A lot has changed in the wake of Michigan’s legalization of recreational marijuana. Before our law changed, recreational marijuana use may have been grounds for losing your kids to CPS. However, now Children’s Protective Services is required to adjust their policies in favor of a more lenient view that aligns with Michigan’s current marijuana laws. The same goes for interactions with the police. Where before an officer who smelled marijuana could have used that as probable cause for searching a home or car without a warrant, now they have to find other possible criminal activity to justify searches.
All in all, it’s going to be very interesting to see how this marijuana law’s ripple effects changes the way so many aspects of our state operates in the future. However, none of those changes help the people who were convicted of weed-related crimes before it was legalized. So what can we do about the many, many people currently serving time in Michigan’s jails and prisons for activities that are no longer illegal? State Senator Sylvia Santana may just have the answer.
Senate Bills 262 – 265 would erase a lot of pot-related felony records.
After recreational marijuana was legalized, a number of prosecutors in different counties around Michigan dropped the misdemeanor weed cases that they were pursuing at the time. After all, why waste time prosecuting people for something that isn’t even illegal anymore? (Although it was illegal at the time the crimes were committed!) Surely county prosecutors have bigger fish to fry, don’t they?
In most cases, yes. However, ‘bigger fish’ often means felony cases, and Senator Santana believes that in some instances, even those charges should be dropped or dismissed. There are currently about 217 active felony probationers with marijuana charges, and almost 1,200 people on probation from marijuana charges. All in all, the numbers are not very high, which is why the Senator thinks her proposed legislation will work well – it doesn’t affect that many people in the big picture.
There are not that many people in jail right now for pot
According to Senator Santana, it’s time to stop prosecuting people for crimes that aren’t crimes anymore in Michigan! “The public has decided that legalization of marijuana in the state of Michigan is something that they supported,” Santana explained. “Because marijuana is now legalized, then those individuals should not have to be in prison for those particular issues.”
Senate Bills 262-265 aim to help people facing possession related felony charges. However the bills only cover those charged with possessing or using marijuana, not those charged with selling, or intent to sell. Also, the bills come with qualifying factors that mean they won’t work for everyone incarcerated or on probation for marijuana related crimes. For example, the proposed laws would only apply to:
- non-violent offenders,
- people who haven’t violated the conditions of their probation or parole, and
- People who have already paid off their court-ordered restitutions.
Changing laws mean you need creative and aggressive defense lawyers!
Marijuana may be legal in Michigan, but it’s illegal according to federal law. And if you’re arrested by the feds, then it makes no difference what state law says – you’re still facing prison time in a federal prison. In which case, you’re going to need help from an experienced drug crime defense attorney who can represent you in both state and federal courts around Michigan. That’s exactly what our top criminal defense attorneys do.
Whether you were arrested in Lansing, Brighton, Ann Arbor, Ionia or the Grand Rapids area, federal court is no joke. And drug charges are incredibly serious, especially at a federal level. So don’t leave your future in the hands of an attorney who doesn’t have a long track record of success. Call 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and protect your rights, and your freedom. We’re available 24/7 to help.