80-Year-Old Grandmother Arrested For Expired Medical Marijuana Card

By Victoria Kim 08/08/18

The Michigan-based grandmother was forced to spend a night in jail for letting her medical marijuana card lapse. 

Delores Saltzman
Delores Saltzman is sharing her story to advocate for legal cannabis, which voters in Michigan will have a chance to vote on in November. Photo via YouTube

A Michigan grandmother who spent a night in jail for a small amount of cannabis has had her charges dismissed, and now she’s coming forward with her story to advocate for legal cannabis, which voters in Michigan will have a chance to vote on in November.

Delores Saltzman, 80, of Clare County, Michigan, has been a medical cannabis patient for about four years, but ran into trouble when she let her registration expire. Saltzman uses cannabis to manage pain in lieu of opioid medication, which she said “caused stomach pains and vomiting.”

“After I smoke I go down to a one, pain-wise,” Saltzman said, according to ABC 6. “Before I smoke, I would say I’m an 8 right now.”

Saltzman was arrested on June 13, when Clare County Sheriff’s Deputy Ashley Gruno came to her home looking for her great-granddaughter, who had lost her phone and ID.

When Gruno smelled cannabis in the home, Saltzman said it was hers. But because her state-issued medical cannabis card had expired, Gruno arrested and charged the grandmother with cannabis possession, a misdemeanor in the state of Michigan. Gruno seized less than an eighth of an ounce of cannabis from the home and Saltzman spent the night in jail.

The charges were dismissed last week, Marijuana Moment reported, and Saltzman has renewed her registration.

“Ms. Saltzman was encouraged to obtain her medical marijuana card and if she did so, the case would be dismissed,” said Clare County prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis. “She did obtain her medical marijuana card and the case was dismissed.”

Now Saltzman is sharing her story ahead of November, when Michigan voters will decide if they want to legalize cannabis for adult use. Michigan would be the 10th U.S. state to do so.

"I'm hoping that we all learn a lesson from this and that we make amends, and people will get out and vote for it," Saltzman told WXMI. "We’re the ones that have to stand up we are the people, and we just got to fight for our rights."

Medical cannabis became legal in Michigan in 2008 with 60% of the vote.

According to the Lansing State Journal, there are more than 218,000 registered medical cannabis patients and more than 38,000 caregivers in Michigan.

Patients may possess up to 12 cannabis plants and up to 2.5 ounces of the plant. Qualifying conditions range from cancer and HIV/AIDS to, more recently, autism, arthritis, and Tourette’s syndrome.

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