Ferndale, other cities pass marijuana legalization acts

Last week several cities in Michigan passed laws legalizing the possession of cannabis.

Ferndale voters passed a referendum that legalized marijuana possession in the city limits.

The referendum was passed by 69.26 percent, with 2,332 votes for yes against the 1,035 votes for no.

Lansing and Jackson voters also passed similar proposals last week. In Lansing, the vote was passed by 61.6 percent and in Jackson, the vote passed by 60.99 percent.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the proposals passed will allow people 21 years of age and over to carry up to one ounce of marijuana on their private property or person.

John Davis, Membership Director for Michigan National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (MINORML), said they expected the initiative to pass in all three cities.

“The latest polling data in Michigan, funded by MINORML, shows only 21 percent of the State thinks we should continue to make criminals out of responsible adult cannabis consumers,” Davis said. “70 percent want cannabis laws reformed either with decriminalization or legalization.”

Davis said more Michigan cities will be putting cannabis reform on their ballots soon and MINORML expects those to pass as well.

If marijuana becomes fully legalized in Michigan, something to consider would be what effect it would have on student use.

According to the National College Health Assessment from Fall 2012, OU students ranked lower in use than the national average.

Roughly 10.5 percent of OU students reported using marijuana within the last 30 days, compared to the national average at 15.3 percent.

Across the board, college students perceived marijuana use among peers to be much higher than this average.

Students perceived 80.1 percent of students had used marijuana within the last 30 days.

Alex Conforte, senior, said he thinks marijuana legalization could have both negative and positive effects.

“If it was legal, there might be less criminal activity involving the drug. However, it is still a drug that provides the user with a high,” Conforte said.

Conforte said the gray areas, like regulating the growth of marijuana, must be straightened out or legalization will continue to be a controversial issue.

Davis said that if marijuana were legalized, it could be produced and marketed by Michigan farmers. Many local farmers struggle in today’s economy.

“The purpose behind the fight is simple. Prohibition doesn’t work,” Davis said. “It has been a dismal failure that is more about racism and feeding the school to prison pipeline than it was ever about protecting public safety.

 “It has done far more harm than marijuana ever could. It is time to stop making criminals out of responsible adult cannabis consumers.”