For the first time in her existence, 80-year-old Delores Saltzman from Clare County, Michigan spent a night in jail. It began on June 13, when Deputy Ashley Gruno came to Salzman’s front door, looking for her great-granddaughter and to return a lost phone and ID. When Deputy Gruno smelled marijuana coming from the residence, she inquired to find that the pot was indeed Dolores Saltzman’s — and her medical marijuana card was expired.
After a search of the Saltzman home, the Sheriff’s deputy found “7 marijuana pipes, 4 joints, a grinder, and a purple glass jar that also held a quantity of marijuana inside,” according to a statement released by the Clare County Prosecutor to Fox 17. All together it equalled less than an eighth of an ounce of cannabis.
After the house search, Deputy Gruno helped Saltzman with tidying up the kitchen, at the conclusion of which, Saltzman said, “Are you ready hon? Let’s go.” Gruno handcuffed the great-grandmother in the back of the car and did not read her Miranda rights.
Luckily, Saltzman was released the following day and once she renewed her medical marijuana card, the charges were dropped without prejudice. However, Saltzman and her son Mark said that “[cannabis] worked up her appetite when she was sick; helped her heal after surgeries; and eases her pain from ongoing health conditions. [We] are disturbed a deputy jailed her overnight for using her medicine.”
Clare County Sheriff John Wilson wrote an additional statement, “What the person was doing was illegal, had she renewed her medical marijuana card she would have been fine. I agree with the action the prosecutors office and allowing the subject to renew her card, thus dismissing the case. The person was illegally in possession of marijuana.”
No one should be arrested for the simple act of using cannabis, and especially in such a demonstrably medical situation. Aside from the reasons for which Saltzman stated she uses medical marijuana, she also suffered from severe anxiety during the whole ordeal. She spent the night in pain, in a jail cell, away from her medication, all because of an expired medical card.
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While the tides are turning in the direction of the cannabis stigma being lifted, there is bound to be confusion about the intricacies of the laws state to state. And while it’s good that the charges were dropped without prejudice, the question remains if she should ever have been arrested in the first place. She was technically outside the law, but also clearly a patient.
Saltzman told Fox 17 that she hopes getting her story out there helps others. “That’s what I want people to do: don’t be ashamed of something that’s going to help you feel better,” she stated proudly. Though chances are she’ll be keeping her mmj card current from now on…