It’s winter time and the warm smell of roasting chestnuts lingers in the air. But that may not be the only scent wafting around the streets of Detroit ever since the election last Tuesday.
Proposal M won overwhelmingly with 65% of the vote, now making those who are 21 and up legally allowed to possess an ounce or less of marijuana within the city limits of Detroit. Although concerns and questions have been raised about what will happen on the state and federal level where, marijuana is still considered an illegal drug.
One thing does remain certain though: Detroit police can focus on bigger problems at hand rather than caught up in the minute and almost trivial act of writing someone up for possession.
“I truly believe that the city will not use its resources to prosecute small time marijuana users. There is no upside,” says Tim Beck, chair of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit. Beck, along with other community activists, supported the proposal because they believed Detroit was ultimately wasting time, money, and the already too few many policemen that could be needed for more urgent matters.
When asked about why he voted for Proposal M, one Wayne State student replied, “Of course I voted for it. I live in Detroit-I need something to calm my paranoia down that I am going to be shot and mugged at any given second.”
Detroit is not alone, however. Similar proposals went through in Flint, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and-on a broader scale- Colorado and Washington as well.
Because marijuana is still illegal statewide, officers still have the ability to conduct searches and charge individuals on the state level. It is far too early to tell what will happen when local laws, state laws, and federal laws clash over what to do with individuals found with possession of marijuana at any weight level.
The recent changes though in many different locales does indicate that many American’s are changing their attitudes when it comes to Marijuana; now downgrading it from an important political issue into one that many people now view as semantics and not worthy of too much care.
Either way, those in possession and recreational users of marijuana can sleep- and walk the streets- a little easier at night.