Fact: The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act actually provides two levels of protection to medical marijuana users and does not even require a person to have a card in order to use medical marijuana. As long as the patient is under the direction of a doctor, is using the marijuana to treat a serious or debilitating disease, and only has as much marijuana as is necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marijuana, then the person need not even apply for a card – per Section 8 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
This is the law, but don’t tell that to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office or Sheriff’s Department.
Hearings delayed for pot defendants
FERNDALE — One of the owners of a Ferndale medical marijuana dispensary raided last week said the facility won’t reopen until court cases against owners and employees are resolved.
“We’re pretty much sitting on our hands waiting to see what the court does,” said Matthew Curtis, co-owner of Clinical Relief, 352 Hilton, following a brief court appearance Thursday in Ferndale 43rd District Court. “We want to find out from the courts what we did wrong.”
Curtis of Lake Orion was in court along with co-owner Ryan Richmond of Royal Oak and five other defendants for a preliminary hearing that was delayed until Sept. 20. At least three other defendants were not in court because of a death in their family.
The defendants face a range of charges that include conspiracy and illegally growing and selling marijuana. All are free on personal bond. Authorities allege that marijuana sales were conducted with people lacking state-issued patient cards and that some sales took place outside the dispensary.
Ferndale Judge Joseph Longo granted a delay Thursday because an employee of the dispensary — Sal Agro, 68, of Lake Orion, whose house was raided last week — died of a massive heart attack Thursday at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak Thursday. He is the husband of one of the defendants and the father of two others, including Clinical Relief co-owner Nicholas Agro.
Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies raided Clinical Relief with guns drawn Aug. 25. Similar raids were carried out the same day at private homes in Oakland and Macomb counties, a warehouse in Macomb County, Everybody’s Café in Waterford Township where a marijuana compassion club meets, and Herbal Remedies, a marijuana dispensary in the township.
More than 20 defendants from all the raids face charges.
Other charged in the Ferndale case are Barbara Johnson, Barbara Agro, Anthony J. Agro, Angelina Veseli, Stacey Ellenbrook, Ryan M. Fleissner and Derek A. Anderson.
Ten people connected with the Waterford Township raids waived preliminary hearings Tuesday in 51st District until October. More than two dozen demonstrators who support medical marijuana attended the hearing.
Authorities say those arrested violated the state medical marijuana law. Sheriff Michael Bouchard has said that while the law allows caregivers to grow plants for up to five patients there is nothing that allows for dispensaries where patients can buy marijuana. He and others see the current proceedings as a test case to clarify the law.
Richmond’s attorney, Neil Rockind, said defendants acted legally.
“They were attempting to assist patients in the medical use of marijuana,” Rockind said. “The people have (voted) and said they want people to have access to this medicine.”
He also challenged Sheriff Bouchard’s claim that because dispensaries aren’t addressed in the marijuana law they are illegal.
“You can’t have no provision for how (patients) are going to get medical marijuana,” Rockind said.
Robert Redden of Ferndale has a medical marijuana case pending before the state Supreme Court and showed up at Thursday’s hearing. Redden was living in Madison Heights early last year when police confiscated marijuana plants from him and his girlfriend. They were both registered as medical marijuana patients but hadn’t received their state-issued ID cards. Former Madison Heights 43rd District Judge Robert Turner dismissed the case in April 2009, but county prosecutors are challenging Turner’s dismissal and want Redden’s case sent back to district court.
Redden said the current batch of medical marijuana cases and dispensary closings makes it harder for patients to get what they need.
“All we want is a safe place to get our medicine,” he said.
Neil Rockind, P.C. is leading the way in Michigan Medical Marijuana Defense. If you or a loved one is faced with a violation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, or an investigation by any policing agency regarding such a violation, please contact Neil Rockind, P.C. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office directly at 248-208-3800 to schedule a free consultation!