Michigan police departments concerned about possible impact of recreational marijuana

Voters to decide on recreational marijuana proposal in November


DETROIT – Are Michigan residents ready to approve recreational marijuana? They'll be asked to vote on the issue in November.

Polling suggests recreational marijuana is likely to pass, but multiple police departments in Metro Detroit are sharing data from Colorado that they want voters to examine.

Some communities, such as Monroe, are coming out and urging residents to vote against recreational marijuana, while others are holding town halls to talk it over.

There hasn't been a funded campaign for or against medical marijuana, but that could change as November draws near.

View special section: Marijuana in Michigan

Political experts look at ballot proposal numbers at this time to see whether they're polling at 60 percent. Recreational marijuana isn't quite at 60 percent, but it's close.

The Michigan Association of Police Chiefs sent out data from Colorado law enforcement to police departments across the state. They wanted all police chiefs to see the numbers, and they encouraged sharing it in their communities.

Shelby Township police put the entire report up on social media.

"Our job is to follow the law," Shelby Township police Chief Robert Shelide said. "We’re going to, regardless of what the law is. It’s what police do and what we will do in Shelby Township. But obviously, some of the things I’m very concerned about."

Shelide said the violent crime stats, accidents and youth usage in the 176-page report raised his eyebrows. The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force said all three have increased since recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado.

The group isn't neutral. It's part of a federal program aimed at combating drug trafficking, which has pro-marijuana groups calling foul on its findings and questioning its data usage.

If recreational marijuana passes, police officers said they will have new challenges to face.

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