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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

STOP THE RAIDS! - by Hemptress Jolene

Emmet County Michigan: Protesters in Emmet County gathered twice this last month outside the County’s main building on Division Street in downtown Petoskey. The group was there demonstrating to protest the county’s continued use of the local narcotics team, SANE, on cardholding medical patients and caregivers. SANE is the Straights Area Narcotics Enforcement team, a multi-jurisdictional task force that investigates criminal and drug activity in Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Luce, Mackinac, and Ostego counties. The group opposed to SANE’s raids first gathered on September 3rd, 2015 and then again on September 17th.  They cited their main goal being to end the use of SANE raids in their county.  The group hopes also that the county wide dispensary moratorium will be lifted.  James Dyer, a group representative and resident of Cross Village explained, “Criminals are still people too and nonviolent cannabis users do NOT deserve to have their doors kicked down for growing medicine, especially if they have their cards and are part of the medical marihuana program here in Michigan.”

     Dyer and many other members of the protest (some who wish not to be named because of their cases), became involved when their houses and the houses of friends and family where raided by SANE in April of this year.  In several cases, senseless items like children’s toys and ipads were seized, and Enforcement team members behaved like thugs, breaking valuable items and trashing children’s rooms.  The ultimate upset to the group was the disrespect for the ashes of a loved one from one of the homes. 

     After the first protest, members from the group were featured on the Ron Jolly Show where they were joined by Charmie Gholson of Mom’s United to End the Drug War, who had been helping activists and raid victims organize since the first raids occurred back in March/April. During the week leading up to the second protest, SANE was quite active out in Cross Village, raiding several of Dyer’s carded family members as well as several other outdoor grows in the area. The full extent of everyone affected is not yet known. 

     On the 17th, Emmet county protestors were joined by Alan Witt and several other victims of the Gaylord raids, all were speaking out together against SANE, their tactics, and their continued raids on carded patients, caregivers and their families.  “The access to medicine is pretty much gone up here.  Our closest dispensaries are Mancelona and Traverse City, so if you don’t have a caregiver connected to you through the registry you’re pretty much out of luck.  Or you’re asking someone to step outside the law, at least the way the courts are currently reading the law,” said a victim and representative of Northern Michigan Court Support.   The protests have been supported by Northern Michigan Court Support and Moms United to End the Drug War.  The groups plan to continue organizing against SANE, and cite some of their next steps as petitioning the city, and working with the local commissioners to have a retroactive moratorium on cannabis raids in Emmet County.

    To connect with the groups find them on facebook via Northern Michigan Court Support or hashtags #shameonsane and #stoptheraids.

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