Government Ignores Voter Wishes To Reform Marijuana Possession Laws
Despite voter approval, the law change would be put on hold temporarily, if not permanently, following a restraining order against the city obtained by Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth.
But Forsyth claimed the amendment would be illegal by making the city cannabis possession laws more lenient than the rest of state, and would prevent police from reporting violations for possible prosecution under state or federal law, according to wzzm13.com.
"This ordinance is going to tie the hands of Grand Rapids police," Forsyth said. "It says officers can't contact the agencies responsible for enforcing state and federal law."
But with a growing number of police who support decriminalization and legalization, perhaps Forsyth should take into account the lightened loads of already overworked officers, and unnecessary expense of possession arrests.
Grand Rapids voters approved the city charter amendment decriminalizing marijuana by more than a 58% majority, and the mayor most city commissioners also supported it.
So despite voter wishes, does each city need to wait for the entire state to lighten possession laws before being able to make changes? Does this mean that votes have no value and the government, which is made for the people does not need to take into account what the people want?
But not everyone is fighting the amendment.
"I'm the legal advisor to the Grand Rapids city commission and they have spoken quite clearly," said Grand Rapids city attorney Catherine Mish. "They want to implement the will of the voters. The city will do everything it can within its legal power to implement this city charter amendment."
A hearing on the restraining order has been scheduled for Jan. 9.
In the mean time Commissioner James White warns residents to be cautious.
"This may go on for awhile," he said. "Whatever it is, be smart. It's up to you to make sure you live within the law. If the law says you can't walk around with marijuana, then don't do it. Be smart."
Article contributed by www.drugpossessionlaws.com