GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The new marijuana law voters approved in November is now in effect, at least for the time being.
The amendment made certain marijuana crimes punishable with a ticket rather than a state misdemeanor or criminal charge.
Under the city manager’s direction, the law went into effect in Grand Rapids, lessening the penalty for those caught with less than 2.5 ounces of pot.
Grand Rapids Police were issuing citation tickets under the new rules Wednesday.
The Grand Rapids City Commission voted earlier in the week to implement the law at midnight, Wednesday.
That decision was made despite the fact that a lawsuit has been filed by the Kent County Prosecutor which is still challenging the legality of the law altogether.
Police said they underwent training on the changes in ticketing prior to taking the new law to the streets.
Sergeant Michael Maycroft says it’s not so different from what police were doing before, except the penalties associated with the tickets have changed.
For those possessing less than 2.5 ounces, the first citation is a $25 offense, the second is a $50 offense and the third, $100.
Two officers we talked to Wednesday had issued two of the citations after pulling motorists over for other violations and finding the drugs.
They want to stress that even though the law lessens the penalty’s for some personal users of the drug, it is still not legal and a ticket will be issued.
Meanwhile, a judge is still deciding on the lawsuit filed by the Kent County Prosecutor which challenges the legality of the law.
City Attorney Catherine Mish said a hearing took place in court last week.
At that time, the judge predicted that he would issue an opinion on whether or not the charter will stand in about two weeks.