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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kent County Prosecutor Challenges Grand Rapids Pot Ordinance

Modeling their voter initiative on the ordinance that has been on the books in Ann Arbor for the past 35-years, Grand Rapids took a stab at de-criminalizing marijuana use and possession.  "Not so fast ...", said the Kent County Prosecutor, William Forsyth, and the GRPD.

Pot lobbyists were successful in Grand Rapids last November getting a pot de-criminalization initiative passed.  Promulgation of the city ordinance, however, has been complicated and now, litigated.

The Kent County Prosecutor claims that the ordinance cannot interfere with a state law, and has requested an injunction from a Kent County Circuit Judge.  The prosecutor's argument is that Grand Rapids cannot turn a state law into a civil infraction.

The Grand Rapids City Attorney and a lawyer for Decriminalize GR, the local pot lobby, assert that the voters passed a legal charter amendment which should now apply to those present within the city limits; just like the Ann Arbor, MI ordinance.  The Michigan Constitution, the City Attorney's argument goes, provides citizens with the authority to decide such issues by voter initiative.

The ordinance injunction issue is currently pending with Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan.  Whoever winds-up on the short end of his opinion will no doubt appeal the decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

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