Local amendment passes

Marijuana now decriminalized in Port Huron
Paul Porter
Business Editor

On Nov. 4 of this year, the city of Port Huron voted on a proposed amendment to the City Charter. The amendment would allow persons 21 years of age or older to possess and use marijuana on private property, and/or transport no more than one ounce. The initiative barely passed with a vote of 3,393 for yes, to 3,192 for no. The new ordinance will only touch persons within the city.
Users beware; this ordinance is limited in scope as it is only effects the city of Port Huron. Marijuana is still illegal without the proper paperwork (medical card), in the eyes of state and federal laws. State laws trump local laws, and federal laws trump state laws. So, the power of this amendment is not as powerful as it may seem. A state police officer or federal official who happen to come across a person in possession will still punish the individual according to state or federal law respectively.
Given the limited nature of the amendment, it is wiser to see the amendment as an activist step rather than a practical change in policy. In that light, cannabis activists should rejoice at the passage of the amendment as it reveals the changing attitude of the general public towards marijuana. The trend appears to be one of acceptance or at least tolerance, possibly due to the increased general knowledge of the effects of marijuana.
As myths surrounding marijuana are dispelled, people have become more open to the idea of its use. Port Huron is not the only city in which proposals for the decriminalization of marijuana were presented and passed.
Six other Michigan cities followed suit including Saginaw, Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Ridge, Huntington Woods, and Berkley. Tim Beck of the Safer Michigan Coalition assisted in the organization of the initiative to get signatures for the ballots.
While Marijuana is still illegal, residents of Port Huron who also happen to take part in cannabis smoking can rest easy, as long as he/she is in his/her own home.

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