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In a Sign of Strong Community Support, DecriminalizeGR Turns in More Than 10,000 Signatures to Place Initiative on the City of Grand Rapids November Ballot




Grand Rapids MI - The grass-roots, citizen-led DecriminalizeGR (DCGR) effort  turned in more than 10,226 signatures to the City of Grand Rapids Clerk supporting a City Charter amendment to decriminalize the personal use and possession of marijuana today. Since the launch of the effort in March 2012, the volunteers and staff have gathered significantly more than the 6,562 signatures required to place the initiative on the November 2012 Ballot. The Clerk will have forty-five days to verify the signatures and place the initiative on the ballot.

“We’re thrilled to have such a high level of support across the city for this common sense initiative,” said Michael Tuffelmire, DCGR Director. “This policy change will save the taxpayers millions of dollars and help stop young people in our city from needlessly going to jail because of an archaic law. This is definitely the smarter way.”

Decriminalizing marijuana will move an offense from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, resulting in a ticket and fine. Proponents estimate that decriminalization will save taxpayers $2.5 million a year, and will allow already scarce police resources to be refocused on more serious crimes. This policy will lower the arrest rate amongst the city’s youth. Currently, a marijuana offense has the potential of preventing a young person from federal loans and grants for college, and can often ruin employment opportunities. In addition, current laws target minority populations as arrest rates for personal marijuana possession amongst African Americans significantly higher than that of Caucasians.

“We look forward to working with the City Clerk in the coming weeks and educating the citizens of Grand Rapids on the benefits of decriminalizing marijuana,” said Tyler Nickerson, DCGR’s Political Director. “With our city’s resources already very stressed, this policy must evolve to allow time and energy to be put toward far more important things like serious crimes, crumbling streets, and strengthening our schools.”

The effort has been endorsed by Former Mayor John Logie, Grand Rapids City Commissioner Jim White, GRPS School Board Members Tony Baker, Wendy Falb, Raynard Ross, County Commissioners Jim Talen, Dick Bulkowski, Candace Chivas, Candidate David Bulkowski, and the list continues to grow.

For more information please contact the campaign or visit DCGR’s website at

CONTACT: Tyler Nickerson 616.405.7110Michael Tuffelmire  616.589.6776
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