The Ypsilanti Lowest Law Enforcement Priority petition to make use or possession of small amounts of cannabis the least of concerns for Ypsilanti police has until early August to collect roughly 900 signatures from residents in the city of Ypsilanti.
The petition was started by Eastern Michigan University’s student organization, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, along with Chuck Ream, coordinator of the Safer Michigan Coalition, and Tim Beck, member of the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers last February.
If the petition reaches enough signatures, it will be on the November 6 presidential election ballot in Ypsilanti, and residents will be asked:
“Shall the Ypsilanti city charter be amended such that the use and/or consumption of one ounce or less of useable marijuana by adults 21 years or older is the lowest priority of law enforcement personnel?”
The petition in Ypsilanti is following the success of the petition started in Kalamazoo, which will be on the ballot in November. Detroit residents will also be seeing the LLEP on their ballots, due to a Supreme Court ruling. Petitions in Flint and Jackson have also been started, with nearly enough signatures in Flint. Ypsilanti and Jackson petitions are still in the signature gathering-stages, but coordinators aren’t giving up.
“We’re probably going to be coming down to the wire, in terms of getting these signatures in, but we’ve still got time,” said Beck, past executive director of the Michigan National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. Beck played a major role in starting the Medical Marihuana Program in Detroit, as well as in other Michigan cities.
In May, Ream donated a $1,000 check to the Ypsilanti LLEP campaign to help fund the petition.
“The funds are better spent on protecting safety and finding criminals,” he said. “Cannabis prohibition is about social control, and we’re trying to change that.”
Campaign manager for the Ypsilanti LLEP campaign and former EMU student-body president Antonio Cosme feels that the Ypsilanti community should have the right to determine how their tax dollars are spent.
“Progress must start somewhere; why not start in our own backyard?” Cosme said.
The EMU organization, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, supports the petition because it protects the responsible users of EMU and the local community, according to Miles Gerou, SSDP president and student at Eastern.
“The drug war is a failure,” he said. “This is not what we want our police to be doing.”