Legalizing recreational marijuana is one of the most talked about topics in many states today. With nine states having already legalized the “drug” for recreational use so far, many others now allow their residents to consume marijuana on the basis of it being used to treat a medical condition [Source: National Conference of State Legislatures]. One of those states is Michigan.
Despite the fact that Michigan has legalized medical marijuana, lawmakers are contemplating on whether they should legalize the drug for recreational use. Naturally, there are several individuals who are opposed to it and there are also plenty of others who believe it would be beneficial for the people to legalize it. So, what is Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth’s take on the matter?
According to the Lansing State Journal, Wrigglesworth shared his input at a town hall meeting recently stating that he believes “legalizing recreational marijuana will increase crime in Michigan.” He told the news outlet that police are often asked during a “minor pot stop” why officers don’t just “disregard” the stop and “spend their time on real crime,” however, he believes marijuana usage is a contributing factor to why so many crimes are being committed. He cited that since marijuana has become legalized for recreational purposes in Colorado, “the home invasions, the assaults, the drugged driving, they have all significantly increased because you’ve got a whole bunch of people walking around high, making bad decisions and victimizing other people”
Now, although the crime rate may have increased in the state of Colorado, because of the lack of data, it still isn’t clear whether it increased because recreational marijuana was legalized.
Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski also commented on the topic during the meeting and said that “data on recreational marijuana is still limited, however, illegal drugs, as a general group, contribute to crimes such as homicide, assault, and robbery.” He went on to say that even if marijuana gets legalized, “you will always have an illegal market that goes alongside it,” which might imply that illegal drugs will always be an issue for police.
While both law enforcement officials voiced their opinions on the matter, Sarah Anthony, who is an Ingham County commissioner said that “enforcement of marijuana laws has disproportionately targeted low-income people and people of color.” Now, although she isn’t taking a position on the ballot regarding the legalization of marijuana, she did say that “it is important that tax revenue from marijuana go towards “re-investing in those communities.”
The fact is, while many have pointed out several cons associated with legalizing marijuana, there isn’t any clear evidence that has determined the drug was the sole cause of a drugged driving accident or was the reason why someone burglarized a home. In most cases, when a person is involved in an accident and officers suspect they are under the influence of marijuana, that person has also consumed alcohol or another type of drug which also played a role in causing the accident.
Regardless of the pros and cons many have pointed out, it is clear that the topic is still up for debate and Michigan residents who voted to have marijuana legalized might not see the change they desire for some time.
Now, if you are someone who lives in Lansing, East Lansing, Dewitt, St. Johns, Grand Ledge, or Charlotte and were recently arrested for having marijuana in your possession, the crime does carry some rather serious penalties, so it would be in your best interest to contact criminal defense attorney Stuart R. Shafer in Lansing. Not only can our firm help you fight your charges but potentially get them reduced so that the consequences aren’t nearly as bad as they would be if you were charged with the crime you were initially arrested for.
You can reach the Law Offices Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906