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November 19, 2012

By David Rudoi Esq.

On November 6 2012, the City of Detroit passed a ballot initiative known as Proposal M, which will basically nullify city ordinances which attempt to prosecute adults over the age of 21 who possess or use less than one ounce of marijuana. Many people believe this will make it legal to smoke marijuana in Detroit. However that is far from the truth. The Language of Proposal M reads:

 Shall Chapter 38, Offenses,

  • Miscellaneous Provisions,Article XL,Controlled Substances and Drug Paraphernalia, of the 1984 Detroit City Code be amended to exempt adults, 21 years of age or older, from criminal prosecution under the article for use or possession of less than one (1) ounce of marijuana on private property in the City of Detroit by adding the following section:
  • Sec. 38-11-50. Applicability.None of the provisions of this article shall apply to the use or possession of less than one (1) ounce of marijuana, on private property, by a person who has attained the age of 21 years.

Does this make it legal to smoke marijuana in Detroit?

The short answer is NO!

The problem with this ballot proposal is that police from both the Detroit Police Department and the Michigan State Police can still arrest and press charges for the possession or use of marijuana under state law. The City of Detroit will not have to spend to prosecute these offenses but the offender may face the same or similar penalties.

We will have to wait and see how the Detroit Police Department handles the issue when the ballot initiative becomes law in 2013. I recommend marijuana users act cautiously until it becomes clear how the Detroit Police will deal with the issue. It may still be just as risky to possess or use marijuana as it was before the passage of Proposal M.

If you are prosecuted for a marijuana offense Contact the experts at Rudoi Law today.