7 Cleared Of Drug Charges From Raid at Michigan Marijuana Dispensary

Defense attorneys hailed Wednesday’s decision by an Oakland County judge to dismiss drug conspiracy charges against seven people arrested during a controversial 2010 raid on a Ferndale medical marijuana dispensary.

Judge Daniel O’Brien dismissed the charges against the seven, all employees of the Clinical Relief dispensary. Ferndale city officials had approved the business before county authorities padlocked the storefront following the raid.

Officers with the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team admitted they used forged state medical marijuana registry cards to gain entrance to the dispensary, a move that medical pot advocates likened to entrapment.

County prosecutors said they would appeal the case.

The judge’s ruling “was very courageous, particularly in Oakland County,” where most judges oppose medical marijuana, attorney Tom Loeb said. But the defense attorneys said the dismissal won’t give fresh support to dispensaries in Michigan.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette said in 2010 that all dispensaries in Michigan are illegal, even if they’re serving state-registered users, after a state Appeals Court decision found patient-to-patient drug transfers weren’t protected by the medical marijuana act.

Clinical Relief co-owner Ryan Richmond and others “operated a clinic that was designed to help legitimate, card-carrying medical marijuana patients,” defense attorney Neil Rockind said.

“They were treated like drug dealers — handcuffed, stuffed into police cars, marched into jail. Their homes and property was seized, and their business was destroyed,” Rockind said.

But Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said earlier that dispensary workers abused the state law allowing medical marijuana, which 63% of voters approved in 2008.

Rulings expected from the state’s higher courts this year should resolve many legal issues surrounding medical marijuana, Cooper added.

Today, the Michigan Supreme Court is to begin its first review of medical marijuana cases, including one involving a Rochester man who obtained a doctor’s approval to use marijuana only after he was arrested on drug charges, Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said. A ruling in the case will help decide when defendants arrested on drug charges can claim protections under the medical marijuana law, Walton said.

More Details: Lansing acquittal

A jury Wednesday acquitted a Lansing medical marijuana dispensary owner charged with violating Michigan election law after authorities said the clinic offered free pot to patients who registered to vote.

Shekina Pena, 34, owner of Your Healthy Choice Clinic, was charged in September with trying to influence voters.

Attorney general spokesman John Sellek said “something wacky” was going on at the dispensary and they’re looking at the verdict before deciding what to do next.

Pena’s attorney, Matt Newburg, said the jury “got it right” and that Pena wasn’t influencing individuals’ votes.

– Article originally from Detroit Free Press.

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