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Wednesday, December 4, 2013


By: Chuck Ream

On Nov. 5, 2013 Michigan activists gave voters the chance to drive three big nails into the closing coffin of cannabis prohibition. In Lansing, our state capitol, nearly 63% of voters support the legalization of an ounce of marijuana on private property. That is a clear mandate for the State legislature in Lansing to pass HB 4623 (Decriminalization) and HB 4721, (the “Provisioning  Center” bill).
Jackson, Michigan is a “conservative” town, but they voted for legal marijuana with 61% in favor. Ferndale Michigan is a “liberal” town where nearly 70 % of voters said yes to our proposal.
For a couple of weeks in November our Michigan victories were the biggest thing in the national marijuana movement.
Allen St. Pierre, director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), saw the Michigan victories and said that we are moving on “greased tracks” toward legalization. “I absolutely pinch myself every single day, affirming that these changes are happening and they appear long-lasting,” he said.
The municipal votes may seem like small potatoes, but St. Pierre said that 2013 isn’t just an off-year for elections; it’s an “off-off-year.” In Michigan we kept our momentum rolling like a freight train!
 Observers see the huge Michigan wins and know that we did them on a shoestring. There was no cash for a campaign, and no opposition. We proved that voters don’t support cannabis prohibition! Political professionals across the nation study these Michigan contests.  They see from our” landslide” local victories that the trend toward cannabis freedom can’t be stopped.
 From the 11/7/2013 New York Times:
Chuck Ream, co-founder of the Safer Michigan Coalition, which has pushed for legalization for years, said he was struck by how easily the local ordinances passed.  "They were all landslides," Mr.  Ream said. 

He said advocates had gained momentum to push for a proposal pending in Michigan's statehouse that would make it a misdemeanor to possess small amounts of marijuana.  "We certainly hope that the Legislature will act immediately to pass the decriminalization law for the entire state of Michigan, now that they see that voters absolutely don't support prohibition any longer," he said.
Tim Beck, during an appearance on the Michigan Public Radio show "Off the Record", said that it was time to pass statewide decriminalization, "Like 17 other states have done, including Ohio.” Beck said. "It's the equivalent of a traffic ticket in Ohio -- a $100 fine. That should be very simple,” "And there's huge public support, as demonstrated in all of these elections that we've had."
Citywide campaigns need serious and dedicated local leaders, and in 2013 our movement was extremely well served by Jeff Hank in Lansing, Steve Sharp and Roger Maufort in Jackson, and Andrew Cissell in Ferndale. Ben Horner (publisher of MMMReport) provided HUGE assistance in Lansing and Ferndale.  Congratulations gentlemen! (After turning in his petitions Andrew was followed by cops in fascist Oakland County and busted hard for growing the medicine – that’ s free speech in Oakland County).
Some cities respect their voters; other cities mock our efforts. Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette said he will ignore the new ordinances.
Lansing Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar said that the initiative was merely a “feel-good” question on the ballot that “means nothing.” “Passage of this is not going to impact anything”.
(Flint police announced they will ignore their voters, while the Grand Rapids city council is going ahead with an Ann Arbor type system [a small fine]).
We are thrilled that the Jackson City council is turning the Nov. 5 2013 decision by the voters into law immediately!  The city code of Jackson will be changed to read "none of the provisions of this division shall apply to the use, possession or transfer of less than 1 ounce of marijuana on private property by a person who has attained the age of 21 years."
Jackson activist Maufort said “We need police to focus on taking care of the real issues facing residents.”

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