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Marijuana Majority? State and Local Laws Ease Access


The number of annual marijuana arrests have been setting all-time records lately. Sales and trafficking aside, there are more possession charges nationally than violent crimes combined. Maybe there are a lot more smokers than violent people, or it could be prosecuted disproportionately.

The latter explanation is the logic behind several state and local decisions to ease restrictions. On Tuesday, Michigan joined 12 other states that have legalized medical marijuana. Licensed dispensaries are not part of the law, so Michiganders will have to get themselves a good dealer.

Over in Massachusetts, marijuana is still illegal. But thanks to voters, possession of up to one ounce is no longer punishable by jail time. Instead, marijuana possession will be punishable with a citation, $100 fine, and confiscation of the drug — almost like getting a speeding ticket minus the license points! In both Massachusetts and Michigan, voters rejected widespread campaigns that argued easing marijuana laws would increase adolescent drug abuse, permit large-scale trafficking, endanger workplace safety, and sharply increase traffic fatalities.

To find out what local laws passed, read more.

Three promarijuana laws at local levels prevailed. Fayetteville, AR, voted to make minor offenses a low priority and Hawaii County decided to make marijuana its lowest priority. Berkeley, CA, where medical marijuana is already legal, put no limit on the amount a patient or dispensary can possess.

So that’s today in soft-core drugs! Do you think increasing access to marijuana for people who need it outweighs potential abuse of the laws? Are voters right to demand that marijuana possession go to the bottom of law enforcement priorities?

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