Portage voters OK marijuana amendment

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**Correction: As the result of a technical problem, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the amendment failed by five votes. The measure actually passed by 139 votes. 24 Hour News 8 regrets the error.

PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Voters in Portage approved a proposal to legalize small amounts of marijuana on Tuesday.

The marijuana charter amendment in that city passed with 5,500 voting yes and 5,361 voting no.

The amendment changes the Portage City Charter to prevent the city from passing any ordinance that applies to the use, possession or transfer of less than one ounce of marijuana on private property or transportation of less than one ounce of marijuana by anyone 21 or older.

The measure is mostly symbolic; marijuana for recreational use is still illegal under state and federal law, so police can arrest people in Portage found with marijuana.

However, supporters previously told 24 Hour News 8 that in communities with a similar policy, officers make fewer marijuana-related arrests.

The Portage proposal is significantly different than Grand Rapids’ marijuana ordinance; that 2012 voter-approved amendment makes possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense similar to a traffic ticket, rather than a crime.

24 Hour News 8 is covering all angles of Decision 2015; get complete election results here for your desktop or mobile device.

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