Following the legalization of recreational marijuana, it appears some criminal cases are being dismissed locally.

In November, Michigan became the 10th state in the country - and the first in the Midwest - to legalize recreational marijuana use. The law officially took effect December 6th. Since that time, some prosecutors have begun to quietly dismiss certain marijuana-related criminal charges that no longer apply, such as use or possession. In Livingston County, Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt tells WHMI generally, cases charging possession of marijuana that are open and have not yet been adjudicated are being dismissed. He says the new law is not retroactive and so dismissal is not required, but under the circumstances this is an appropriate way to handle those cases. Vailliencourt says to the extent that there are violations of the new law that are civil infractions, local law enforcement will be handling those situations consistent with the new law. For conduct that continues to be criminal under the new law, he says they will review the circumstances of those cases and determine if prosecution is appropriate. Vailliencourt says while the new law generally allows a person to possess marijuana or share it with someone else, it does not change the law prohibiting the sale of marijuana or possession of marijuana by a person over age 21 on school property.

Meanwhile, there is no process established yet for businesses to apply to open marijuana facilities and the state needs to set guidelines and rules for issuing licenses. Many local municipalities have elected to “opt out” of allowing facilities until the state develops implementation rules. The state has until December 6th of 2019 to do just that. If nothing happens, then local jurisdictions will have control over regulations. (JM)