Ann Arbor voters approve medical marijuana measure

November 02, 2004

Associated Press, Detroit Free Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana for medical use, making it the second city in Michigan to do so.

Proposal C on Tuesday received 39,806 yes votes, or 74 percent, and 13,764 no votes, or 26 percent.

The vote changes the city charter, creating an exception to the marijuana ban for people who use the drug for medical treatment under a doctor's direction. But it has no effect on federal and state laws that allow prosecution of those possessing or using marijuana.

A similar measure passed in Detroit in August.

The backers of the two initiatives have said they plan to use these largely symbolic victories to push for a change in Michigan law.

Meanwhile, some Ann Arbor City Council members say the conflict with state law puts the city in a difficult situation.

In September, Gov. Jennifer Granholm sent a letter to the city saying she didn't approve of the proposed amendment.

The issue could end up in court where a judge could set aside the charter amendment, City Council Member Mike Reid, R-2nd Ward, told The Ann Arbor News.

Also Tuesday, voters in Montana approved a measure to allow medical marijuana use. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state earlier passed such laws.

Supporters of medical marijuana say it is inhumane to deny ill people a drug that eases their pain. Opponents say it sends the wrong message to young people about drug use and is part of a push for broader legalization of marijuana.

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