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Detroit voters passed a contentious proposal to partially decriminalize marijuana at the polls Tuesday, but it’s uncertain whether city residents will legally be passing much more than that any time soon. 65 percent of voters supported Prop M and 35 percent opposed it, according to the city’s unofficial election results.
The ballot measure amends a 1984 Detroit city ordinance so that it exempts adults over the age of 21 from being prosecuted for the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana on private property.
However, it is unknown how the measure will be be enforced.
In June, former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee — who resigned last month after a sex scandal — said even if the measure passed the department might continue to enforce existing state and federal laws outlawing marijuana possession. Ahead of the election, Detroit police had no comment on how the proposal would affect policing in the city.
“The Detroit Police Department is aware of this proposal, and will be ready to address this ordinance, if it should pass,” spokeswoman Sgt. Eren L. Stephens, previously told The Huffington Post. The DPD did not have any comment early Wednesday afternoon.
Prop M was backed by a group called Coalition for a Safer Detroit, which argued the measure would encourage Detroit’s financially-strapped police department to focus on more serious crimes.
It took nearly two years for the proposal to appear before voters.
Detroit City Council wouldn’t consider the issue when it was brought before them in 2010, on the grounds that the measure conflicted with state law. Following the advice of the city’s Law Department, the Detroit Election Commission later voted 3-0 to block the referendum. It became the subject of a lengthy court battle before finally being certified for Tuesday’s ballot.