|Photo: Real Missions, Real Life|
A legal, card-carrying medical marijuana caregiver who was growing cannabis in his backyard to treat his wife’s Stage 3 breast cancer will be sentenced on Thursday for “manufacturing marijuana.”
Gary Alan Katz, 59, pleaded guilty last month to the charge after officers with the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team (LAWNET) raided his home on August 10, 2010, reports Lisa Roose-Church at the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus.
Both the defendant and his wife, Jeanne Katz — who wasn’t charged in the case — declined to comment.
“The fact you’re doing a good thing on the side doesn’t justify” illegal behavior, Prosecutor David Morse said when asked why Gary Katz was charged.
“We cut the guy some slack,” Morse claimed. “There were guns recovered. He could have been charged as a felon in possession of a firearm … I recognize he may have been doing some good things here, but there are other ways to help.” Yeah, like throwing the caregiver in prison?
|Livingston County Michigan Prosecuting Attorney|
|This guy’s an asshole: Prosecuting Attorney David Morse claims “We cut the guy some slack”|
Morse said the wife, Jeanne Katz, was not charged because she had “no liability” in the found marijuana.
On the other hand, Gary Katz’s prior criminal history includes a conviction for delivery and manufacturing of marijuana. He faces up to eight years in prison when he is sentenced Thursday on the manufacturing charge.
A conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm would have added an automatic two-year sentence running consecutively to any other conviction.
An April blog posting on the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association’s website details the experience of Mr. and Mrs. Katz.
That blog entry, which is labeled “my account from the time I was awoken by my husband with an officer standing at my bedroom door,” indicates LAWNET officers stormed the couple’s home at about 11 a.m. on August 10.
The writer indicates she and her husband, both medical marijuana patients and caregivers, decided to store their marijuana in a “secured yard with a 6-foot fence, locked up.” However, the enclosure did not have a roof.
According to the writer, officers said they got a tip about marijuana growing outside the couple’s home and “that it was illegal to grow outside without a top.” However, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act does not specifically say that, according to the writer.
Incredibly, prosecutor Morse claimed he was “not familiar with the details of the raid,” which really seems like it shouldn’t be too much trouble to do, when you’re talking about sending a man away for eight years — especially when his wife has Stage 3 cancer.
But even in his ignorance of the details, Morse said Katz could not grow marijuana for medical reasons “in the manner he was doing it.” He said the defense apparently agreed because the defendant pleaded guilty to the charge. (Please keep this in mind next time you’re tempted to cop a guilty plea.)
“Everyone talks about how ambiguous the law is, but in our cases, the plain reading of the statute will tell you it’s illegal,” a cocky Morse claimed, obviously proud of sending a husband to prison for taking care of his cancer-stricken wife.