Proposal 1, a measure that legalizes marijuana for those 21-and-up became official Thursday, Dec. 6.
But even though the law is in place, how to prosecute cases dealing with it are still a bit of a mystery.
“Compared to other new laws when they pass, this has been both difficult and challenging,” said Mark Gaertner, Saginaw County’s Chief Assistant Prosecutor.
“We’re in a holding pattern. We’re waiting to see what the new Attorney General’s directions are going to be. We’re waiting to see how other county prosecutors react to it. Especially the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan.”
For now, Gaertner said his office will take a case-by-case approach.
Meanwhile, Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Albosta wants to remind people who use marijuana that their rights are limited under the new law.
“It’s not a free for all at this time. There are still some parameters that people will have to follow,” Albosta said.
You can’t smoke marijuana in public. You can’t drive with it. You can’t sell it. Many apartment complexes won’t allow it. Universities and public schools prohibit it on their property. Employers can still ban it in the workplace.
And if you want to purchase a gun, Albosta said you won’t be able to if you use marijuana.
That’s because the drug is still illegal under federal law.
“It’s still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. So, you would be ineligible purchasing a firearm if you were using marijuana as well.”
Gaertner said more meetings with fellow prosecutors and heads of police agencies will happen in the coming days.
All in an effort to make sure the letter of the law is followed in the Proposal 1 era.
“The people have spoken in November. It is the law and we’ll just have to rise to the occasion and do what’s right,” Gaertner said.