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Should Grand Rapids Decriminalize Marijuana? [Poll]

Facebook/decriminalizegr

On September 14, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, along with other current and former city leaders, gathered together to show their support for Grand Rapids’ Proposal 2.

Proposal 2 would decriminalize the use and possession of marijuana in Grand Rapids.

There are also many who don’t support the proposal, including Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk.

The proposal would change the use and possession of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction.  The first violation would result in a $25 ticket, the second, a $50 ticket, and the third and each violation after would result in a $100 ticket.  If it can be proven that the use and/or possession is for medical treatment, then the fine will be waived.

Here is the proposal as it will appear on the ballot in Grand Rapids:

PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO TITLE XVIII (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) OF THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS, CONCERNING THE DECRIMINILIZATION OF MARIJUANA.
A proposal to decriminalize possession, control, use of gift of marijuana, through a Charter amendment prohibiting police from reporting same to law enforcement authorities other than the City Attorney; prohibiting the City Attorney from referring same to other law enforcement authorities for prosecution; prohibiting City prosecution except as civil infractions enforced by appearance tickets with a maximum fine of $100.00 and no incarceration; waiving fines if a physician, practitioner or other qualified health professional recommends the defendant use marijuana; and providing an affirmative defense to prosecution for defendants intending to use marijuana to relieve pain, disability, or discomfort.
Shall this amendment be adopted?

Former Grand Rapids Mayor John Logie joined current Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell to show support for the proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Grand Rapids.

WZZM reports:

“Gathering around this issue today is simply another example of Grand Rapids perhaps leading the way, but taking risks to getting something done,” said John Logie, the city’s mayor from 1992-2003, and chairman of the Decriminalize G.R. campaign.

He noted how the city enacted a needle exchange program and a drug court during his tenure.   “It’s time, ladies and gentlemen to make another step,” Logie said at a morning news conference.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk disagrees:

Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belk says the proposal would be harmful and would likely increase costs for this department.   Belk told reporters Friday:”I’m confident we’ll see an increased use in people driving under the influence of marijuana – as a result of that we’ll see an increased number of crashes involving injury and death…I don’t think it’s going to be a good thing for our young people – I think it’s going to be more difficult for them to get employment – they will fail drug tests, their lives are going to be more difficult.”

State Representative Brandon Dillon offers another opinion:

“I think this is a common sense proposal that will not only save the city of Grand Rapids precious law enforcement resources, but will also help save the lives and futures of young people across this city who are currently having their futures ruined by petty marijuana possession charges.”

DecriminalizeGR is the organization responsible for getting the proposal placed on the ballot in Grand Rapids.  Visit DecriminalizeGR’s website for more information on the organization and to view the complete language of the law.

As of today, there appears to be no group which has organized in opposition to the proposal.

Users of marijuana would still receive a civil infraction under the proposal.  The proposal doesn’t make use or possession legal, but reduces the penalty to better reflect the severity of the crime.

Thanks to Mayor Heartwell and other city leaders for having the courage to come out in support of this controversial proposal which deserves passage.

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