By Michael Komorn
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A proposed city charter amendment will go on November’s ballot despite objection from state authorities.
A Decriminalize GR group last month submitted enough signatures to put up for a public vote a plan to make marijuana possession and use a civil infraction punishable with a maximum fine of $100. Grand Rapids submitted the charter amendment for review by Attorney General Bill Schuette and Gov. Snyder.
Based on an opinion from Schuette’s office that some components of the Grand Rapids proposal conflict with state law, the governor’s office objects to the charter revision.
“We haven’t had a great deal of time to evaluate the attorney general’s substantive objections,” City Attorney Catherine Mish said. “It could, in theory, point out the possibility that the voters could pass a charter amendment that is ineffective in that it contradicts state law.
“All I know is I can accurately count to 100 and the attorney general cannot.”
Among the attorney general’s objections to the Grand Rapids proposal was that the ballot language exceeded a 100-word maximum. Mish said the attorney general’s office was including the “shall this proposal be approved” part of the language in the count, but Christopher M. Thomas, the state’s director of elections, wrote to Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake that those words should not be counted.
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