Policy 2021-05: Policy Regarding Cannabis and Marijuana
America’s long experiment
with cannabis criminalization has failed. The criminalization of cannabis has
tethered countless Americans to the criminal justice system, and imposed severe
collateral consequences. The costs of cannabis criminalization, moreover, have
not been borne equally. Instead, those costs have been borne disproportionately
by Black and indigenous people of color.
Michigan has positioned itself as a leader in the cannabis legalization movement. In 2018, Michigan voters adopted Proposal 1, a ballot initiative which legalized the use and possession of small amounts of cannabis for recreational use. But possession of more than a small amount of cannabis remains subject to criminal penalties. That is true despite overwhelming evidence that cannabis is safer than
entirely legal substances such as alcohol.
Accordingly, it is the
policy of the Prosecutor’s Office not to charge certain cannabis-related
offenses, including cannabis use or possession, small-scale distribution of
cannabis, or cases that technically violate the parameters outlined in Proposal
1. Cannabis is, in many ways, is safer than alcohol, and is legal in Michigan.
It is therefore no more appropriate to charge someone with for having “too
much” marijuana than it is to charge someone for having “too many” bottles of
The Prosecutor’s Office
will, however, continue to charge cases against large-scale commercial
distributors who are evading safety restrictions on cannabis and marijuana, as
well as charges related to operating a vehicle while under the influence of