Kent Co. Sheriff explains enforcement policy before Prop 1 goes into effect

KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- It's still illegal to posses marijuana in Michigan, even though Proposal 1 passed with a 56-44 percent vote in Tuesday's midterm.

Prop. 1 specifies that people 21 and older can legally possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana on their person, 10 ounces of marijuana in their home and grow up to 12 marijuana plants.

“There is not a gray area legally. It is either legal, or it is not legal. Just because this petition passed last night, again, there is a period of time that is necessary before it is in effect,” Kent County Sheriff Michelle Young said.

It's expected the proposal will be adapted to the state constitution by early December, 10 days after the election is certified.

In the meantime, officers are still able to make arrests for possession charges.

However, whether the prosecutor decides to pursue charges will vary county by county.

Christopher Martinez owns two dispensaries in Saugatuck and Holland. Martinez has been charged around 10 times since opening his business in 2010. The day after Election Day, he went to court for six felony marijuana charges out of Allegan County and got some surprising news.

“So I got to court and I tell the lady I’m here to check in and she says you’re not on the docket.” Purewest Compassion Clinic Founder Christopher Martinez said. “She says your case has been dropped and I just started crying and it wasn’t sad tears it was happy tears."

Martinez and a marijuana law attorney both agree, the timing was no coincidence.

“I would hope that we have a lot of enlightened prosecutors that would say 'You know what I think we ought to just dismiss these cases,'" Marijuana law attorney Bruce Block said. "Whether that will happen is really a county by county inquiry."

The Allegan County prosecutor hasn't gotten back to FOX 17 to explain the dropped charges, and if they have anything to do with the passing of Proposal 1.

Sheriff Young says it's best to err on the side of caution. Possession is the only thing outlined specifically in Proposal One.  Marijuana is still a federal offense, and the legal sale of recreational marijuana in Michigan isn't expected any time soon.

“That’s a process that hasn’t even been set up yet. And now it is something that now becomes a constitutional amendment, there has to be a rule setting process,” Sheriff Young said.

Young also adds she's most concerned about how the proposal will affect driving safety. Colorado has seen more than double the amount of traffic deaths from people while driving high since legalizing recreational marijuana five years ago.

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1 Comment

  • Cathy

    Not sure how this proposal is going to bring in revenue like they said with growing your own??? Persons driving under the influence that cause an accident wonder if their insurance will pay??? Or if their homeowners insurance will pay if they blow up their neighborhood???