By Charles Sercombe
Now that it appears the sale of medical marijuana is a dead issue in Hamtramck, what should we expect when the recreational use of pot becomes legal?
Likely more of the same.
Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved the use of marijuana for adults 21 years and older.
That will become effective starting Dec. 6.
But the issue of how marijuana can be commercially sold is still being worked out by state legislators and the governor. It is expected to take several months for them to figure out how to license outlets.
One thing is certain, local communities will be able to opt out of allowing sales, just like they currently can for medical marijuana.
Judging by the outpouring of opposition to medical marijuana being sold here, Hamtramck will likely not be in the sales business.
In the recent November General Election voters here rejected the state proposal to allow the use of recreational marijuana by about 500 votes.
About 100 people, mostly from the Yemeni and Bengali communities, jammed a town hall meeting and city council meetings to pressure the council recently to reject the sale of medical marijuana.
The council bowed to the pressure and withdrew consideration of ordinances regulating the sales and growing facilities to operate here.
But, locally, marijuana users can still partake.
The new state law allows those 21 and older to possess no more than 2.5 ounces on their person, and keep up to 10 ounces at home.
You can also grow up to 12 marijuana plants at home for personal use.
But you can’t smoke it in public and obviously can’t drive while under the influence.
While it’s now legal to use pot under state law, the federal government still considers it illegal and attorneys with the Justice Department in Michigan say they will still prosecute marijuana crimes.
For those who are now in prison for pot possession, newly-elected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she will consider offering clemency. Whitmer was a supporter of legalizing marijuana.
Pro-marijuana rights activists also are working on getting congress to change federal marijuana laws.
Employers are still allowed to fire employees who use pot.
Police departments throughout the state are grappling with how to enforce the law. Hamtramck Police Chief Anne Moise said she is working with other agencies to come up with a policy and training program for officers.