3 Michigan cities may consider marijuana decriminalization in November

Following the lead of some cities in Michigan - including Kalamazoo - three additional cities in the state are looking to change the way marijuana possession is handled. Activists hope that decriminalization measures will appear on the ballot in Lansing, Ferndale and Jackson during the upcoming election.

Efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession have become common not only in cities across Michigan, but in states across the country as well. Nevertheless, Michigan has yet to adopt legislation that would decriminalize marijuana for all residents of the state.

Consequently, it is important for Michiganders to be aware of the consequences for possessing marijuana, particularly as additional city ordinances may be adopted in the near future.

Be familiar with marijuana possession laws in Michigan

The laws dealing with marijuana possession can be difficult to determine in Michigan, as some cities have chosen to treat possession in different ways from the state law.

In general, possession of any quantity of marijuana in Michigan can lead to misdemeanor charges. The penalties for a conviction can include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The penalties can be more severe if the individual is charged with possession in a park, in which case the individual may be incarcerated for up to two years.

While the state law technically applies to all Michigan residents, some cities have adopted measures to treat marijuana possession differently. For instance, in Kalamazoo, the city commission adopted an ordinance last year that changes the penalties for marijuana possession.

Pursuant to the ordinance in Kalamazoo, those who are charged with marijuana possession receive an appearance ticket, rather than being placed under arrest. In addition, the penalties are reduced for a marijuana possession conviction. Under the Kalamazoo ordinance, a conviction for possessing marijuana can lead to up to 93 days in jail and a maximum fine of $100. In addition, possession of one ounce of marijuana or less by an adult in Kalamazoo is considered an offense of the lowest priority for Kalamazoo police officers.

Other cities in Michigan have adopted similar measures, including Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint and Ypsilanti. While law enforcement officers could still choose to arrest individuals for marijuana possession, it is thought they will be less likely to do so once decriminalization ordinances have been passed.

If you are facing charges of marijuana possession in Michigan, you should be proactive to fight the charges. Seeking the counsel of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will ensure a strong defense is established on your behalf.