LANSING, Mich. — People carrying around drug paraphernalia in Lansing will be less likely to face charges following the repeal of an ordinance that some described as dated.
“Although there’s a state law against drug paraphernalia, it is in the prosecutor’s policy that they will not charge anybody foe that in the city of Lansing,” said Lansing Councilman Brian Jackson.
The City Council voted 5-3 to repeal the ordinance on Monday. Jackson has been pushing for the repeal for months.
“A lot of people in public comment explained how drug addiction is a public health crisis and shouldn’t be criminally prosecuted,” Jackson said. “Also, how the city should promote safe needle exchanges and not criminalize people who have them.
Jackson said promoting safe needle exchange in the city probably wouldn’t decrease the number of people using drugs, but it would decrease the harm caused by drug addiction.
“By having a safe needle exchange, a person could trade in a used needle and get a new needle,” He said. “It’s not going to help people use more, but it’s just going to be a safe method because the needles will be clean.”
Jackson said he’s leaning on the police department to be involved in the effort.
“We have to instruct our officers to change the policy of the criminalizing of drugs and drug addicts and try to encourage rehabilitation and treatment," he said.