Smell of Skunk on Michigan Kindergartner Leads Cops to Daddy’s Grow



A Michigan medical marijuana patient says that cops had no right to search his home and discover his alleged 200-plant grow after his 6-year-old kindergartner showed up at school in January with a skunky smell on their clothes.

To be real: kids often smell funny. But the smell was strong enough and distinct enough that it led Woodland Elementary School Principal Darren Petschar to call the cops and report the girl and her family to local police. Cops say the girl told a teacher that her dad was “growing marijuana in the basement of their residence and that she was not supposed to tell anyone.”
Five days later, cops showed up at the Fleck residence and found 200 plants, though his attorney says the search was completely unconstitutional.
Fleck is a registered medical marijuana patient in Michigan, though the law only allows up to 12 plants to be grown at a time by individuals. But Fleck’s attorney argues that his marijuana card alone means that cops had no probable cause to believe anything was wrong. And courts have ruled that the smell of raw marijuana alone is not enough to search someone’s home.

“The mere allegations that the kindergarten-age child smelled like marijuana and that Mr. Fieck’s home smelled like marijuana is insufficient for the magistrate to issue the search warrant,” Fleck’s attorney, Karl P.Numinen, wrote a May brief, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The officers had no reason to suspect that the quantity of marijuana was more than allowed”.
But the judge in the case says differently. He says Fleck refused to allow cops in to see his grow or to even tell them how many plants he was growing. He ways that a prior Michigan Court of Appeals case decision meant medical marijuana cards don’t preempt otherwise legal search warrants from being served.
The case is now moving to U.S. District court in Marquette, Michigan. The first pretrial hearing is scheduled for the first week of October.
Being a parent and a marijuana grower is tough, even in states where it is legal. Parents can still lose their children in most states for simply cultivating pot, even if it is within state medical (or in the case of Colorado, recreational) laws. Explaining to a preschooler that the plants in the basement are all okay, but that they are secrets and shouldn’t be talked about with anyone can put children in an awful situation. In Colorado, a group of activists have been working to make marijuana use (including legal cultivation) a right.