Ferndale voters could decide on marijuana decriminalization

Ferndale voters could decide on marijuana decriminalization

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Marijuana Marijuana

Marijuana has already been decriminalized in cities like Detroit and Ann Arbor, and the Coalition for a Safer Michigan is trying to put the issue on the ballot in Jackson, Lansing and Ferndale.

"We do not have the police resources to pursue something that shouldn't even be a crime in the first place," said Tim Beck with the coalition.

"17 states across this country all have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. They're the equivalent of a traffic ticket."

25-year-old Andrew Cissell is leading the charge in Ferndale.

"We needed 364 good signatures," he said. "We got a total of 600."

When it comes to his reason for getting involved, Cissell has no problem being blunt.

"I'm running for state representative in 2014," he said. "I think marijuana's the gateway to peace. I don't think it's the gateway to violence or any other drug usage."

What Cissell sees as peace could lead to some serious heat. If the issue ends up on the ballot and voters approve it, Ferndale will be the first city in Oakland County to decriminalize marijuana. Sheriff Mike Bouchard has been a strong opponent of issues like marijuana dispensaries in the community.

Former Ferndale mayor and Oakland County Commissioner Craig Covey said he does not think that opposition will go away, but that won't stop this effort.

"I don't think the sheriff will like it, but city after city's going to do it, and at some point marijuana is going to become decriminalized for all adults," he said.

We have not yet heard from the sheriff on this issue.

Meanwhile, supporters in Ferndale and Jackson will turn in their petitions at 10 a.m. Tuesday. It will most likely happen in Lansing later this week.

If approved, the issue will be on the ballot in November.

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