|Photo: Daniel Mears/The Detroit News
|Patient/activist Robert Redden shows his Michigan medical marijuana card outside Wednesday’s hearing.
In Michigan, anti-pot local law enforcement is challenging in court the state’s 2008 law, passed by 63 percent of the voters, that allows distribution of medical marijuana.
A probable cause hearing began Wednesday for nine Oakland County, Mich., residents charged in a case that began when they were arrested August 25. All of the defendants are free on bond. The accused were associated with Clinical Relief, a Ferndale marijuana dispensary, reports Doug Guthrie of The Detroit News.
A warehouse in Macomb County and two dispensaries in Waterford Township were also raided, leading to other arrests.
About 50 people demonstrated outside the hearing in favor of the medical marijuana law and against the law enforcement crackdown.
A Troy police officer, who served as an undercover investigator with the Oakland County Narcotics Team, testified Wednesday that in July she went into Clinical Relief with a fake medical marijuana card and lied to a clinic worker about suffering headaches and experiencing neck pain from a car crash, in order to buy an eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) of marijuana.
Defense lawyers argued that because Michigan considers issuance of the cards private medical information, there is no way for a marijuana dispensary to confirm if a card is real or fake.
Lawyers for the defendants said no laws were broken because the dispensary operated within rules established by the law. Oakland County’s prosecutor and sheriff brought the charges to test the state law, according to the defendants’ lawyers.
There have been arrests and confusion over the law throughout Michigan.
A Michigan Court of Appeals judge in September urged state lawmakers to clarify the “inartfully drafted” law, which he claimed has become a “nightmare.”
Under Michigan’s medical marijuana law, a doctor’s authorization is needed for a state-issued medical marijuana ID card from the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). The card allows patients to possess and use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
MDCH reports that it has received 69,530 applications for medical marijuana cards. So far, it has approved only 37,730.
District Judge Joseph Longo did not decide Wednesday whether to bind the defendants over for trial in Oakland County Circuit Court. The hearing continues Friday.