|Photo: Chmee2, Wikimedia Commons|
According to an assistant prosecutor in Michigan, the new medical marijuana laws there, passed by voters last year, are starting to create some unforeseen problems.
I know what you’re thinking. “Just another cop speaking fluent whinese.” There’s undeniably a little of that going on, but the talk that the prosecutor gave before the Northwest Zero Tolerance Coalition (that’s a forbidding name for an anti-drug group, if there ever was one!) took an unexpected turn towards the end.
Assistant Prosecutor Bill Dailey, chief of Macomb County’s drug unit, said that the medical marijuana laws are causing a “strain on my personnel because they are out there now, they are recovering marijuana on their traffic stops … It is very, very difficult for them or for us to find out if these folks have a medical marijuana card.”
Dailey did say, however, that if people do have legal medical marijuana cards, he has no problem with that. “They are following the law, so be it,” he allowed.
He did complain, though, about the hours of time spent trying to determine the legitimacy of medical marijuana cards, and mentioned the state’s guarding of people’s confidentiality as a barrier to doing so. He said the state is very restrictive with the information it would release about medical marijuana card holders.
According to the law passed by voter initiative in November 2008, patients who are suffering from diseases including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDs, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, or seizures can become eligible for a medical marijuana card with a doctor’s recommendation.
“Not to offend anybody, in my opinion it is pretty amorphous criteria to get a card,” Dailey complained. (Imagine if doctors were willing to give this much input on law enforcement.)
He also expressed problems with the state allowing people with medical marijuana cards to grow pot in their own homes. “I think there is going to be more marijuana available to young people,” he said, apparently unaware that pot is already exceedingly easy to get.
So far, those are pretty standard cop complaints about marijuana. But that’s where things took a turn for the unexpected.
“Part of me thinks we should have totally legalized marijuana and regulated it more and had quality controls in the state of Michigan,” he told what by now must have been a very surprised audience of anti-pot activists. “Right now we have taken this middle ground, which is a mess in my opinion. I don’t think we have sorted how well to enforce it.
“It is causing a problem and it is taking our law enforcement’s time,” Dailey said. “It is taking our time in the court. It has become a real issue, I think.”