Looking to Ann Arbor, Michigan to Decriminalize Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Have you heard that the state of Colorado has started to legalize the use of recreational marijuana?

Did you think Grand Rapids was the first city in Michigan to decriminalize pot?

Picture this, it was 1967 when Detroit’s very own poet and activist, John Sinclair, sold two joints to an undercover police officer. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Four years later, in 1971 there was a freedom rally held in Ann Arbor called John Sinclair Freedom Rally. It was held at the Crisler Arena.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Ann Arbor

This wasn’t just any freedom rally and it wasn’t a bunch of college students holding up picket signs. John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Bob Seger, and Stevie Wonder along with 15,000 people came together to call for the State of Michigan to set one man free. A recording of a song performed by John Lennon and Yono Ono can be listened to at Michigan Radio’s website.

That next year in 1972, Ann Arbor city leaders voted to decriminalize marijuana. It then became a $5 ticket for possession of two ounces or. Today, that ticket is $25, which is actually less then it was back in 1972 in terms of inflation.

Forty-one years later, the rest of the county is following Ann Arbors lead.

There has been so much confusion about the legalization of marijuana all around the county. In November, in Michigan alone, 4 cities voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. So, in Ann Arbor what law do the police follow? What law does the cities, the states, the country follow? Well, according to Michigan Radio, Kristen Larcom, Ann Arbor’s chief attorney, stated:

For Ann Arbor police officers, it seems, the charter is one of those things that sends a signal: Pot isn’t a big deal – you can deal with it if you see it, but you don’t have to actively pursue it. Ann Arbor police officer Lt. Rene Bush told me that they are not actively seeking people who smoke marijuana.“We use our discretion,” she said. “We deal with it if we see it.”

Ann Arbor police officer Lt, Rene Bush, was interviewed by Mark Brush, as reported in the Michigan Radio article. He stated:

If there’s a large amount of marijuana involved, Bush says the officer might start asking more questions. She couldn’t recall the last time there was a large marijuana bust in Ann Arbor. And, she says, in her experience, she hasn’t seen a lot of tickets given out for marijuana possession.”

With all the confusion, remember if you or someone you know has been charged with a marijuana crime make sure to have an experienced defense attorney by your side.