Traverse City, MI Marijuana Decriminalization

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Traverse City, MI, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 12/5/94

Source File: (Missing)


December 6, The Record Eagle reported:

City Commissioners will ask the state Legislature to make it legal for cities to decriminalize the use of small amounts of marijuana.

Commissioners passed a resolution... addressing the issue of William Bustance, president of the Traverse City chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. In the summer, Bustance and other members of NORML had circulated petitions asking the commission to put the question of decriminalizing the use of less than an ounce of marijuana to a public vote. On advice of city attorney W. Peter Doren, commissioners took no action on the petitions, even though enough signatures had been collected to place the issue on the Nov. 8 ballot. Doren advised commissioners that it would be illegal for them to enact a law contrary to state law. State law prohibits cities from decriminalizing controlled substances, including marijuana.

This legal quandary led the Traverse City to pass a resolution stating in part: A Resolution Memorializing The Governor And The Legislature Of The State Of Michigan To Remedy State Policies In which Inhibit And Prevent Local Governments In Creating Ordinances That Make Small Amounts Of Marijuana A Civil Infraction

[The bill which prohibits cities from invoking Home Rule privileges regarding controlled substances] ... has created a inequity in the Home Rule Act by allowing the City of Ann Arbor to keep in their charter a civil infraction law for small amounts of marijuana and by not permitting the citizens of Traverse City the opportunity to place a similar ordinance on the ballot before the voters [emphasis added].

[Ibid.] ... has created the threat and expense of litigation to the City of Traverse City ... The National Drug Control Strategy calls for the empowerment of communities however, the very spirit of the community is threatened by the [prohibiting state law], that denied ballot access to a Certified Initiatory Petition in Traverse City [emphasis added].

The Commission resolved to "memorialize the State of Michigan and it's officials ... to investigate and hold public hearings into state policies which prohibits placing a [certified petition] on the ballot that would make a civil infraction for small amounts of marijuana ..."

[For more information on the Traverse City initiative to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, contact William Bustance of Traverse City NORML, 616-264-9565.]