GR Marijuana Rule On Hold After Prosecutor Files Suit

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – The Kent County Prosecutor filed a lawsuit in Kent County Circuit Court challenging the legality of the  city charter amendment that decriminalized marijuana.

Grand Rapids voters approved the ballot proposal by over a 58% majority in November.

It changes the possession and use of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, like a parking ticket.

Prosecutor Bill Forsyth has been a longtime critic of the amendment and argues in the lawsuit that it conflicts with state law and makes it difficult for him and Grand Rapids police to do their jobs.

“Police officers are sworn to uphold the law. Officers who are sworn to uphold the law cannot be told that they will be breaking the law by upholding the law,” the suit states.

It gives several examples. In one of them, a police officer finds a subject in possession of a small amount of marijuana and placed that information a police report submitted to the prosecutor’s office in a request for a warrant saying that the subject was found with a small amount of pot.

“The officer would be committing a crime,” it states.

“Such an ordinance violates the laws of the State of Michigan and is unlawful.”

Grand Rapids was ready to implement the amendment on December 6, but that’s been put on hold pending the lawsuit.

“The prosecutor’s office also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order asking the Kent County Circuit Court to enter an injunction or order prohibiting Grand Rapids and the police department from going ahead to enforce or implement the charter,” explained Grand Rapids City Attorney Catherine Mish.

The voters have spoken and the city commission is committed to doing everything they can to implement the will of the voters, that’s why the city was poised to go ahead and implement the local civil infraction offense as of this Thursday, but of course the city will honor the court’s order,” said Mish.

Prosecutor Bill Forsyth has been a critic of the amendment from the start, saying it is too broad.

“There’s no age limit to it. So unlike alcohol, you can’t drink in theory until you’re 21. You can give marijuana, under this charter amendment to school kids, and you’ll only have committed a civil infraction,” said Forsyth.

More than 50,000 people in Grand Rapids supported the change. Michael Tuffelmire, Director of DecriminalizeGr  the citizen initiative that put Proposal 2 on the ballot in the first place got word of the lawsuit on Monday.

Yes, we engaged thousands of voters, educated them on how they felt and  the majority of public officials felt this was the right thing for the city,” said Tuffelmire.

“DecriminalizeGr was put together to pass Proposition 2 and we did so, I can’t comment any further on the lawsuit right now I can just say we are accessing our  next steps,” he said.

6 comments

  • Guest

    Follow the voters orders first and let the suit try to change it, it is not their business to obstruct the decision of the people. The people have spoken and their rules overrule anything, they are the rule makers. A service for the people should not be allowed to challenge the demands of lawfully voted resolutions, they are to implement the decision.

  • Gatewood

    Throw the rascals out. To serve and protect? Doesn’t look like it. Fire the prosecutor, or elect someone who will fire him.

  • malcolmkyle

    Prohibitionists like Forsyth are neither civil nor productive members of society, they are soulless parasites and inhuman, oppressive criminals from whom protection is required.

    Maybe many of the early Prohibitionists did not really intend to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide, or put 1 in every 30 American adults under supervision of the correctional system. But similar to our "Great Experiment" of the 1920s, the prohibition of various other drugs has once again spawned rampant off-the-scale criminality & corruption, a bust economy, mass unemployment, a mind-boggling incarceration rate, a civil war in Mexico, an un-winnable war in Afghanistan, and an even higher rate of drug-use (both legal & illegal) than in all other countries that have far more sensible policies.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
    —George Washington

    The morally & fiscally bankrupt policy of prohibition is a dire threat to the well-being of all of us —if you support it then you are "an enemy of the people" and should be dealt with as such.

  • love bug

    Like it or not, cops love having the pretext of “drug busts” to justify gearing-up like they are invading a small country, break down your door at some ungodly hour of the night, rushing into your home, roughing up you and your wife, scaring the crap out of your kids by waving guns in their faces, tearing apart your house, and making off with (confiscating) various items of value.

    And that is just what happens if you are unarmed, if you try to present the kind of response you would normally give a home invader, you will most likely GET SHOT by those given charge over “protecting” the public!

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