The advent of medical marijuana has been a step forward for Michigan and other states with respect to reversing the harsh results of the decades-long war on drugs. However, with most new laws that liberalize prior unreasonable policies, a new set of necessary laws and regulations emerges. It may even be said that a new category of drug crimes has sprung up due to the expressed need to regulate the medical marijuana industry.
The problem was illustrated by a recent arrest in Gaylord that was conducted by the Michigan State Police and the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement team. The enforcement team alleges that it received a tip that marijuana was being grown near a medical marijuana dispensary. The team alleges that it followed up and obtained a search warrant.
Authorities seized 26 marijuana plants that had been growing in pots near the back door of the dispensary, according to state police detectives. The police also allegedly seized marijuana cigarettes, wax, Tramadol, cash and other evidence. They reportedly also seized Norco tablets and marijuana from the vehicle of two persons who arrived at the dispensary during the search.
The police arrested the woman who was running the dispensary during the search, charging her with manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to deliver the drug and Tramadol possession. Police indicated there is an ongoing investigation and further warrants would issue. However, it may be that some of the police procedures are unjustified, a premise that will have to be determined by defense counsel's investigation.
Although the reported facts are incomplete, it appears that the police may have acted without reasonable suspicion under Michigan law when they seized pills and marijuana from the vehicle of the two persons who arrived during the search. It appears arguable that the police simply searched the car due to the arrival of the two at the dispensary, thereby making a broad leap of unsupported conjecture that was insufficient to justify a vehicle search. The drug crimes alleged against the dispensary employee will require further investigation by defense counsel to determine if she was in fact involved in any criminal activity.
Source: cheboygannews.com, "Drug-related arrest made", Kortny Hahn, July 12, 2017