Medical marijuana legalized in Michigan
Michigan residents suffering from an array of chronic conditions, from cancer to AIDS to Alzheimer's, will now be able to seek relief from medical marijuana.
State voters on Tuesday approved a measure to legalize medicinal use of the plan. Michigan is the first state in the Midwest and the 13th nationwide to legalize medical marijuana.
"This is a victory for the patients and their stories resonated with voters," Dianne Byrum, spokeswoman for Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, told the Detroit News. "The scare tactics from the opposition were over the top and not believable."
Proponents of the measure say medical marijuana will be able to help up to 50,000 residents ease their suffering. It was subjected to expected opposition from law enforcement organizations.
Nearly two-thirds of Michigan voters supported the measure, which was one of nearly a dozen Marijuana reform initiatives on ballots across the country.
Massachusetts voters decriminalize marijuanaMassachusetts voters have approved Question 2, which eliminated criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis.
The new law, which will take effect in 30 days, calls for a $100 fine and confiscation of the substance for those caught with an ounce or less with no reporting against a person's criminal record. Those under 18 caught with cannabis will pay a larger fine, up to $1,000, and participate in a drug awareness program and perform community service.
Governor Patrick, the attorney general and district attorneys across the state were among opponents of the initiative, saying that decriminalization would promote drug use, cause a rise in violence and workplace safety hazards, and increase the number of car accidents and youths driving under the influence.
"The people were ahead of the politicians on this issue," said Whitney Taylor, chairwoman of the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy. "They want to focus our limited law enforcement resources on serious and violent crimes. They recognize under the new law that the punishment will fit the offense."
More pro-pot measures approvedAccording to the Marijuana Policy Project, local initiatives in California, Arkansas and Hawaii also passed.
Voters in Berkeley voted to expand areas where medical marijuana distributors could operate. In Fayetteville, Ark., and Hawaii County, Hawaii, voters told police to make marijuana possession their lowest priority.
In several Massachusetts cities, voters directed their state representatives to vote in favor of medical marijuana legislation.