Saturday, May 29, 2010

QUESTIONS ABOUT POT LAW AFTER COPS BUST A CLUB

Posted on Sat, May 29, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Michigan’s medical marijuana community was abuzz with the news that a so-called “smokers club” in the Lansing suburb of Williamston had been raided by police on Wednesday.

The Lansing State Journal reported that the club’s owner, an ordained minister, the Rev. Ferderick Wayne Dagit, had previously claimed the Green Leaf Smokers Club was a place where legal medical marijuana users could gather to purchase pot from caregivers and smoke in a social setting.

However, Dagit was charged Thursday with felony drug charges that include delivery or manufacture of more than 45 kilograms (99 pounds) of marijuana, two counts of delivery or manufacture of 5 to 45 kilograms of marijuana, and maintaining a drug house and possession of marijuana, according to the paper.

Detroit resident Tim Beck, who had a hand in writing the medical marijuana law voters approved in 2008, said that in a meeting with Michigan State Police earlier in the week he was given a heads-up that authorities were actively investigating operations where marijuana is dispensed to card holders.

“They told us that, in their interpretation of the law, patient-to-patient transfers were illegal, and that dispensaries were illegal,” Beck told us. “They said that there were investigations ongoing, and that arrests would occur.”

“Twelve hours later,” he said, “the place in Williamston got busted.”

Under the law, state-certified patients are clearly allowed to obtain marijuana wherever they can, but that the only clearly defined legal providers are registered caregivers, who can have up to five patients and grow as many as 12 plants per patient.

Beyond that gray areas that are going to end up being tested in court. Among those gray areas are so-called “compassion clubs” where patients can go to choose from a menu of different types of marijuana.

Beck also said that State Police enforcement actions are largely driven by local prosecutors. What is considered acceptable in one county may no be allowed in another, Beck said.

Beck is the head of a group called Cannabis Patients United, which he described as a collection of professionals such as doctors, lawyers and business people. They’ve hired a lobbyist to help ensure Lansing doesn’t try to infringe on the ability of legal patients to obtain and use their medicine.

The State Journal on Saturday quoted Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III saying the raid followed numerous citizen complaints about what the Journal termed “illegal marijuana activity.”

Dunnings also predicted that the questions in the law go beyond what the courts can clarify: "The law is so bad, that the Legislature is going to have to act."

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