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Order against marijuana amendment lifted

8:27 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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File image of marijuana from the Associated Press.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM/AP) -- A judge won't stop a new Grand Rapids law that makes small amounts of marijuana possession a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor crime.

Kent County Judge Paul Sullivan declined to order an injunction Wednesday. But he cautioned that a challenge to the law still remains pending.

Grand Rapids residents in November voted to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil infraction. The group that got the issue on the ballot was happy with the judges decision. 

Michael Tuffelmire, former Director of DeCriminalizeGR says, "Yes, we're happy. This was a lot of hard work. The majority of people voted for this in the city. They want their vote to county.  Now they get to see that."

County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth is challenging the amendment to the Grand Rapids City Charter, saying it would prohibit police from enforcing state law regarding illegal marijuana possession.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell issued the following statement Wednesday:

At the November 6, 2012 election, City of Grand Rapids voters overwhelmingly approved a voter-initiated City Charter Amendment decriminalizing marijuana, by over a 58% majority vote. The City Charter Amendment decriminalizes marijuana by creating a local civil infraction offense.

On November 30, 2012, the Kent County Prosecutor filed a lawsuit against the City of Grand Rapids, challenging the local City Charter amendment concerning marijuana. On December 4, 2012, the Circuit Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order which prohibited the City from beginning to implement the City Charter Amendment. The Temporary Restraining Order was in effect while the Circuit Court considered the Kent County Prosecutor's motion for a preliminary injunction.

Today, the Kent County Circuit Court issued a decision denying the motion for a preliminary injunction. The City of Grand Rapids is currently reviewing the decision issued by the Circuit Court and will communicate to City residents and staff concerning next steps.

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