Activists aim to decriminalize marijuana locally - WNEM TV 5

Activists aim to decriminalize marijuana locally

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Should recreational marijuana use be a crime? That's the question voters across the state could decide on this November.

Cannabis reform activists are pushing for ballot initiatives in 11 Michigan cities, including several right here in Mid-Michigan, to decriminalize the use or possession of small amounts of the drug.

Opponents say these local ordinances would still be trumped by state and federal laws.

"We're not for it or against it. As a sheriff, I'm not for a law and I'm not against a law. I let the people decide that," says Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel.

Michael Parks got busted for having marijuana. He says had this ordinance been in place it wouldn't have been a big deal.

"I would not be in trouble right now. I probably would have got just a ticket and been on my way, but I have two years of probation now and it's unfortunate really," says Parks.

With many states and municipalities legalizing small amounts of marijuana, the sheriff says that he's been in contact with those folks to find out how it's been going so far. And the sheriff reports so far so good. 

"The ones that I've talked to aren't facing to many issues. The biggest concern that I find with sheriffs across the country and states like Colorado are how do you determine when someone's impaired," says Federspiel.

The sheriff says the technology to determine that is available yet.

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