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If Grosse Pointe Park Chills Out on Pot Laws, It May Be High Time for a Change in State Laws

Taking Michigan’s cannabis debate to tony Grosse Pointe Park is “frankly, an experiment … because we’ve never taken on this economic and cultural demographic,” says retired exec bankrolling city-by-city campaign to decriminalize marijuana.

Supporters of marijuana decriminalization in Grosse Pointe Park say they’ve collected enough signatures to put the issue before voters in November. (Patch file photo)
Supporters of marijuana decriminalization in Grosse Pointe Park say they’ve collected enough signatures to put the issue before voters in November. (Patch file photo)

Backers of a ballot initiative to relax marijuana laws in Grosse Pointe Park have collected the necessary signatures to put the measure before voters in November.

Tom LaVinge, a 51-year-old lawyer who president of the Decriminalize Grosse Pointe Park Ballot Question Committee, told the Detroit Free Press, said the proposal “will reset police priorities to fight real crime.”

“A man’s home is his castle, and we all deserve the privacy to possess no more than one ounce for adult use only,” LaVinge, a lifelong Grosse Pointe Park resident, said.

The group collected about 600 signatures – dozens more than the 493 valid signatures needed – and it will take about a week to validate them.

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  • What are the arguments for and against decriminalization of marijuana laws that would allow adults to possess no more than one ounce for recreational purposes?

If that happens, Grosse Pointe Park will join about 18 other Michigan communities expected to vote on similar marijuana decriminalization initiatives this fall, including Berkley, Huntington Woods, Hazel Park, Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge.

Putting a marijuana initiative before voters in an affluent community is significant, pro-decriminalization advocate Tim Beck told the Detroit Free Press.

Beck, 62, a retired health insurance advocate, has bankrolled nine community reform efforts over the last few years, said the upcoming vote in Grosse Pointe Park “is an experiment … because we’ve never taken on this economic and cultural demographic before.”

The median income in the community of 12,000 that is $100,000, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

Voters in nine Michigan communities have already voted to decriminalize recreational cannabis, including Ferndale, where voters approved a ballot initiative by a two-to-one margin last November. “We’ve never lost,” Beck told the Metro Times earlier this year.

Beck, who said he wants pot smokers to be treated more like beer drinkers and less like criminals, told the Free Press earlier this year that a state law would be preferable to going community to community, but it’s politically unrealistic.

How Grosse Pointe Park votes could be a political tipping point. If voters approve decriminalization, it could signal to Republican leaders in Lansing, who control both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s mansion, that corporate executives and other professionals support more relaxed marijuana laws.

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GP For Life July 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM
Pot has always been easier to get a hold of for kids than booze. What I am worried about is how this would prevent us from keeping dirt weed peddlers off Mack.
Smarty McSmartypants July 20, 2014 at 08:45 PM
All laws like this do, is help to build a bureaucracy that could ensnare us all. ALWAYS VOTE LEFT - NO VICTIM - NO CRIME.

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