FOX 2 Focus: The Medical Pot Debate

By ROBIN SCHWARTZ
WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com

Some call it medicine, while others say it’s an illegal drug. No matter what you call it marijuana is at the center of a hot debate.

FOX 2 is weeding through this controversial issue. What exactly is Michigan’s medical marijuana law?

Michigan is one of only 14 states where medical marijuana is legal. The law passed two years ago, but there’s still plenty of confusion.

It’s been the focus of police raids and drug busts for decades. Marijuana illegal to grow, sell and use, but Michigan voters changed all that. They made pot legal for medical use. So, if it’s legal, why are clinics being raided and people being arrested?

“They are charging me with manufacturing and delivering marijuana,” said Candace Teichman, who was arrested in a raid. “I operated under the state law. I was checking every cardholder that came through that door.”

“One of the places there were loose alligators running around protecting the product. This is Michigan. This isn’t a Cheech and Chong movie,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies have gone after dispensaries because they’re not even mentioned in the law. They say those facilities can’t legally exist, but lawyers for the clinics disagree. Both sides are left to battle it out in court.

“This isn’t fair to us. We the people voted for this,” one woman told FOX 2.

“It shouldn’t have to be done in a back room somewhere, and it shouldn’t have to be done on the street corner,” another said.

“Why (do) they keep harassing everybody? If you’re legal, you’re legal. If you’re not legal, you’re going to jail,” the aforementioned woman said.

With no regulations for clinics, what is and is not criminal behavior is coming into question. Take Jim Chaney, a convicted cocaine trafficker from Ohio. He now owns the Liberty 420 Clinic on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

“If somebody’s convicted selling cocaine, I mean would you hire them to run your pharmacy for you? It’s the same thing. There just has to be provisions in place to make sure that things like that don’t happen,” one man said.

While Chaney, who goes by the name Jim Chainsaw, is being allowed to operate under Michigan’s law, some of his marketing tactics are raising eyebrows. A card offers students discounts for referring friends. It also advocates getting certified with no medical records needed as a way to smoke pot without getting kicked out of school.

“I think that medical marijuana is a joke. It’s like all you need is the headache and the doctor note,” another man told FOX 2.

Joining Robin Schwartz to talk about the medical marijuana law is Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Neil Rockind, who is an attorney for one of the clinics that was raided, and FOX 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton.

via My Fox Detroit

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