80-Year-Old Woman Arrested For Marijuana Possession

By Benjie Cooper

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A deputy from Clare County, Michigan was visiting the home of 80-year-old Delores Saltzman at around 9 p.m. on June 13  to return a lost ID and cell phone to her granddaughter who was known to stay there.

But when the officer was walking up to the house, she caught the scent of marijuana smoke coming from the senior woman’s front porch. When she asked Saltzman who the cannabis belonged to, she said it was hers.

Saltzman lives with diverticulitis, arthritis, and muscle and bone aches, and uses cannabis medicinally through the state program. But on the day that the deputy stopped by, the card had already expired sometime before.

“At that time, Ms. Saltzman turned over to the deputy seven marijuana pipes, four joints, a grinder, and a purple glass jar that also held a quantity of marijuana inside,” wrote Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis in a statement. “The deputy arrested Ms. Saltzman for the illegal possession of marijuana and lodged her in the Clare County Jail.”

According to Saltzman, the amount of cannabis was less than an eighth of an ounce.

Saltzman told WXMI that the officer also searched her bedroom and then helped her clean up the kitchen before putting her in handcuffs and taking her to jail for the night. She also says that the deputy failed to read her rights to her and that her arthritis flared up during her stay from the cold temperatures inside the jail.

“I just thought it was absolutely ridiculous to put her through this like that,” Saltzman’s son Mark told WXMI. “They could have just given her a ticket.”

“What the person was doing was illegal, had she renewed her medical marijuana card she would have been fine,” Sheriff John Wilson said in a statement regarding the case. “I agree with the action of the action the prosecutor’s office and allowing the subject to renew her card, thus dismissing the case. The person was illegally in possession of marijuana.”

After completing the renewal process, Saltzman’s new medical marijuana card is on its way, and a Clare County judge signed an order to dismiss the woman’s case on August 2. Saltzman says that she hopes that everyone can learn a lesson from the incident and encourages people to get to the polls in November and vote to legalize marijuana and end the stigma.