The City of Jackson recently became the latest Michigan city/urban area to adopt a local ordinance legalizing the use of marijuana and its possession, provided that the amount possessed does not exceed one ounce. Passage of these local ordinances will likely co-exist with the executive branches of each of the local governments, instructing their own police departments not to enforce the state laws (and federal laws) that continue to make both the use and possession of marijuana unlawful. In a previous blog, we noted that Michigan's Attorney General stated that he will ignore local ordinances and will continue to enforce existing state and federal laws. Historically, urban areas have generally been more liberal than small towns and rural areas. In Michigan, small towns and rural areas are generally policed by county sheriffs and, on occasion, by the Michigan State Police. It should be clear to all that a county sheriff, state police officer or any police department in a jurisdiction that has not adopted a legalization ordinance, will most certainly charge and prosecute marijuana use and possession. People in cities where marijuana is legalized should be careful when moving the marijuana through an area where they could be arrested and prosecuted, unless they have a medical marijuana card and are acting within the limits of Michigan's medical marijuana laws relative to the method of transport and the amount being transported. Even in cities where marijuana possession and use is legalized, recreational users should be cautioned to not share their marijuana with others or to make arrangements for such sharing with groups or at parties. Sharing of marijuana, i.e. passing a marijuana cigarette from one person to another, creates a chain by which each individual could be charged and found guilty of delivery of marijuana. An agreement to get together and share each other's various types of marijuana could also be charged locally as a conspiracy to deliver marijuana. Both of these are felony charges and could lead to imprisonment.
If you are being investigated or are arrested by law enforcement in connection with your recreational use or possession of marijuana, you need a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced and ready to act aggressively on your behalf.