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Changes in Michigan City Marijuana Laws

November 6, 2012 Criminal Law and Procedure

In the November election several cities in Michigan voted to amend marijuana possession ordinances.

This does not mean that marijuana possession is now legal in these cities. People may still be charged and prosecuted under Michigan state law. Marijuana possession under state law is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year imprisonment, a $2,000 fine, or both.

It remains to be seen how police officials will react to the new laws in those cities.

In Detroit, persons 21 and older, who possess less than one ounce of marijuana, and are on private property, will be exempt from criminal prosecution.

In Flint, persons 19 and older, who possess less than one ounce of marijuana, and are on private property, will be exempt from criminal prosecution.

The city of Kalamazoo decriminalized possession. Previously, those arrested in Kalamazoo with marijuana were prosecuted under state law only. Under a new city ordinance, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine, 90 days in jail, or both, a punishment that is considerably less than the potential punishment under state law.  Marijuana possessors will not be arrested under the new ordinance, but rather will be issued an appearance ticket to show up for court.

The city of Ypsilanti voted to make marijuana possession by those 21 and older with less than one ounce to be the lowest priority of law enforcement personnel.

Grand Rapids also voted to amend the city ordinance to make marijuana possession a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor, but there is likely to be a challenge to the new law so what will happen remains to be seen.

Contact ArborYpsi Law at 734-883-9584 or at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com to speak with attorney Sam Bernstein.

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