Attorney: GR Marijuana Ordinance Could Take Effect Soon

Posted at 7:26 PM, Jan 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-23 19:56:07-05

KENT COUNTY, Mich.–The initiative to decriminalize marijuana in Grand Rapids passed by 58 percent of the vote in the November election.

The Kent County Prosecutor objected to it for several reasons. So he filed to put in place a preliminary injunction that blocked the ordinance from taking effect.

Today, a judge ended that preliminary injunction, and issued his opinion on the matter.

In December, prosecutor Bill Forsyth stated that he felt the ordinance’s language was too broad and doesn’t have clear cut restrictions.

His office also says the city law conflicts with state law. State law makes illegal marijuana possession a criminal offense. The new city ordinance makes it a civil infraction.

According to court documents, Forsyth is concerned the ordinance would prohibit officers from reporting cases of illegal possession to any other authority outside of the city attorney’s office.

To that, the judge quoted state law which says the county prosecutor cannot speak on the police department or city’s behalf because the county prosecutor doesn’t represent the city.

In December, the city manager issued a set of rules saying anyone with 2.5 ounces or more of marijuana would still be reported to the county prosecutor’s office.

Also, anyone caught with marijuana during the act of another crime such as a robbery would also be reported.

“DC GR has not taken a position one way or the other on those rules, but we’ve always been able to work well with the city and to resolve any differences through discussion and cooperation,” Jack Hoffman said. Hoffman represents Decriminalize Grand Rapids, which pushed the initiative.

“So our position has always been let’s deal with, get rid of this lawsuit… well first, make sure the preliminary injunction is not granted so that’s been accomplished. Next step, get the case dismissed,” he added.

The Kent County prosecutor declined to comment since the lawsuit is still pending.