Recent Marijuana Dispensary Raids Result in Massive Seizures
Cash, cars and plants grabbed illegally?
A city in Northern Michigan recently passed an ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell without cause for concern, but a series of massive raids conducted by U.S. Homeland Security, the Michigan State Police, and a number of sheriff’s offices has resulted in millions of dollars of product, cash, and even automobiles being seized.
A total of 12 marijuana dispensaries were raided, tied to two separate investigations in Oscoda and Otsego counties. Authorities allege dispensaries were selling marijuana to individuals who were not registered patients. All the dispensaries were within a two-mile radius.
Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement officers seized 143 marijuana plants, 150 jars of marijuana, THC edible products, more than $17,000 in cash, and two vehicles from 10 Otsego County dispensaries.
Authorities claim the raids were the result of tips and information gathered from regular traffic stops.
In an act of retaliation against the excessive crack-down, a petition was filed on behalf of the dispensaries to make it legal for them to operate within the city limits without encountering additional raids. The city council put their stamp of approval on the measure earlier this year, which many believed would curtail meddling in their operations.
Unfortunately, the most recent raids took place before any of the 12 dispensaries could relish in the protections of the newly passed ordinance.
“Apparently the State Police wanted to squash businesses before they could gain the protection of local zoning laws,” wrote Rick Thompson, editor of The Compassion Chronicles.
Marijuana activists are considering taking legal action against state police.
Ben Horner, a board member for the Cannabis Stakeholders Group — a nonprofit organization with a mission to give more Michigan residents safe access to medical marijuana — said Friday he and others are working to reach out to patients and caregivers who were injured or had a loss as a result of the Thursday raids.
Horner said that Otsego County prosecutor Michael Rola signed off on these search warrants. By doing so, he violated the recently-enacted Gaylord medical marijuana ordinance amendment, which officially added medical marijuana provisioning centers as an approved use in areas deemed C-1 and C-2 Commercial District by the city zoning ordinance, as well as the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
“According to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, all patients can get medicine from wherever they want,” he said. “The city gives permission and law enforcement enforces a different set of laws.”
Two men were also arrested during the raids.
It is clear the federal fight against medical marijuana rages while states and counties look to free themselves from oppressive regulation. The Controlled Substances Act is in great need of an overhaul. Even Colorado, a state that has legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, still faces legislative hurdles. If states can’t rest easy in their choice to legalize, how will small cities supported by an ordinance?
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.