City policy clarifies marijuana transport laws

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — Possession of a medical marijuana card as a user or provider does not safeguard motorists from penalties. As of this month city ordinance prohibits the open transport of marijuana in a motor vehicle, bringing city code in line with state policy.

Director of Police and Fire Services James Nardone said that City Ordinance 780, effective Feb. 10, clarifies that “usable” marijuana — that which is legally owned under state law — must be in a sealed case and in a trunk or elsewhere not accessible by the driver.

“It’s consistent with state law,” Wagner said. Public Act 460 of 2012 had clarified transportation requirements, and Nardone said the local policy was passed to bring Trenton in line with Michigan’s regulations which ensure motorists who do have the legal right to use marijuana do so safely.

Nardone said that impaired drivers had not been a problem, but that the policy allows police to cite violations.

City Administrator Jim Wagner said that bringing city ordinances consistent with state law also allows Trenton to collect fines that would otherwise go to the county.

“It had to do with how they processed it,” Wagner said. “If we didn’t make the change it stayed with the county.”

Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine of $500.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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