FERNDALE, Mich. — A case that may set legal precedence on Michigan’s medical marijuana laws is garnering a lot of attention.
The Michigan Association of Compassion Centers organized more than 150 people to protest outside of a preliminary examination Tuesday for nine people who were arrested during an August raid on medical marijuana facilities in Ferndale and Waterford.
Using bullhorns, the protesters compared the charges against the nine with the Soviet gulag.
Because the high-profile case has attracted so many people, the hearing had to be moved out of the 43rd District court to the Kulick Community Center.
Each defendant was represented by an attorney, and if the case goes to trial, each witness could be subject to nine cross-examinations.
The defendants were arrested during a series of raids at the Clinical Relief in Ferndale and Everybody’s Cafe in Waterford Township after an undercover police investigation.
Police said illegal drugs were being sold at the facilities.
Download: Medical Marijuana Charging List
Defense attorneys said the police used fake medical marijuana cards to entrap the valid business owners.
“These raids ignored the legitimate status of these businesses with the State of Michigan and the local communities they belonged to,” said the MMMA in a news release.
Thomas Loeb is one of the nine defense attorneys.
“I think Oakland County is trying to make a political point and they are doing it in the wrong way,” Loeb said.
Loeb alleged that undercover officers posing as patients used deceptive practices to entrap people acting legally under the law.
Michigan voters approved medical marijuana use in 2008.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the cases illustrate abuses of Michigan’s medical marijuana law.
MMMA members said medical marijuana patient’s records were stolen and their homes ransacked all because the county prosecutor wanted a good “test case.”
The medical marijuana law in Michigan has no provisions on pot businesses and how to regulate them. Many people have said a test case in court will eventually help clear up ambiguous state laws on the issue.
“The sheriff will end up costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars with these trials, and that’s a very expensive political message to be sending to Lansing. I also think that people may lash out come election time and choose not to re-elect these officials who are not following the will of the voters,” the MMA said in the release.
Rick Thompson of the Michigan Association of Compassion said the Oakland County case has statewide implications.
“If Oakland County is successful in doing this to patients locally, others think they can do it too. It is a statewide issue and not just a local issue,” Thompson said.
Chuck Ream of Ann Arbor was among the protesters who said the case addresses bigger issues.
“My greatest struggle is not about pot. It’s about fundamental rights. We should be able to use a plant if we want.” Ream said.
The preliminary exam hearing is expected to resume later this week.
via Click on Detroit