In October, the East Lansing City Council passed an ordinance decriminalizing marijuana possession in a certain situation. This followed a vote by East Lansing residents in May 2015 that approved the Marijuana Decriminalization Charter Amendment. However, the new rule is relatively narrow, which may have left you confused. Like many others, you probably have questions after hearing the news. When can I carry marijuana in public? Can I smoke outside? Is marijuana no longer illegal in Michigan? Is this only for medical marijuana? All of these are crucial questions and the proper answers can help you enjoy marijuana while remaining well within the law and free of criminal charges.
If you have questions about marijuana decriminalization or you were arrested for possessing marijuana in East Lansing, contact an experienced East Lansing marijuana lawyer from DeBruin Law today at 517-324-4303. We will schedule you a free case consultation as soon as possible.
Understanding East Lansing Marijuana Decriminalization
The new rule regarding marijuana in East Lansing is specific. It does not make all marijuana possession legal. It simply states that one certain situation will not result in criminal charges. Under the city’s new code, it is no longer illegal to carry one ounce or less of marijuana while on private property if you are at least 21 years old. You must meet all of these factors to avoid a local citation or criminal offense:
- You are at least 21 years old
- You are on private property within East Lansing
- You have less than 1 ounce of marijuana in your possession
Punishments for Violating East Lansing Marijuana Law
If you are on public property or under 21 years old and found to have less than one ounce of marijuana in your possession, you face a civil infraction. A civil infraction means you violated a local ordinance. It is not a criminal offense under state law and does not result in a criminal record. If you plead or are found guilty of the infraction, you can be punished by a $25 fine, community service for up to 45 days, and substance abuse education or treatment.
When the police find more than one ounce of marijuana on your person, you can be charged with a misdemeanor crime. If convicted, you will have a criminal record and can be punished with a fine up to $25, community service for up to 90 days, and substance abuse education or treatment.
Also, if you are a Michigan State University student, you should be particularly careful about where you keep, bring, or use marijuana. The drug is still entirely prohibited on campus. If you live in any type of student housing, you should not have marijuana on campus. If MSU, East Lansing, or Michigan State police find you have marijuana while on campus, you can face both criminal charges and disciplinary action at school.
Michigan’s Marijuana Law
If you are a marijuana user in East Lansing, you must be well aware of your rights under local ordinances and of the risks of possessing or using marijuana under state law. East Lansing’s local ordinance differs from Michigan law. Within the state, it is illegal to possess recreational marijuana in any amount in any place. This means if the police find you with marijuana, even when you are well within your rights in East Lansing, you may still face criminal charges and have to go to court. For instance, if you are caught using marijuana, you can be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime, sentenced to jail for up to 90 days, and fined up to $100. Additionally, possession of any amount could be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail or a $2,000 fine. Possession of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a park could be charged as a felony, leading to up to 2 years in prison.
What You Should Do If You Have Been Charged
If the police ticketed you or charged you with a crime for marijuana possession, call Lansing marijuana lawyer Tiffany DeBruin immediately at 517-324-4303. Tiffany will analyze your situation to determine if you were following East Lansing’s ordinance. If you were within your right to have marijuana, she will fight to have the charges dropped. However, if the prosecutor lawfully charged you with a crime under Michigan law, Tiffany will aggressively defend you in court and seek to avoid the harsh consequences of a drug conviction.