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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Michigan News for February 2016 Part 2 - by Ben Horner

Magic Buds Raided
Kalkaska: Owner of Magic Buds Provisioning Center in Kalkaska, Ken Murray, opened the dispensary after the moratorium on medical marijuana centers expired. He received a use permit and felt he was in full compliance, and began working with the local leaders to set up an ordinance to license Provisioning Centers and cultivation centers. In November of last year the village adopted the ordinance, which was set to go into effect December 17th. Three days prior to the ordinance to regulate Ken’s new business went into effect, the Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT) decided to raid Magic Buds and the Murray home.

      “Where’s the Money,” shouted the officers raiding his house. Traumatized, Ken cooperated as much as he could but he didn’t have the large sums of money that they where looking for. Bank accounts were frozen, but there wasn’t much there either. TNT took the meds at the dispensary and what little cash they could find. So far, no charges have been filed as a result of the raid.

     Ken reopened the store shortly after the raid. On January 31 he received his license from the Village of Kalkaska to operate his dispensary.  

Mixed Verdicts for Al Witt
Gaylord: The jury trial for Al Witt, co-owner of Cloud 45, was a huge disappointment. Al was convicted by a jury of his peers in one of the oddest court scenes, after losing his section eight hearing that gave him a medical marijuana defense. The jury found him not guilty on one charge, hung on another and guilty on the charge of delivery and manufacturing a controlled substance.

     The charges are a result of the raids on all the dispensaries in Gaylord. Al Witt was working at Gaylord Provisions when a confidential informant (CI), came in to the dispensary and made a controlled buy for the Traverse Narcotics Team. 

     The trial began on the same day that a Gaylord ordinance allowing for medical marijuana centers went into effect. The ordinance was introduced as a petition drafted by the Cannabis Stakeholders Group (CSG), managed by Al Witt. Al told the MMM Report that he plans to appeal.

     Courtroom support came in a unified way from Al’s local community, and from several business around the state including Sweetleaf of Flint, Hybrid Magazine, Bid Daddy’s Organics, Gaylord Provisions, Seed2Cure, Jamie Lowell from Third Coast, Nick Panessidi from Michigan Safe Transfer, The Herbal Center of Mt. Morris, Captain Kirk,  AllWell Natural Health and D&L’s Medical Exchange of Gaylord. Activist attorney Sarah Swain from Kansas flew in to support Al. The overwhelming Unity gallivanted at the Otsego Club for a unity forum.

Activists Unite for Safe Access
Owosso: On January 4th, the city council of Owosso considered making an update to the cities recent medical marijuana ordinance after the Owosso Relief Center opened downtown after successfully securing a use permit through the city. During the comment section, Attorney Matt Abel from MI Norml and Cannabis Council in Detroit made it clear that it was not right to change the ordinance in such a fashion and declared that they would litigate if the council voted to amend the ordinance to push out Owosso Relief Center. Al Witt, Chad Morrow, Hemptress Jolene and myself, Ben Horner representing the Cannabis Stake Holders came to add comment. The council deliberated for some time before deciding in favor of Owosso Relief Center. Safe access was saved by a combined effort and a show of unity.

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