File image of marijuana from the Associated Press.
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The Kent County Prosecutor has issued a statement against a Grand Rapids ballot proposal that would decriminalize marijuana by amending the city charter. The ballot proposal seeks to make pot possession a civil, not a criminal infraction.
William Forsyth issued the statement Thursday morning.
In the statement, Forsyth says that the Grand Rapids proposal is too broad and has no restrictions regarding age, no restrictions on the amount of marijuana in possession and makes no distinction of private and public property. The prosecutor says that if the proposal were to pass, "a person could arguably possess pounds of marijuana and be subject to only a civil infraction." He also states that it "would only be a civil infraction to 'give' marijuana to a minor."
Forsyth also states that the proposal would prevent the Grand Rapids Police Department from doing its job. The use, possession, delivery and manufacture of marijuana is a violation of state and federal law and GRPD could not bring complaints about marijuana possession to anyone except the Grand Rapids City Attorney and not the Kent County Prosecutor or the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Forsyth goes on to say the plan allows juveniles to use the drug and has no limits on how much one could possess. "This one I felt obligated to do it because it's so overboard, so overreaches and tries to tie the hands of the police department in such a way I don't think it should or can I felt obligated to say something about it."
Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, former mayor John Logie, and City Commissioners Rosalynn Bliss, James White, and Ruth Kelly have all come out in support of the proposal.