Ballot Language On The Decriminalization of Marijuana Approved In Grand Rapids
Last week, Decriminalize GR (a pro marijuana advocate) submitted a petition to the City Clerk's office with over 10,000 signatures, which was verified by the office on Monday, asking for the city to decriminalize marijuana. The news means that this coming November, "Decriminalization" will be on the ballot and voted on by the citizens here in Grand Rapids.
MLive.com reports that if approved by vote this November, the law would make possession and use of marijuana a civil infraction that would be enforced with a ticket. The law would not allow the Grand Rapids Police Department from referring violations for criminal prosecution under the current state law. Some speculate that this could lead to very little or no enforcment at all when it comes to the possession of marijuana.
The City Commission has no legal standing to take the proposed amendment off the ballot, and instead was simply asked to approve ballot language written up by City Attorney Catherine Mish. The actual language of the proposal would read as such:
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.
This will be a heavily discussed topic in all circles throughout Grand Rapids for the coming weeks leading up to election day, what are your thoughts on the proposed amendment? Share below.