Pro-marijuana activists hope to get initiatives on future ballot - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Pro-marijuana activists hope to get initiatives on future ballots

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(04/03/14) - Pro-marijuana activists want Michigan voters, in several counties, to decide whether to legalize small amounts of the drug for personal use.

Those supporters include people from Saginaw, Mount Pleasant and Lapeer.

If the effort goes as planned, voters in 11 cities will be able to decide the issue later this year.

Marsha Frish, a long-time Saginaw resident, isn't happy to learn her town could be on the front lines in the ongoing battle to legalize marijuana.

"I really don't think it's the best solution," she said. "I'm well aware when the cocaine and stuff started coming into Michigan how nobody thought that would be a big deal and now it's a tremendous problem, and the marijuana, it's not good, people will try to sell it and get younger people on it. I'm not for it at all."

Voters in Lansing, Jackson and Ferndale approved similar proposals last year. In those towns, adults with less than an ounce of marijuana on private property are not subject to arrest.

"People's lives are being ruined constantly, not by marijuana, but by the law prohibiting marijuana, and tax dollars are being wasted. Jobs could be created," said Brandon McQueen, with the Coalition for Safer Mount Pleasant.

The Safer Michigan Coalition is spearheading the effort. The group's co-founder says signatures are being collected in nearly a dozen Michigan cities overall.

Activists hope to get some of those initiatives on August primary ballots. Others could be decided in the November general election.

"Where people sell marijuana, they sell other things. This is not the cure," Frish said.

"It will lesson the amount of money law enforcement wasted policing marijuana," McQueen said.

There's no word yet on how many signatures are needed in Saginaw, but in Mt. Pleasant, about 700 have to be validated in order move this issue forward.

The Michigan Attorney General's office says, "expanding sales will undermine public safety and put more drugs in the hands of kids."

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