In Oakland County’s closely watched state House race, at least two of the five candidates in the Aug. 15 Democratic primary are advocating for the legalization of pot in Michigan.
One of them is Rudy Serra, a former judge who has key endorsements from former governors Jennifer Granholm and Jim Blanchard.
The other candidate, Andrew Cissell, is known almost exclusively for his pot advocacy. He helped spearhead the successful decriminalization of marijuana in Ferndale in 2013 and is leading two similar efforts in Oak Park and Hazel Park.
Cissell also faces a felony charge of selling marijuana.
Serra expressed his support for pot legalization in a letter to a constituent:
I am a former Judge on the 3rd busiest court in the U.S. and I have drug addiction and alcoholism issues on every branch of my family tree. Before I went to law school, I was licensed to practice Social Work. I also served as Chairman of the Executive Clemency Advisory Council of the State of Michigan, where I reviewed thousands of cases of people sentenced to life in prison for relatively small amounts of drugs. Based on my experience, my position is clear. I have stated it repeatedly.
I believe marijuana should be legal. I do NOT mean that I think it should be merely “decriminalized.”
City ordinances that try to set enforcement priorities don’t promote clarity. The resources would be spent better promoting candidates like me. The August 5th election in this district will probably decide who is the State Representative for the next 6 years. I believe I would be a far more credible spokesperson for the legalization position than any other candidate.
I also believe that science, and not superstition, should influence policy. Science says that drug addiction and alcoholism are diseases. We do not punish cancer or diarrhea. Punishing substance abuse makes no more sense than punishing diabetes. Treatment is needed. It is not being provided. Using jails is the most expensive and least effective way to deal with the problem.
By the way: I will consider supporting drug tests for recipients of public assistance when the requirement is extended to include every member of the judiciary, the legislature and the Executive branch of the state government.
If you agree with me – your endorsement and support would be appreciated.
Very truly yours,
The 27th District covers Berkley, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township.