|Photo: Gus Burns/The Saginaw News
|John Roberts, 48, said he and his fiancee, Stephanie Whisman, 38, were raided after he organized a medical marijuana protest last week. Roberts is holding a syringe of Rick Simpson hemp oil, a liquid cannabis extract ingested orally for pain and to induce sleep.
Perhaps as a warning to those who dare to speak out, federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Tuesday raided the home of a Michigan medical marijuana patient, activist and caregiver after he organized a protest outside the Saginaw County Courthouse last week.
John F. Roberts, 49, of Thomas Township, said he believes the raid was in retaliation because he organized last week’s protest accusing the Saginaw County Sheriff of raiding patients and caregivers, reports Kim Russell at NBC 25
. Protesters had come from around the state, some holding signs reading, “Learn The Law.”
“Our patients had to suffer because they [law enforcement]don’t believe in it,” said Roberts at last week’s protest. “I don’t give a rat’s ass what they believe in.”
According to Roberts, a member of Tri-County Compassion Club, he has patients who depend upon him for their marijuana supply, who will now suffer.
Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel claimed his department “had nothing to do” with the raid, and that it was part of a federal investigation.
Roberts said he was near the back of his multiple-acre property when unmarked cars pulled onto the shoulder of the road near his home. He said agents exited the vehicles with their guns drawn, reports Gus Burns at The Saginaw News
According to Roberts, he was handcuffed less than 10 yards from a pile of protest signs left over after Friday’s protest rally. One of the green “Learn The Law” posters lay visible atop the pile.
Behind the pile of signs were some children’s toys and a large shed where Roberts and his fiancee, Stephanie Whisman, 38, also a caregiver, had been growing marijuana.
This was the second marijuana raid at Roberts’ home in four months. Neither Roberts nor Whisman have been charged since agents and Saginaw County sheriff’s deputies first raided their home on April 15 — the same day the home of Saginaw Township resident and medical marijuana patient Edwin W. Boyke, 64, was also searched.
Boyke’s grow equipment was destroyed, and his property and marijuana were seized in that raid. Much of it was later returned after Boyke agreed to pay $5,000 to get his own property back.
|John Roberts organized this protest last week, criticizing law enforcement tactics — and got raided Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Roberts and Whisman said law enforcement is unfairly targeting them.
According to Roberts and Whisman, they are allowed to possess 132 plants and a little more than 1.5 pounds of “usable marijuana,” based on the 10 patients for whom they care — five each — and Roberts’ individual patient allotment.
“I may lose everything I own,” Roberts said. “I’m terrified, utterly terrified.”
Roberts, on the advice of his attorney, wouldn’t discuss specifically what agents seized, but said they had less than what Michigan law allows. DEA agents confiscated about $10,000 worth of growing equipment, he said.
“They came in, and even the cops were there, they said the medical did not matter,” Roberts said. “They will not recognize medical marijuana.”
“They’re like Gestapo,” said Kim Zimmer, 54, of Saginaw, president of the Tri-County Compassion Club, reports Gus Burns at The Saginaw News
. “They act like kids, the way they love to go in there and tear stuff up.”
“Now I don’t know where I’m going to get my medicine that I need,” said Zimmer, who said she has had more than 30 surgeries and is one of Roberts and Whisman’s patients.
“What John and Stephanie are growing, it works completely on what is bothering me,” Zimmer said. “And I feel better, I don’t feel pressured with having to take pain pills.”
“We live in fear,” Roberts said. “This is America?”
“I don’t think so anymore,” he said. “I don’t know what this country is. I really don’t.”
Thomas Township police, ignoring the fact that Roberts is legal under the state’s medical marijuana law, supported federal agents in the raid.
The DEA could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.