Monthly Archives: September 2010

Medical Marijuana: The Battle of the District Court Judges

Earlier this week Waterford District Court Judge Richard Kuhn Jr. told the Defendant’s before him NOT to use marijuana while out on bond, even if they have a legal medical marijuana card issued to them from the State of Michigan.

In sharp contrast, Ferndale District Court Judge Joseph Longo told Defendant’s that they were free to use their medical marijuana as long as they possess a valid card.

This slight difference in bond conditions between the two courts/judges exemplifies and magnifies the problem(s) with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. It is beyond comprehension that a judge has the authority and audacity to order an individual to forgo the taking of legally administered medication. It is akin to a cancer patient being charged with the illegal distribution of cancer medications and, pending the outcome of the case, ordered by a judge to refrain from using those cancer medications.

Check out the rest of the story below:

Judge allows medical marijuana defendants’ use

A district judge in Ferndale said Thursday that he would allow state-approved medical marijuana defendants to keep using the drug while out on bond — a sharp contrast to a Waterford judge’s statement Tuesday that deemed marijuana use by defendants in a parallel case to be a bond violation.

The contrast in treatment for those arrested in metro Detroit’s first major medical marijuana raids showed the breadth of interpretations for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, Wayne State University law school professor Bob Sedler said.

After Thursday’s brief hearings for 10 defendants, Ferndale District Judge Joseph Longo told the Free Press that any who were state-approved patients could use marijuana while awaiting trial. The defendants are to appear at a hearing Sept. 20.

Both sets of defendants were arrested Aug. 25 in raids by the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team.

“They have every right to use whatever medications” their physicians prescribe, Longo said.

On Tuesday, Waterford District Judge Richard Kuhn Jr. said none of the 13 defendants in cases assigned to him could use marijuana while free on bond, despite any doctors’ statements they offered about their medical conditions.

After Kuhn’s ruling, former Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca — once a vehement foe of illegal drugs, now a defense attorney — said the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act “gives any of these people the right” to use the drug as medicine.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said Thursday that the two groups included operators and customers of medical marijuana sales outlets, called dispensaries, which he said are not allowed by Michigan’s law.

But medical marijuana advocates, as well as Bouchard, have said the raids and resulting criminal charges — felonies with jail terms as long as seven years — could become landmark cases that force Michigan’s court system to decide such issues as whether dispensaries are legal. Voters in 2008 passed the state law that lets approved patients use medical marijuana and lets approved caregivers provide the drug.

via Detroit Free Press

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 jmellas@rockindpc.com or call our office directly at 248-208-3800 to schedule a free consultation!

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Medical Marijuana – NRPC on the Forefront

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.

via The Daily Tribune

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 jmellas@rockindpc.com or call our office directly at 248-208-3800 to schedule a free consultation!

Medical Marijuana – Neil Rockind, P.C. is Leading the Way!

If you have not yet heard, more than a dozen individuals, who were operating a legal medical marijuana dispensary in Ferndale, were arrested last week on claims that they were operating outside of Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act.

As one of the State of Michigan’s premier Medical Marihuana defense law firms, NRPC has been retained by at least one of those individuals. Neil Rockind appeared yesterday at the 43rd District Court in Ferndale for the first (of many) court appearances on this case. Check out the story below.

Ferndale Medical Pot Clinic Defended

By ROBIN SCHWARTZ

FERNDALE, Mich. – Police laid it all out for everyone to see; three-quarters of a million dollars worth of drugs seized from medical marijuana facilities in Ferndale and Waterford.

Thursday, attorneys for the Ferndale clinic’s owners and employees were back in court for a hearing after several of them were arrested and charged with violating Michigan’s new medical marijuana law.

“The Oakland County Sheriff busted in with semi-automatic weapons throwing 80-year-old women on the floor,” said medical marijuana user Clarence Day.  “It’s really disgusting.”

Day, who is a deejay and also known as “Stick” on Channel 955, is a card carrying member of the Medical Marijuana Program.  He’s a patient at Ferndale’s Clinical Relief marijuana dispensary, which sells 20 grades of the drug for up to $700 an ounce.

“Everything was by the book.  If anything, they should be used as an example of how these places should run,” Day said.

The clinic is back open now, but they say all they can do is help patients with their paperwork since police seized all the marijuana.  Their attorney says he plans to prove they did nothing illegal.

“You can’t have a law, which was passed overwhelmingly by the people of this state, and then say that you want these people to have access to marijuana and then make no provision for how they can actually get it,” said attorney Neil Rockind.

“It’s just going to make it harder for us to get our medication if they keep confiscating it and taking it away from the people, and then where are we left to go?  Back to the black market, and it’s not safe,” said medical marijuana user Robert Redden.

Medical marijuana supporters say they’re hoping the law will be clarified to prevent similar raids in the future.

Everyone arrested is out on bond and due back in court later this month.

via My Fox Detroit

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 jmellas@rockindpc.com or call our office directly at 248-208-3800 to schedule a free consultation!