Ann Arbor Area Community News
The Ann Arbor City Attorney, Stephen Postema, has declared that the medical marijuana measure which passed with a 74% majority is “invalid”, according to the Ann Arbor News, and Police Chief Dan Oates has instructed his officers to continue enforcing state and federal marijuana laws in the same manner as in the past.
From the Ann Arbor News, Medical marijuana vote called invalid:
In a 1977 decision involving a case in Ypsilanti, the state appeals court ruled that city officials weren’t prohibited from referring marijuana cases for prosecution under state law, despite a city ordinance that said they couldn’t refer such cases to the Washtenaw County prosecutor.
A response from initiative backer Chuck Ream suggests that, while the measure may not be enforceable, the overwhelming public support of the measure should be considered by the City and Police Department when deciding how to pursue enforcement of state and federal laws.
While Mayor Hieftje has stated that he’s personally in favor of the measure, the City Council has not yet taken a official position on the measure. Councilmembers Reid (R-2nd), Greden (D-3rd), Higgins (D-4th), and Woods (D-5th) voted against a procedural motion to put the measure on the ballot in July, after signatures had been collected. All are up for re-election in 2005, suggesting an avenue for encouraging the City to respect the referendum.
See also a response from Rich Birkett to the State Attorney General’s office regarding the enforceability of the initiative.
Edit, 5 Nov, Murph: The court case mentioned by City Attorney Postema is Joslin v. 14th District Judge, 76 Mich. App. 90. My reading suggests that this case only invalidates portions of the local ordinance forbidding the local police from applying state law, but upholds (explicitly) the portion of the ordinance defining lower local standards and allowing the police a choice between local and state law. Under this reading, the 74% approval of Ann Arbor’s ballot measure should definitely be taken as a directive, albeit non-binding, to the police department to apply the lower, local standards. Your choice of beverage from Cafe Ambrosia to the first lawyer or law student who can give a confident confirmation or rejection of my reading.
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