Other officials said they back the proposal. City Commissioner Don Cooney called it a “statement that our drug laws are in serious need of revision.”
“I support the amendment even though it seems clear from the state attorney general’s ruling that it will have little practical effect on the way law enforcement is practiced here,” Cooney told the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Commission candidate Nicholas Wikar signed the coalition’s petition when it was circulating.
“With every municipal service contributing to Kalamazoo’s financial burden, the taxpayers and residents reserve the right to prioritize the deployment of municipal assets and Public Safety Officers for violent crimes and community policing,” he said.
Candidates Bobby Hopewell, Hannah McKinney, Antwon Hunter and Barbara Hamilton Miller told the newspaper they oppose the proposal. David Anderson declined to give a position, saying it would have no effect on police practices anyway.
Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley said the proposal wouldn’t affect policing because officers are required to enforce the law.
“The proposed charter amendment has no bearing or standing relative to the enforcement of state or federal law, which our officers have the full authority to enforce,” he said.
A misdemeanor charge of marijuana use is often secondary to what brings someone in contact with police, Hadley said.