Thursday, August 28, 2014

Marijuana decriminalization targeted in suburb

Marijuana decriminalization targeted for ballot in Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Park
Posted on July 14, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on July 14, 2014 at 6:40 a.m.

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. (AP) — Supporters of marijuana decriminalization see the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Park as a possible tipping point in the debate over the drug in Michigan.

Safer Michigan Coalition, a Detroit-based nonprofit coordinating petition drives around Michigan, collected hundreds of signatures Grosse Pointe Park to get a proposal on the November ballot. As many as 18 other Michigan communities could see votes this year.

Coalition co-founder Tim Beck noted to the Detroit Free Press ( ) that Grosse Pointe Park is relatively affluent and conservative.

“Frankly, Grosse Pointe Park is an experiment with us because we’ve never taken on this economic and cultural demographic before,” said Beck, 62, a retired health insurance executive who said he has spent $150,000 to bankroll many of the marijuana votes.

The ballot question would amend the Grosse Pointe Park city charter, stripping it of its current ban on using marijuana for any reason.

The effort, however, has received some resistance from city officials.

“It’s unfortunate that our community has been targeted as a test case for this ballot proposal,” said City Councilwoman Laurie Arora. “As a councilwoman, mother and resident, this is not what I want our community to be known for.”

Since 2010, voters have passed ballot proposals to ease marijuana laws in nine communities across the state, including Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing last year. Voters in Hazel Park and Oak Park are expected to take up the issue Aug. 5. Other votes are expected Nov. 4.

On her way into the library, Tricia Hexter, 40, of Grosse Pointe Park said she planned to “listen to both sides” before voting on the issue in her community. She signed the petition because “it’s important that everybody has a voice,” Hexter said.

Information from: Detroit Free Press,

 FILE - In this March 14, 2014, file photo, Rosa Parks' Presidential Medal of Freedom, left, and her Congressional Gold Medal are displayed at Guernsey's auction house, in New York. Hundreds of items that belonged to civil rights icon Rosa Parks that have been sitting unseen for years in a New York warehouse have been sold to a foundation run by the son of billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett, the younger Buffett said Thursday, Aug. 28. Howard G. Buffett told The Associated Press that his foundation plans to give the items, which include Parks’ Presidential Medal of Freedom, to an institute he hasn’t yet selected. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Updated at 7:30 p.m.
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