Kalamazoo, MI city commissioners have adopted a marijuana ordinance on a 6-0 vote that will lessen punishments for those found to be in possession of marijuana. Under the new ordinance, marijuana possession is punishable by an appearance ticket, rather than arrest.
Additionally, the ordinance lessens jail time and maximum fines for offenders. Under state law, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor that can result in a $2,000 fine, a year in prison, or both. Under the city’s new ordinance, offenders could serve up to 93 days in prison, pay a $100 fine, or do both.
Karianne Thomas, assistant chief of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, explained that the ordinance, “…just helps free up our officers,” as well as evidence technicians and lab workers.
The ordinance will not only help to free up DPS resources, it will also help people who are arrested. Appearance tickets take significantly less time than arrests, and people who receive a ticket will be subject to lesser punishments than they would have been previously.
The new ordinance is not applicable for medical marijuana patients.