DecriminalizeGR Challenges ‘Misleading’ Claims Made By Forsyth and Belk | News
DecriminalizeGR, the citizen group sponsoring City Prop 2 that would decriminalize the simple use and possession of marijuana in Grand Rapids, is calling into question the recent claims made by Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Belk and Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth. DCGR solidly rejects Forsyth and Belk’s mischaracterizations of the proposal and asserts that GR Proposal 2 will save taxpayer dollars and keep our kids out of jail.
“We are profoundly disappointed to see Chief Belk and Mr. Forsyth oppose a proposal that would positively impact the very neighborhoods in which they serve,” said Michael Tuffelmire, DCGR’s Campaign Director. “They have used scare tactics to completely mischaracterize a sensible, smart policy that has been tested over forty years. As a combat veteran I intimately understand the need for smart ordinances and we see this a way to realign police resources that benefit the officers on the street and allow them to focus on more urgent crimes.”
DCGR asserts the following regarding City Prop 2:
- Time Tested: Ann Arbor passed a near identical law in 1974. DCGR veered more conservatively to eliminatesale from Ann Arbor’s ordinance, feeling it wasn’t the right step for Grand Rapids and would still allow the City to prosecute intent to sell cases.
- Quantity: The claim that someone could possess any amount of marijuana and only receive a fine is simply untrue. The intent to sell marijuana is a significantly different and obvious case compared that of personal use. If and when an officer and the City attorney feel an individual is intending to sell, under this policy they will maintain the authority to refer such cases to Kent County Prosecutor, as they do now. Amount is one element of an intent sell case, amongst other circumstances such as time, place, and packaging. This policy will provide the flexibility to handle personal use cases in a smarter, more cost effective way, while maintaining the felony system for drug dealers.
- Increase in Abuse and Drug Related Crime: Time and time again, peer reviewed, scholarly journals have consistently noted that smarter drug policies do not increase crime and abuse. In addition, nicotine and alcohol are just as addictive and perfectly legal, let alone decriminalized. Again, DCGR points to Ann Arbor as a case example that such policies are a smarter way. A full selection of scholarly journals outlining such claims can be found here.
- Potential Savings of $2.5 Million: DCGR has outlined its methodology in generating the figure of $2.5 million in taxpayer saving that this proposal would provide. In the Chief’s claims that such numbers are incorrect, he has yet to supply the community with alternative figures. If the Chief wants to continue to reject the campaign’s assertions, then he should provide numbers to prove his point.
- Driving Under the Influence: Driving under the influence of any mood altering substance will still be illegal, including marijuana. This campaign does not condone driving under the influence of any substance, such as alcohol, prescription drugs, nor marijuana.
DecriminalizeGR is urging voters to adopt this historic initiative by flipping the ballot and voting YES on GR City Prop 2 to save taxpayer dollars and keep kids out of jail. For more information about the campaign, please visit www.decriminalizegr.org.