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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Felonious “Caring” of Firearms - by Daniel L. Price, Esquire


     This month, I want to tell you a story to explain an issue, rather than just write the issue down.  Even though it is a different way to explain, it should still be helpful to those who read this article.

     My name is Thomas J.  I’ve always wanted to help others with cancer, because my mother suffered the terrible effects of cancer for years before she died.  When Michigan finally legalized the use of medical marijuana, I rushed to become a caregiver and provide relief for those in pain.  I always chose cancer patients, as it was so close to my heart because of my experience with my mother.  But what I would experience as a result of wanting to help others changed my life forever.

     I was trimming my herbs in my pole barn on the 180 acres of farmland I owned.  I used that property to grow food for my family, and herbs, including marijuana.  I was able to perfect a strain of marijuana that could allow people with cancer to function again, and it yielded 8 ounces per plant, so it was very efficient.  I built my 40’ x 60’ two-story pole barn for growing, drying, and storing the medicine. 

     On the morning of July 13th, I was busy on the second floor of the pole barn tending to a nearly dried crop of the medicinal herb.  Suddenly I heard a loud explosion on the main floor that shook the entire building. Without thinking, I pulled my pistol and headed to the closet in which I kept my shotgun. In that instant 20 men burst up the stairs.  They were wearing black uniforms, and helmets with visors darkened in such a way that I could not see their faces.  They saw my pistol and began shooting in my direction.  One of their gang managed to hit me in the leg before someone shouted through a loud speaker, “Police, lay down your weapon and lay on your stomach or we will kill you!”

     I laid my pistol down, and dropped to my stomach, while out of my leg flowed blood forming a pool on the floor.  One of the hooded black-boots dropped a knee on the back of my neck, as another grabbed my wrists and slapped hand-cuffs on so tight that my hands went instantly numb.  The pressure on my neck was so great it felt like a building dropped on me.  Then all at once my world went dark.

     I woke up the in the hospital not knowing how long I had been there.  I tried to move, but my limbs would not respond.  Although my head was still a little cloudy, I realized my hands and feet were chained to the bed upon which I laid. 

     On a television screen I saw a man in a black robe.  Looking upon that face I knew I was seeing a face that never smiled.  It was the angriest, meanest, and at the same time saddest face I ever saw.  It reminded me of a person who had nothing but hatred in his heart, for others, himself, and for life itself. 

     The robed man informed me that I was being charged with felony criminal manufacturing of a controlled substance with a maximum term of life; operating a laboratory manufacturing a controlled substance, with a maximum term of life;  possession of over 1,000 grams of illegal drugs with maximum term of life; firearms possession while committing a felony that carried a mandatory 2 years without parole; and possessing a firearm, with intent to use it unlawfully against another person, with up to 5 years imprisonment.  I faintly heard someone say, “not guilty your honor”. 

Later I asked a million questions of my nurse.  She explained that I had surgery a couple days ago to remove several bullets from my leg and to cut away the soft tissue between the bones of my neck because of the damage caused by being pinned down.  She also explained that the person who said not guilty was a court appointed lawyer who was in the courtroom with the judge.

     The nurse was kind enough to read a pink pile of papers for me.  She said it was a “seizure notice” and proceeded to read the list of my property the police took.   The list took several minutes to read.  It included my 180 acres and the home and pole barn, all of my crops, including food for my family, tractors, harvesters, and all of my farming equipment.  They even took my brand new pick-up truck, the $150,000.00 I had stashed in my drawer that I had been saving all my life, and the cherry 1969 Camaro that I bought when I was 17. 

     I had to fight.  This was all wrong.  How could I be guilty of crimes when all I ever did was grow food, herbs and try to protect my family?  I had a caregiver card so I could help the sick and dying, and I never provided any medicine to anyone other than my 5 patients.  And, I only had 60 plants growing, along with the stuff drying.  My lawyer asked me how many clones I had going, because the police report said I had 120 plants.  Well…yes, I had 60 clones so I could plant the next crop when the plants were ready to harvest.  I did this so that I would not run out of medicine for my patients.

     My lawyer did bring a motion to assert the protections of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (“MMMA”), but the judge denied the motion stating that because I had too many plants and over 13,000 grams of dried marijuana the MMMA protections did not extend to me.  My lawyer then advised me to plead guilty to 1 count of felony firearms possession and serve the 2 year mandatory sentence and he could get all the other charges dismissed.  I asked him about all my property, he assured me that I “could kiss it all goodbye, because that’s what the police really want, your money and property”.  It seems the police who raided my farm were a special narcotics team that is 95% funded by taking money and property from citizens.

     I then asked my lawyer how I could be guilty of a felony firearms crime when I had legal ownership of my weapons, and the clones were not plants, but seedlings.  “Well”, he said, “in Michigan, if you have a firearm, and you commit a felony, that means you possess a firearm while you committed the felony. Since the judge ruled that the MMMA protections are denied to you, you are guilty of the felonies with which you are charged.”

The lawyer then went on to say, that over the years government actors convinced people to vote to criminalize growing and using certain plants because they were deemed to be harmful to the “public welfare”, the “public safety”, and the “public good”.  Although these things cannot be defined and do not really exist, that is just the way it is because people still believe these things. And the belief in “public welfare”, “public safety”, and “public good” is the reason even the people who grow and use those herbs still vote for them to be illegal.

     The lawyer continued that many of those government actors hate the fact that the voters forced the legislature to enact the MMMA.  He even told me that the judge in my case spends a great deal of time every evening drinking in the local pubs and bars discussing how important it is to jail everyone connected with medical marijuana.  And, that the judge had made it his life mission to make those who exercise their freedom to pay for actually having the nerve to live their life, and help others in the process, without the permission of government actors. 

     So here I am, all my property is gone.  My wife and kids have no place to live.  I am also facing life in prison if I don’t make a deal.  And if I make the deal, I will serve a mandatory 2 year prison sentence.  Why?  I wanted to help cancer patients, and protect myself and my family.

     My advice to others like me is to assert your rights at the ballot box.  Vote for those who speak of the freedom of the individual, and stop voting for those who promise to give you something they will take from your neighbor. 

      The above story is fictional, and the goals and personalities of those in justice system have been exaggerated. But, events like this are taking place all over the State of Michigan.  Also, the laws as outlined above are current and you can be charged with felony firearms when being charged with other felonies, such as manufacture of marijuana.  The problem is this will continue to take place here in Michigan unless we voters do something about it.

Next month I’ll address another legal issue of medical marihuana.  Until then, keep rolling on.

Disclaimer:  This is an informational article only.  It is not to provide individual legal advice.  If you need legal services, feel free to contact me at liberty13legaldefense.com, or any attorney of your choosing.

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