Local Depenalization Measures Win Big On Election Day

In addition to the historic Election Day votes in Colorado and Washington, voters in several cities in Massachusetts and Michigan also decided overwhelmingly in favor of ending marijuana prohibition.

Massachusetts voters in over 40 municipalities — representing approximately one-fifth of the electorate — voted in favor of local (non-binding) public policy questions in favor of ending the criminalization of cannabis for adults. A complete tally of these public policy questions and results is available here. (Voters in Burlington, Vermont also passed a similar non-binding legalization measure.)

In Michigan, voters in four cities – totaling over a million people – also decided on Election Day to legalize or depenalize the adult use of cannabis. Sixty-five percent of voters in Detroit approved Proposal M, removing local criminal penalties pertaining to the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults over age 21. In Flint, voters approved a citizens’ initiative to amend the city code so that the possession on private property of up to one ounce of marijuana or cannabis paraphernalia by those age 19 or older is no longer a criminal offense. Grand Rapids voters approved Proposal 2 to allow local law enforcement the discretion to ticket first-time marijuana offenders with a civil citation, punishable by a $25 fine and no criminal record. Finally, in Ypsilanti, 74 percent of voters decided in favor of a municipal proposal that makes the local enforcement of marijuana possession offenses the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.

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