An 80-year-old grandmother was arrested for having less than an eighth of an ounce (about 3.5 grams) of marijuana and an expired medical marijuana card, WXMI-TV (Grand Rapids) is reporting.
Delores Saltzman never thought she would become the face of the excesses on the War on Drugs. But the elderly woman, who says medical cannabis saved her life, found herself on the wrong end of the law thanks to a paperwork error and possibly overzealous cops. It all went down in June, but is only now making the national news thanks to her son, Mark, trying to publicize her plight.
On June 13, Clare County Sheriff’s Deputy Ashley Gruno showed up at Saltzman’s home trying to locate Saltzman’s great-granddaughter. The young woman wasn’t there, but Gruno did notice something else: the smell of pot. She asked Saltzman if it was hers.
Saltzman didn’t deny it. She’s been using medical marijuana, which is legal in Michigan, for years. She says it’s increased her appetite when she’s been sick; it’s helped her recover faster after multiple surgeries; and she says it’s been a godsend to her when it comes to her debilitating arthritis pain.
“After I smoke I go down to a one, pain-wise. Before I smoke, I would say I’m an 8 right now.”
ONLY on @FOX17 4p: Hear from Delores Saltzman & her son Mark. Delores turns 81 in Nov., and on June 13 a Clare Co. deputy jailed overnight for the first time in her life. Delores was arrested & charged for having less than an eighth of cannabis, bc her med. marijuana card expired pic.twitter.com/SwTLspmHpe
— Dana Chicklas (@DanaChicklas) August 3, 2018
None of that mattered to the cops. Because her medical marijuana card had expired, she was technically in violation of the law. She was arrested and taken downtown for having less than an eighth of an ounce of pot.
For what it’s worth, Gruno helped Mrs. Saltzman clean up her house a bit and do some dishes before taking her to jail.
“I got everything done but the one pan, and I says, ‘Are you ready hon?’ because she’s just standing there leaning after she put the bread and ketchup away, just leaning there. I said, ‘Are you ready hon? Let’s go.'”
The elderly woman then spent the night in jail, during which she said her arthritis pain was as bad as it’s ever been.
“That’s ridiculous what they do to people, they don’t need to make you that cold.”
According to a statement from Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis, the police were simply doing their jobs. However, the prosecutor’s office offered to drop the charges if Mrs. Saltzman renewed her card – which she did, and the charges were later dropped.
Mark Saltzman hopes that his mother’s plight will serve two purposes. First, he hopes that it will convince lawmakers to be more sympathetic to people who use marijuana to treat diseases; and second, he hopes it will encourage Michigan medical marijuana card-holders to renew their cards on time.