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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Civil Asset Forfeiture Revenue and Marijuana Legalization by the Detroit Police Department

By Richard C. Clement

    In light of the recent raids on Medical Marijuana facilities in the City of Detroit this week, we asked Detroit Police Chief James Craig how much money does the Department make from Asset Forfeiture.  The Chief responded with a chart that shows over a 3 year period, the Department made $7.3 million dollars from taking assets under the Civil Forfeiture programs. The breakdown is as follows:

 $   451,542.05
 $   7,394.00
 $   410,168.87
 $           -  
 $   348,461.79
 $ 36,254.07
 $ 43,648.07

The figure shows that there needs to be a redirection of assets so that Marijuana based businesses and, the policy on Civil Asset forfeiture needs some serious re-direction of funds toward expenses like retiree pensions and healthcare.  This is a large amount of money to make from taking someone’s money and property for Marijuana possession and, never charging the person for the crime in a court of law.

People on the receiving end of this lose everything seized to the agency who made the initial contact if; the person does not contest the seizure in 10 days. After 10 days, the money or asset(s) that was taken from a home or person during a police raid is kept by the arresting agency and sold for profit. The raid on the facility at Puritan and Hubbell on July 14th, 2015 is a prime example of this type of asset forfeiture abuse by law enforcement.  On Puritan there are 7 churches that are within 3000 feet of the school.  City wide, there are numerous hair shops and churches that are across the street from each other.

This un-even enforcement of the Marijuana Laws creates an incentive for police agencies to conduct raids as a profit center for the Department instead of the protection of the citizens.

The only way this will stop is if you show up to vote and elect people who want to make this type of change.   You can also direct change through a ballot initiative that will take 2000 signatures from registered voters in the City of Detroit.  Or you can force change by signing the legalization petition hosted by to fully decriminalize and stop the War on Weed.  The revenue from legal Marijuana sales will make more money than the Water and Sewage system maintained by the Great Lakes Water Authority.

We have more people in new jails with no pot holes in their walls and, at the same time we have horrible roads, declining education opportunities and, retirees that have dwindling pension benefits. Participation in the MI Legalize  effort will address these problems.  We are expecting much better out of our elected leadership because, the War on Weed in the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan is a complete failure and, a waste of law enforcement resources. 

Finally if the Detroit Branch and the Michigan State Conference of the NAACP can honor Kid Rock, then they are morally obligated to support decriminalization of Marijuana use because of the impact on the community especially citizens of color. 

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