WEST MICHIGAN -- A Michigan man on Wednesday, Nov. 7 showed up at court to find his felony marijuana charges dismissed, hours after Michigan became the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana, with voters Tuesday passing a ballot measure that will allow people 21 or older to buy and use the drug.
"I haven't stopped smiling. I've been in a really good mood," said Christopher Martinez.
Martinez had every reason to smile on Wednesday, Nov. 7. He was facing six felony charges in Allegan County, Michigan for the delivery and manufacturing of marijuana -- and up to 15 years in prison.
"So, I go today -- I go to the court, I tell the lady 'I'm here to check in,' and she's just like, 'oh, well your name's not on the docket,'" said Martinez.
Martinez learned the charges against him had been dismissed.
"She said 'your case has been dropped.' And I just started crying, because it was just...and it wasn't sad tears. It was happy tears," said Martinez.
Martinez founded PureWest Compassion clinic in 2010.
"So, you know, we do different grow supplies. We have different stuff, and a lot of stuff that we carry is what we believe in," said Martinez.
Martinez says in the past eight years, he's been arrested on marijuana charges 10 times. He said he doesn't know the exact reason why the charges were dropped on Wednesday, but he credited the passing of Proposition 1 in Tuesday's midterm elections.
"I do know that, hey, I don't think it's by coincidence that I have court the day after. I was happy! I did a quick post on Facebook," said Martinez.
"I had court this morning, and I get here and, come to find out, they dismissed my case," said Martinez in the Facebook post.
Bruce Block, a marijuana law attorney, said he suspects prosecutors just weren't interested in moving forward with the most recent case filed against Martinez in light of Proposition 1. He said he hopes others will follow suit.
"I would hope that you would have enlightened prosecutors who would look at this and say 'you know what? I think we ought to just dismiss these cases.' Whether that will happen is really a county-by-county inquiry," said Block.
Whatever the reason, Martinez said he's thankful his felonies are a thing of the past.
"The medical marijuana community in west Michigan has been very supportive of me -- and what I have been trying to achieve here in west Michigan is breaking the stigma," said Martinez.
Including Michigan, 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. The Michigan law takes effect in about a month, 10 days after the election is certified.
North Dakota voters decided this week that recreational pot wasn't for them.
At least one other state, Missouri , passed medical marijuana initiatives, joining Michigan and about 30 others. Supporters of a Utah medical marijuana initiative that was on Tuesday's ballot had declared victory, but the race was still to close to call Wednesday afternoon.