to eradicate something objectively safer than alcohol. Please consider what the following cannabis legalization organizations have to say. Help end this very costly (money is only a small part), harmful, senseless, unjust, unfounded, and more importantly, un-American prohibition by joining their mailing lists, signing their petitions and writing your legislators when they call for it.

    MPP – The Marijuana Policy Project – http://www.mpp.org/
    NORML – National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws – http://norml.org/
    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – http://www.leap.cc/
    DPA – Drug Policy Alliance – http://www.drugpolicy.org/

  6. Thanks for the analysis. It is very, very hard for me to believe that the alcoholic beverage industry cares about cannabis legalization, and if they do, they shouldn’t. To the best of my knowledge, alcoholic beverage sales in Colorado are untouched by cannabis legalization.
    Now the pharma industry on the other hand, has lots to fear here. Drugs like Xanax and Ambien will have their sales decimated, along with reductions of the chronic use of certain pain killers, anti-migraine and anti-nausea drugs. Of course, just my humble opinion, based on myself and the people I know who have switched or reduced their use of prescription pills in favor of cannabis.

  7. Off subject a little but I read a artical from consumers reports September 2014. This artical was about pianist pills.
    This is for all of you anti marijuana people. Did you know that 46 people die everyday from the use of prescription pain pills? This is the real drug problem. These deaths are directly related to these pain pills. I said directly related. Ok never have I seen any data that shows marijuana use killing 46 persons even in a year that is contributed to marijuana directly. Yes people have died from a combination of pills and marijuana I know some one, but the thing is it was the 31 pills a day he was taking to feed his addiction to pain pills. He only smoked marijuana when he couldn’t get enough pills to stop himself from getting sick. I a sure this is true for a lot of addicted to pain pills people or people addicted to other types of drugs.. You know what you people are the real criminals, you keep playing every dirty trick to keep marijuana illegal. When the fact is your supporting the real killer.

  8. Simon Hardinsky on

    Included on the ballot this coming November is the opportunity to vote for complete legalization of cannabis for the District of Columbia. Most likely, this will pass and Washington D.C. will join the proud states of Colorado and Washington where adults will be able to purchase pot legally. Unfortunately, just a few miles down the road in Virginia, anyone getting caught with under an ounce still goes to jail for up to thirty days with a $500 fine for a first time weed possession.
    However, in the state of Virginia, a physician may prescribe marijuana to a patient who is diagnosed with glaucoma or cancer. Recently the NFL announced that many of their top players had used cannabis instead of traditional medications manufactured by the pharmaceutical corporations. Especially, injured players with concussions and other forms of manifested body pain had experienced overwhelming results from the use of cannabis instead of popping pain killers that have horrible side effects.
    The alcohol industry is sad to see marijuana mentioned as an alternative to getting high. Alcohol has horrible side effects with the next day hangover and if someone drinks too much then their behavior can get out of control and lives can be at risk on the highway and confrontational behavior is accelerated with drinking too much. Also, the toll alcohol takes on the human body over time is devastating and cannabis is a natural herb that has been used for centuries all around the world.
    Early evidence of cannabis use has been documented among the Egyptians, the Aztecs, the Mayans and Eastern medicinal practices have dated as far back as 700 B.C. for the medicinal use of marijuana. However, the use of cannabis in the United States of America is highly illegal and the reason is because of greed. It is well known that the medicinal administration of cannabis far supersedes that of anything that big pharma can come up with, however money flows from the pharmaceutical corporations to pockets everywhere to make certain that marijuana never ever makes it to legal public consumption. You’ve seen it on T.V. All of these antidepressants and arthritis drugs that the pharmaceutical companies push cost them hardly anything to produce yet the consumer is saddled with having to come up with sometimes hundreds of dollars for just a few pills that quell the swelling and pain than natural cannabis can alleviate yet naturally and without any side effects except a wonderful feeling. Oh yes, the big corporations don’t want you to feel that good all at once without taking more money out of your pocket every time your body screams in pain or depression or lack of movement.
    I have travelled the country and I have attended many conventions with marijuana legalization supporters in tow and I can say unequivocally that these people, the pharmaceutical corporations and the alcohol industry, are present at these events to make certain that cannabis never become legalized. This will be money out of their greedy little hands. They don’t care if you have cancer. They don’t care if your body aches and they would rather you be sad and unhappy all the time as long as they can get your money, a little at a time, from your pocket to theirs.
    Go ahead, call the numbers that you see on T.V. about these treatment centers of cancer where they really care about you and ask them if they will take your health insurance. Ha! It’s all about the money. They do not care about your health and now is the time to stop all this nonsense once and for all.
    I have written Mr. Holder about legalization channels with NORML. I have proposed definite strategies for proper distribution and purity standards as well as F.D.A. oversight however nothing has been done. It’s all about the billions of dollars that the pharmaceutical corporations shove into the pockets of anyone who has any influence whatsoever. The alcohol industry is second to the lobbying effects big pharma. The only way that cannabis will become legalized is state by state as has been demonstrated… Colorado and Washington have legalized the sales of cannabis for public consumption to adults. This coming November, more states will have joined their efforts.
    Thank you,
    Simon Hardinsky
    Virginia NORML

  9. If alcohol, nicotine, sugar, and tobacco are not on the drug scheduling list, why should cannabis be included? We should be battling for complete removal of cannabis from the drug scheduling list.

  10. mark_lee481 BSHA on

    This seems to me a very wise approach. One uses a local “Home Rule” chapter of the law which allows the agenda to grow, and not risk the loss of federal operational monies. With the expected growth, just this year, it will be time to consider going with a state regulation, but do not lose heart if it grows from one city/township to another. We will reach the same ultimate goal. As a medical professional, with a good deal of expertise in pharmacology I see far more dangerous drugs in the Schedule V section of this law than cannabis. If we cheer too quickly at a medical judgment of schedule II, a class that includes cocaine, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines we may just as well admit to some danger as well as addiction/abuse. Schedule V includes a very mild form of opium for diarrhea, codeine cough syrups that are very mild in formulation, semi-stimulant Sudafed, and likely to join them soon is dextromethorphan the dissociative drug responsible for “robo-tripping.” Do you see what I am getting at? One may sign for each of these C-V drugs without a doctors visit. A C-II classification will give greater power to take away recreational use (I like to call it preventative use). Go to your doctor with a sprain and watch their reaction if you ask for Percocet (a C-II), you immediately are placed on a list of potential drug seekers and self-prescribers. So, to serve the most compassionately, we must battle for C-IV or C-V.

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