On Monday, Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope received an approximate total of 6,400 signatures that were collected by the Coalition for a Safer Lansing for its marijuana legalization initiative. City Clerk Swope stated that the measure appears to satisfy legal requirements for placement on the November ballot.
Also on Monday, Lansing’s Mayor Virg Bernero publicized his consent for said ballot initiative which would not only revise the city charter, but would also legalize the possession, consumption and transference of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older.
The mayor’s complete issued statement: “It is not surprising that this proposal to legalize small quantities of marijuana has garnered enough signatures to be put to a vote of the citizens of Lansing this fall. The public is far ahead of most politicians on this issue, as evidenced by the overwhelming support for medical marijuana when it was on the statewide ballot several years ago, as well as the decriminalization of small quantities of marijuana in cities like Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids. It is just a matter of time before other cities, including Lansing, either follow suit or go one step further, as this proposal would do. My personal view is that marijuana prohibition has been a complete failure that has mainly succeeded in filling up our prisons with minor drug offenders at an extremely high cost to the taxpayers of this state. Our police officers and courts have more important things to do than pursue and prosecute these violations.”
Mayor Bernero has openly endorsed medical marijuana in the past, and earlier this year he engaged his administration to begin studying marijuana decriminalization for Lansing in the vein of Grand Rapids.
The Lansing initiative differs from that of Grand Rapids’ recent decriminalization, which made possession a civil infraction punishable by a fine. As we mentioned before, under Lansing’s proposal, possession, consumption and transference of up to an ounce of marijuana by individuals that are a minimum of 21 years old on private property would be permissible.
Editorial note: This article originally published on The 42o Times on August 6, 2013