ALLEGAN, Mich. -- The people of Michigan voted to legalize recreational marijuana Tuesday night, and the passage of Proposal 1 has already affected at least one court case in West Michigan. A man facing six felony charges in Allegan County walked into court Wednesday morning to find out all of his charges have been dropped.
Christopher Martinez has been running medical marijuana dispensaries in Holland and Saugatuck for the past 8 years. After a raid at one of those facilities back in March he was charged with the felonies and was facing 15 years in prison. But Wednesday he found out those charges were all dismissed.
“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. She says your case has been dropped and I just started crying and it wasn’t sad tears it was happy tears," says Martinez, who owns 'PureWest Compassion Clinic' in Holland.
Martinez says he doesn't know the exact reason those recent charges were dropped but he credits the passing of Prop 1.
“I don’t think it’s by coincidence that I have court the day after," he said.
He was so excited he posted a video on Facebook about the dropped charges. Bruce Block, a marijuana law attorney, suspects prosecutors just were not interested in moving forward with Martinez's case in light of Prop. 1 and he hopes others will follow suit.
“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,'" says Block. "Whether that will happen is really a county by county inquiry.
Whatever the reason for the dismissal of his felony charges, Martinez is thankful they are a thing of the past.
“The medical marijuana community of West Michigan has been so supportive of me and what I’ve been trying to achieve and have been breaking the stigma,” says Martinez.
FOX 17 News reached out to the Allegan County prosecutor to ask exactly why Martinez's charges were dismissed but did not hear back. And while some prosecutors may choose not to continue with criminal charges like these, they still can if they choose to.