Marijuana legalization ballot campaign prepares for Saginaw kickoff – The Saginaw News

Marijuana ballot petitionOne of the ballot petitions being circulated by a group in Saginaw who hopes to ask city voters in November to insert new language into the City Charter that decriminalizes the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana.Mark Tower | MLive.com 

SAGINAW, MI — A group of pro-marijuana activists are circulating petitions in hopes of placing a citywide marijuana legalization measure on November’s ballot.

The campaign is one of a dozen marijuana legalization initiatives across the state expected to be placed on August or November ballots.

The local ballot campaigns are being organized by the Safer Michigan Coalition. In Saginaw, the effort is led by the Coalition for a Safer Saginaw group.

If placed on the ballot and ratified by voters, the measure would add a section to Saginaw’s City Charter stipulating that possession or use of a small amount of marijuana (less than one ounce) would be legal under local laws. It would not impact state and federal laws banning the sale, possession and use of marijuana.

The local legalization effort seeks only to protect those who are 21 or older, and would only apply to instances taking place on private property.

Cary Justice, who is spearheading the effort in Saginaw, gathered outside the Saginaw County Governmental Center with other volunteers on Tuesday, April 22, to collect signatures.

The following language is carried on the petitions being circulated by the group:

The the City Clerk of Saginaw: We, the undersigned qualified and registered electors, residents in the city of Saginaw, in the county of Saginaw, in the state of Michigan, respectively petition that the Charter of the City of Saginaw be amended by adding a new Section 24A, entitled “Marijuana,” to read “Nothing in the Code of Ordinances shall apply to the use, possession or transfer of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, on private property not used by the public, or transportation of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, by a person who was attained the age of 21 years.

The proposed amendment shall constitute one ballot question at the next regular election, and, as a ballot question, shall read as follows: “Charter of the City of Saginaw be amended by adding a new Section 24A, entitled “Marijuana,” to read “Nothing in the Code of Ordinances shall apply to the use, possession or transfer of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, on private property not used by the public, or transportation of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, by a person who was attained the age of 21 years”?”

The organizers plan to officially kick off the ballot campaign during an event scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, at Hoyt Library in Saginaw.

Justice said the group hopes to collect about 2,000 signatures in time to place a ballot proposal on the November ballot.

The deadline for those campaigning for local ballot questions to file petitions with the city clerk’s office is July 29.

Mount Pleasant and Clare are also among the communities with petition drives being organized by the Safer Michigan Coalition.

Mark Tower covers local government for MLive/The Saginaw News. Contact him at 989-284-4807, by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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