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Michigan police say marijuana legalization has made their jobs harder 

  • Roberto Galan /

Cue the world's tiniest violin for Michigan cops, who have taken to the media in a couple of stories published this month to complain that last year's vote to legalize marijuana for recreational adult use has made their jobs more difficult.

Over at The Detroit Free Press, in a story headlined "Law enforcement facing the challenges of new legal marijuana laws," Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard — who earned a reputation for his ruthless crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries north of Eight Mile over the last decade — said his department has been forced to take a hands-off approach until additional guidance comes from the Legislature.

"We haven't investigated a marijuana case in more than a year," he said. "We're in absolute limbo in terms of law enforcement."

If Bouchard seemed a bit... rueful, perhaps?... well, maybe he is. "His position on this subject is bordering on hysterical," former Ferndale mayor Craig Covey previously told Metro Times of Bouchard. "[Bouchard] is stuck in the 1970s, following the Nixon model on drug policy. He's using our resources to go after marijuana issues rather than to go after heroin."

Other officers discussed the difficulties in roadside testing for marijuana-impaired drivers and the fact that new K-9 unit recruits will likely have to stop being trained to home in on that pungent smell of weed. And regarding that pungent smell, cops say there's nothing they can do about it now.

"If it's just the smell and odor we're hearing about, that’s not enough probable cause for us to go much further," Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus told the paper. "Before recreational became legal, we might have been doing search warrants, but everything seems to be gray and cloudy until the courts rule on the new laws."

And then last week, west Michigan's WBND-TV published a story headlined "Michigan Police claim marijuana legalization has made work difficult."

"We come across a lot of kids that are under 21 that have possession of it and obviously that's in violation so we seize it and go through the process that way," Michigan State Officer Andrew Jeffrey told the station. "[But] when we come across people that are 21 and older and actually have it legally that's where it's kind of hard to deal with it in that aspect."

Imagine how difficult the lives of millions of Americans who have faced jail time or lost their jobs are because of the racist war on drugs.

Of Reefer Madness-like concerns that legalization will flood the streets with pot, back at the Freep, Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police put things in perspective.

"The fallacy that there’s going to be all this marijuana out there is just that, a fallacy," he said. "It's already always been out there, so this isn't a big deal to us."

It's a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.

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