G.R voters decriminalize pot, what now?

5:56 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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Items seized in illegal medical marijuana bust. (Courtesy: Van Buren County Sheriff's Department)

GRAND RAPIDS, (WZZM) -- The proposal to decriminalize marijuana in the city of Grand Rapids passed by more than 13,000 votes.

Michael Tuffelmire, with Decriminalize GR says, heavy sentences for petty pot amounts hurts younger generations and takes officers' focus away from real crimes.

Tuffelmire says, "We also understand there are pressing issues of bigger crimes in this city, in a time of dwindling resources we need to redirect those resources as best as possible." 

Grand Rapids Police say they'll continue to enforce the state law until the city attorney tells them otherwise. The city attorney says they're waiting for the board of canvassers to certify the election results.

Attorney Devin Schindler with Cooley Law School says the new ordinance could cause confusion because pot is still illegal to sell and grow. Plus, residents could find themselves in hot water with other agencies. 

Schindler says, "If a state police officer walks by whoever, they can arrest you for a felony. If an FBI agent walks by you can get a federal felony charge."

Plus, Schindler says the state may not be on board with the city's decision.

Schindler says, "Our Attorney General Bill Schuette said that this initiative, before it became adopted, conflicts with state law. So it may be challenged eventually and found that it's in conflict with state law."

Under the new ordinance, if a police officer writes you a ticket for having marijuana they can't let other police agencies know.

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