November 2014 election results in Michigan, and across the country have again demonstrated that our society is increasingly supporting pro marijuana legislation. Voters in the cities of Berkley and Huntington Woods easily passed a ballot initiative to amend their city charters to allow for persons over the age of 21 years old to possess, use and transfer an ounce or less of marijuana. Similar marijuana decriminalization charter amendments were passed in Mt. Pleasant, Saginaw and Port Huron.
The resident voters in the city of Pleasant Ridge passed a proposal to make marijuana possession a low priority for law enforcement. I wonder how that will be placed in practical effect. if a Pleasant Ridge police officer pulls someone over and finds a small amount of marijuana, will they let the offender go? Will they overlook driving under the influence of marijuana and to what degree? If they chose to prosecute a possession of marijuana case, will the city attorney be more lenient with a plea offer? Will the judges in Oak Park, who preside over Pleasant Ridge cases be more lenient on a sentence of a marijuana offender? Just like with marijuana legislation, the answers to these questions are of interest and will take time to develop and evolve.
Nationally, Oregon became the third state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana use and distribution along with Washington and Colorado. Alaska and Washington D.C are not far behind as they will legalize marijuana soon. Clearly there is a trend in marijuana legalization. As more cities and states continue the trend, and the federal government continues to have a policy not to interfere with state marijuana legislation, the marijuana industry will continue to flourish and develop. Marijuana related industries including growing equipment, and marijuana potency testing companies and dispensaries will be mainstream. States and cities will reap significant tax revenues to fund which should lead to more social programs and initiatives.
In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Less than 20 years later there are over 20 states that have passed statewide medical marijuana legislation. I predict one day, in the not to distant future, in most places across the country, marijuana use and distribution will be as common and legal as alcohol and tobacco.