Schuette gets cheesy
AG would define law so narrowly you'd need a foot in the grave to qualify
Published: August 24, 2011
It's far-fetched, but these are volatile times. Anything could happen.
The legal challenge brought by the Coalition for a Safer Detroit against the Detroit Election Commission moved along recently with final oral arguments to the state appeals court. In a nutshell, the CSD is the organization behind the petition drive to put on the ballot the decriminalization of possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana by an adult on private property in Detroit. The Election Commission refused to put the question on last year's ballot, claiming the proposal ran counter to state law. CSD challenged the Election Commission. A lower court sided with the commission against the CSD appeal. On Aug. 10, the final stage of oral arguments in the appeal took place before Judges Henry Saad, Elizabeth Gleicher and Jane Markey. They could rule on the case at any time now.
The basic question is whether a municipality can have a statute that runs counter to state law. If the court rules that it can't, there are implications across the state for municipalities that already have them. For instance, Detroit has a needle exchange program on the books (although it's unfunded and not operational) that is illegal under state law.
"One way or the other, the implications are stunning," says Tim Beck, who is also part of the CSD. "This is turning out to be a bigger deal than I ever thought."
If the court rules for the CSD, Detroiters could see it on the ballot as soon as this November. That is, if the state allows the proposed city charter to be voted on in this election cycle. That is questionable because the governor and attorney general have objections to several provisions in the proposed charter.
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