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Dispensary owners are being arrested for felony drug crimes

Medical marijuana in Michigan was meant to bring about pain relief and other positive medical outcomes for persons suffering from specified chronic conditions. However, difficulties with the interpretation and application of the caretaker provisions of the law continue to crop up. Raids of marijuana dispensaries in the northern part of the state have been taking place recently, with the result that dispensary owners are facing charges for drug crimes, which is certainly not an intended outcome of the law's intent.

The caregiver provisions of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act cap the number of patients at five for any one caregiver. The caregiver is trained to maintain and prepare the plants and ingredients approved for each patient. Due to the widespread negative impact of the Northern Michigan raids, at least one dispensary owner is speaking out.

The police tactics in these raids do not necessarily appear to have the patients' interests at heart. The authorities allegedly seized 20 pounds of processed marijuana, 22 marijuana plants and various marijuana edibles and mixtures. The owner of Cloud 45 dispensary reported those facts and verified that he was arrested on drug crimes charges.

Serious enforcement abuses over the caretaker issue should be returned to the Michigan legislature for further review. The weaknesses and ambiguities in the law may need to be evaluated in light of recent experience. One intention of the law was to allow growers and dispensary owners the ability to make a reasonable profit on their enterprises and for their efforts.

The police raided five dispensaries in or near Gaylord on Aug. 4. The Otsego County prosecutor said that his undercover agents bought pot from caretakers who went beyond the five-patient limit. Those people were charged with felony drug crimes. The problem appears to not justify the kind of strong-arm tactics being used on dispensaries trying to keep up with the complicated Michigan law. There are not widespread reports of this kind of problem in other states nor has there generally been the same intensive and possibly overreaching enforcement efforts in other parts of Michigan.

Source: mlive.com, "Arrested marijuana dispensary owner says Michigan raids hurt patients", Brad Devereaux, Aug. 4, 2017

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