by The Schwartz Criminal Defense Firm
On November 6, 2012, several Michigan cities voted to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana. Among them were Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint. Ypsilanti voted to lower drug enforcement policies of its police department. Kalamazoo voted to increase regulation of marijuana dispensaries.
In all the cities the proposed measures were handily passed and this has been viewed as the beginning of a long battle for total legalization for Michigan and the entire United States. Colorado and Washington passed legislation making it legal to use pot for recreational and medicinal purposes. The public view is that smoking pot is just as much a personal choice as drinking alcoholic beverages.
Additionally, proponents point to its medicinal benefits to people suffering from arthritis, chronic pain, glaucoma, cancer, AIDS, migraines and Crohn’s disease. It can also help patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Proponents also are quick to point out that studies have shown that marijuana use for medicinal purposes is safe and non-addictive, compared to Vicodin or Oxycontin.
With voters voicing their feelings in the election, law enforcement officers and the various agencies are now faced with a dilemma. Do they continue to focus on arresting citizens for marijuana possession or not? According to various law enforcement agencies, none have admitted to telling their officers to ease up on marijuana arrests. The Illinois State Police has issued a statement saying that regardless of the will of voters, you will be arrested if you are caught with pot, charged with misdemeanor possession and face up to a year in jail. Flint says it is going to continue to enforce the law just like it has been in the past.
The Detroit Police Department has yet to address a specific policy with regard to the voters’ decision to decriminalize marijuana. Neither has the Wayne State University Police Department or the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. Some of the most adamant opposition to easing up on marijuana arrests and honoring the decision of voters is coming from Detroit City Council members.
The bottom line is that although the voters in various cities in Illinois approve of marijuana, its use for recreational and medicinal purposes, and want it legalized, law enforcement agencies are having a difficult time accepting it. Consequently, some are going to look the other way in situations involving personal marijuana use and others are going to continue to bust people, regardless of what voters’ say. So the answer is, yes you can still get busted even though cannabis was legalized in some cities and the vast majority of the public feels it should be.
If you or some family member is facing marijuana possession charges or some other drug charges, it would be best for you to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling drug cases.
Attorney Steven L. Schwartz, at the Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz, has followed in the footsteps of his father, his uncle and his grandfather, who was a criminal defense attorney in Detroit for more than 50 years. He has also practiced law as a criminal defense attorney for more than two decades and has a sterling reputation in the legal community.