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Court: Pot Law Should Have Been On Detroit Ballot

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan appeals court says a judge illegally blocked Detroit voters from considering whether to ease penalties for possession of marijuana.

In a 2-1 decision, the court says the city clerk had a "clear legal duty" to put the question to a vote as long as enough petition signatures were submitted.

Detroit officials refused to put the proposed law on the 2010 ballot because they said it would conflict with state law. A judge backed them up.

Reads the opinion: "Plaintiff argues that, because its petitions had the required number of qualified signatures, this satisfied all the requirements of the laws governing initiative proposals and, therefore, the trial court erred in upholding defendants' decision not to place the proposed amendment on the ballot. Plaintiff also does not agree that the proposed amendment is contrary to state law." - View the complete opinion (.pdf format) -

The ballot proposal would have dropped penalties for people 21 or older who possess less than an ounce of marijuana on private property in Detroit. The appeals court acknowledged Friday that marijuana possession still would be illegal under Michigan law even if the Detroit ordinance passed.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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