Confusion on Decriminalization of Marijuana Vote

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LANSING (WILX)-- Is arresting someone who has one ounce of marijuana worth police officers' time?

People in in Lansing and Jackson will vote on whether to decriminalize pot, Tuesday. But even if it passes, will it really change how police do things?
Even Lansing's mayor Virg Bernero doesn't know yet what it will exactly change.

"I'm talking to the city attorney. Right now I don't know what happens when we take away one aspect if we're talking about three levels of law," said Bernero.

Under the ballots wording, possession of the drug under one ounce would be considered legal, as long as it's on private property. But Lansing P.D. might not have to abide by it if passed.

"Our local police officers are sworn to serve state law as well. I'm not in a position to order lansing police to not enforce state law, and I wouldn't do that," said Bernero.

But without knowing the extent the decriminalization would be if passed, Bernero is still supportive of the legalization of small amounts of Marijuana.

"The idea that we were going to win this war on marijuana from the beginning was faulty from the start. It doesn't hurt other people, it's an individual choice. I believe in education...and I support it because it has value symbolically," said Bernero.

The man who helped put it on the ballot, Jeffrey Hank agrees, but feels not only will this be a symbolic if passed, it'll pave the way for the rest of the state.

"This is an opportunity for Lansing voters to directly affect not only local, but state, and federal policy on this. Hopefully it will give an opportunity for change that we haven't had in decades," said Hank.


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