Another candidate for political office in Michigan comes out for marijuana law reform- and in a big way.
Rudy Serra is a candidate for the state House of Representatives and is running in a contentious race in Michigan's 27th District. A former judge with a history of experience looking at the drug war from the prohibition side of the argument, Serra has declared his support for the full legalization of marijuana- not just "decriminalization."
Serra made the statement in a letter sent to a constituent. Serra's candidacy is endorsed by the Michigan Justice Caucus, two former Governors and many others. Serra is not the only marijuana rights advocate in the race for the 27th District seat: Andrew Cissell, who successfully fought to legalize marijuana possession in the city of Ferndale in 2013 and is repeating that effort in Hazel Park and Oak Park this year, is also on the ticket for the August 5th Democratic primary election.
The 27th District includes portions of Oakland County, notorious in Michigan as the place most hostile towards medical marijuana patients, caregivers and businesses.
Serra's support of marijuana legalization may have brought him attention from the medical marijuana community, but another of his actions may endear him to those voters even more: calling for the ouster of marijuana's longtime foe, current Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Schuette fought against the adoption of Michigan's medical marijuana law in 2008 and has made eliminating medical marijuana distribution centers a focus of his tenure as A.G. He is famous for flip-flopping on the dispensary issue as he stated before the 2008 vote that the Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) would create a "pot shop on every corner" and then, once the measure passed with a 63% endorsement, declared that dispensaries were not allowed by the law after all. He sued a Lansing facility owner for giving away free joints- and lost, he joined with a Macomb County community to sue a dispensary as a nuisance and released confidential medical marijuana patient records to the DEA in an action that his predecessor deemed a violation of Michigan law.
Serra's website carries this post calling on Governor Snyder to remove A.G. Bill Schuette from his job- permanently:
Former Detroit Judge Rudy Serra, a leading advocate for marriage equality, is making an offer to Governor Snyder. Fire the Attorney General and Serra will litigate Michigan's Marriage Equality case for free. Serra would put the state on the same side as those who favor allowing same-sex marriage.
"Governor Snyder should show courage rather than caving to Tea Party bigotry. If the Attorney General insists on going rogue and arguing in favor of discrimination and inequality, Snyder should take him off the case and hire an outside attorney to represent the Governor's office and the people of Michigan. I support equality and justice. The Governor's office needs a lawyer who supports LGBT families. I would take on that project for free at no cost to the taxpayers." Michigan Marriage Challenge#MarriageEquality
That post is dated March 22, 2014, and contains a link to Serra's Michigan Marriage Challenge page on Facebook. His website, vote4rudyserra.com, carries other position statements supporting LGBT issues. At a recent candidate's forum in Oak Park, Serra said, "I am the only candidate in the race who is an attorney and who served on a public school board."
The following is a letter sent by candidate for Michigan House Rudy Serra to a potential constituent regarding his beliefs on the issue of marijuana law reform.
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