Michigan residents may have heard about the recent arrests made in relation to a drug bust in the counties of Kalamazoo and Van Buren. There were eight individuals arrested and each is being charged with drug crimes that could carry a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a large fine up to $10 million, in addition to five years of supervised release. These charges include conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of methamphetamine.
Twelve people in Michigan were arrested recently. Federal and state authorities have charged these individuals with drug crimes in Oakland County and some of the surrounding areas. Many of these defendants, if convicted, may face enhanced penalties for the crimes of which they are accused. This may include serving up to life in prison. Some of the charges date back to 2013.
State and federal law enforcement are said to have cooperated in a large-scale drug bust recently. Federal warrants were obtained in early September for the arrest of 18 individuals, 13 of whom were said to reside in West Michigan. All but four of the individuals are now in custody and facing federal charges of drug crimes. The authorities have requested the public's help in locating the four who remain at large.
The opioid epidemic in Michigan and throughout the country has caused law enforcement and other agencies to devise strategies to combat that form of drug traffic. They have also focused on trying to reduce the numbers of overdose deaths from opioid use. One strategy of law enforcement agencies has been to crack down and include, in addition to drug crimes, a charge of homicide against the dealers who provide drugs to the individual who then dies from an overdose.
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 federal prisons are filled with individuals from Michigan and elsewhere who have been convicted of drug charges. Many of these persons are serving draconian sentences for drug crimes under unrelenting federal sentencing guidelines. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the guidelines are not mandatory, the federal district court judges continue to pay homage to the steep guidelines sentencing frameworks.
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.