On the night of June 13th, Clare County, MI Sheriff’s Deputy Ashley Gruno knocked on the door of Delores Saltzman. She was trying to find Saltzman’s great-granddaughter, so the deputy could return her lost phone and ID. While on the porch of Saltzman’s home, Deputy Gruno caught the odor of marijuana.
When she asked the 80-year-old Saltzman if the marijuana smell was because of her, Delores was honest and admitted that indeed the marijuana was hers.
“[Cannabis] saved my life because I had a bad bleed about four years ago, and Mark [her son] took care of me,” Delores said, telling FOX 17 in West Michigan that when her doctors prescribed her opioids, they caused stomach pains and vomiting.
After a search of the house, Delores was arrested and law enforcement took several pipes, four joints and one purple jar with what Delores described as less than an eighth of cannabis. She was then transported in cuffs to the jail where she was kept for the night.
Delores is a medical marijuana patient in Michigan, but at the time of the arrest, her medical marijuana card was expired. Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis wrote FOX 17 a statement, which read in part: “Based upon that arrest, a police report and request for charges was generated by the deputy and presented to our office. My assistant prosecutor authorized a possession of marijuana charge based upon the admission by Ms. Saltzman that she wasn’t a medical marijuana card holder and the evidence that she did possess marijuana illegally. However, our goal is to ensure that individuals who utilize medical marijuana are doing so legally. As such, Ms. Saltzman was encouraged to obtain her medical marijuana card and if she did so, the case would be dismissed. She did obtain her medical marijuana card and the case was dismissed.”
But as Delores’s son pointed out, the deputy could have simply given her a ticket. To take an 80-year-old woman to jail seems absolutely pointless, even if you believe you are ensuring that “individuals who utilize medical marijuana are doing so legally.”
In many ways, we have gotten away from common sense when it comes to law enforcement, and much of the blame for that can be laid at the feet of the war on drugs. For it to even occur to a police officer that the best thing for the community would be for this very old woman to spend a night in jail shows we strayed off the path of decency long ago.