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Michigan Court Of Appeals Hears Arguments On Local Marijuana Laws


Gavel marijuana miami prosecutorLawyers argued the legality of liberalizing marijuana laws on a local level in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

At issue is a 2012 Grand Rapids charter amendment that decriminalizes the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults 21 and over. The move changed those violations from a criminal act to a civil infraction, where offenders receive a ticket instead of a misdemeanor charge. Voters passed the measure by nearly 60% after a successful petition drive collected thousands of signatures from city residents.

Attorneys representing the city of Grand Rapids face off against the lawyers representing Kent County. County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth maintains that local communities can’t pass laws that would be contradictory to state law. Grand Rapids attorneys argues that cities do this all the time and the marijuana laws should not be held to a standard different than other aspects of local law enforcement.

Although four states and Washington, D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana by adults, it is still a crime to possess or use the medicinal herb in Michigan. The Medical Marihuana Program (MMP) gives privilege to 120,000 patients; 30,000 Michigan residents are registered to grow marijuana on behalf of those ill individuals.

In fact, Michigan towns have been liberalizing marijuana laws for dozens of years before the concept came to Forsyth’s county. Ann Arbor famously made possession of marijuana a ticketable civil offense decades ago, and the Grand Rapids ordinance language mimics that long-standing and still existing local variation from state law.

In the last decade Michigan communities have voted to liberalize cannabis laws 22 different times. Those variations range in character from: allowing dispensaries; making marijuana medical (prior to the 2008 statewide vote), instructing police that cannabis crimes should be their Lowest Law Enforcement Priority; decriminalizing marijuana; legalizing the possession, use, transfer and transportation of marijuana by adults.

During 2014, marijuana liberalization proposals were offered to voters in 13 cities. Eight of those cities approved the measures.

The Court of Appeals will deliver a decision in the case sometime in 2015.

Source: TheCompassionChronicles.Com


About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.


  1. LegalizeChad Ritter on

    you guys are dumb… the MMMA gives anyone with a DR recommendation able to use possess and manufacture marijuana for registered and unregistered patients… Read the ballot initiatives and stop siding with the crooked lawyers… ALL MMMJ IS LEGAL IF YOU HAVE A DR REC!!!! Why do MMMJ people refuse to assert their Sect 8 rights, because the DA’s have violated the citizens wishes criminally in a conspiracy…

  2. I live near Lansing but not in city limits. Lansing lower penalty marijauna law. My town has county jurisdiction which also is part of Lansing. If I have marijuana in my town and get caught with it I can get a higher penalty even though I am 5 min from Lansing.

  3. Since I live in MI. About an hour east of Grand Rapids I am always excited for marijuana news. About marijuana is supposed to be low priority some Michigan cops like to make there own rules. For example there. Was an officer who on his own got a medical marijuana card faking an illness, then finding a caretaker to supply him. He then arrested the caretaker for selling him marijuana. The point is the caretaker was doing everything correct and by the law and this cop still arrested him. Michigan marijuana laws are poor and they need improvement.

  4. “The Medical Marihuana Program (MMP) gives privilege to 120,000 patients; 30,000 Michigan residents are registered to grow marijuana on behalf of those ill individuals.”

    That’s a really good ratio of growers to patients. Can I assume that patients in Michigan have access to all the different strains they may need?

  5. Frequently it’s more to get their names in the News. Whether they win or loses getting your name out will acquire notice for future political advancement. They can always change positions or stances. Most election are won not always by who has the best reputation but frequently who is most well known. Being a household name gets votes.

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