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Law enforcement seeking guidance with marijuana law violations

Posted at 9:10 AM, Dec 07, 2018

Now that recreational pot is legal in the state of Michigan, law enforcement agencies are figuring out what new policies they should follow when it comes to investigating violations of the law.

Before the legalization of recreational marijuana went into effect, Michigan State Police (MSP) had probable cause to search a vehicle if they smelled burnt or raw marijuana. Not anymore,and the same applies to searching a person's home.

"They're going to have to look for other indicators; violations of the law that are still illegal as of today and request proper paperwork from the prosecuting attorney's office or the courts as far as a search warrant to be able to enter a house or residence and be able to search that," said Lt. Darren Green, a spokesperson for MSP.

When it comes to writing a citation, it'll be up to each trooper's discretion. Before that though, MSP needs instruction from each counties' prosecutor's office as far as how aggressive they should be with enforcement.

"In the situation like that where somebody is over the legal amount per-person, we're going to have to get with the prosecutor's office and see how aggressive they want to be in the prosecution of those cases and backing us up when we write citations for those type of infractions."

The East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) is also waiting for guidance when investigating cases and determining probable cause.

A spokesperson with ELPD sent FOX 47 this statement: "The police department recognizes the law that has been put into effect and we are awaiting guidance on how to proceed with violations through the prosecutors and city attorneys office.'

"There's going to be a lot of scenarios that we're going to have to say, if this happens, if our troopers come across this scenario with this much overage, these many plants or this many people in a car or whatever, what type of enforcement action would you recommend that we take." Green said.

It might be a few days before prosecutors tell agencies in each county what they can do.