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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Michigan News for April 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Traffic Stop Leads to Possession and Weapons Charges
Owosso: A man from Owosso was arrested in Indiana this month after a routine traffic stop led to the discovery of 2 loaded handguns, over a pound of marijuana, and more than 200 pieces of paraphernalia. Police in Indiana contacted Michigan police, who searched the man’s home in Owosso and found a large grow operation consisting of more than 36 plants and 100 grams of processed flowers. He will be held in Indiana on charges of possession with intent to sell, possession of a handgun without a license, and possession of paraphernalia before being turned over to the Michigan State Police. 

Pontiac Man Sentenced 2 to 40 Years
Oakland County: Richard Lee Hartwick has been fighting growing and possession charges since his home was raided in 2012. His case went to the Michigan Supreme Court before it was remanded to the Oakland County Circuit Court. Once handed back to the Circuit Court, Hartwick’s lawyer attempted to get the case dismissed ‘due to the involvement of a former officer’ who initially took the report but was fired in 2013 after being accused of lying on the witness stand in an unrelated marijuana case. Judge Matthews denied the dismissal and sentenced Hartwick to 2 to 40 years in prison, an enhanced sentence because of the fourth-time offender laws in Michigan. Hartwick has maintained his innocence and claims that his medical marijuana card made him immune to the charges. 

CMU Cannabis Use on the Rise
Mt. Pleasant: Marijuana use on the Central Michigan Campus has nearly doubled over the last 4 years, according to the CMU police department. In 2012 there were 45 incidents of marijuana use reported, but that number has increased to 82 in 2015. Since 2012, 96% of drug related complaints rise from marijuana while only 3% involved prescription drug use. Most incidents of drug use are reported when a staff member can smell the plant coming from a room in the dorm. The smell is conveyed to police who confront the suspected user, confiscate any related material found, and decide whether to press charges or turn the student over to the Office of Student Conduct. While the police are finding that, in many cases, the student has a medical card, marijuana is still banned on campus. This rule forces students, who have their cards, to medicate and store their medication at a location that is not as easily accessible for them. Police, however, say that it’s still an illegal substance and a big deal, so the policy will probably not change any time soon. Alcohol incidents were not included in any data. 

One Last Hit
Clinton Township: Nycassio Hinds, a 36 year old from Clinton Township, apparently decided if he was going to go to jail for operating an unregistered vehicle with an illegal license plate he was going to finish his joint and call his family first. State police attempted to stop Hinds after noticing he had an improper plate on his vehicle, but he continued driving, even holding up his index finger at one point, indicating he needed a minute before he would pull over. According to police, Hinds knew he had a warrant in Florida, had marijuana in his possession, and assumed he would be going to jail. So he took the extra time to finish his joint and call his family while adding fleeing an officer and driving while impaired to his charges. Shelby Township police assisted State police to box the suspect in and arrest him without incident. His extradition to Florida for narcotics charges has been placed on hold. 

W.E.M.E.T. Raids 4 Dispensaries
Allegan County: The West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) raided four dispensaries in Allegan County this month after receiving silent observer tips that the businesses were not distributing to their own registered patients. The raids commenced after undercover officers were able to buy the medication without being patients registered to the distributor. Police say the dispensaries did not appear to be marijuana shops, for example one shop looked to be an antique store at first glance.

     While dispensaries are not currently legal, there are many counties in which the prosecutors will not pursue charges. Though no one has yet been arrested as a result of the raids, officers are considering charges for selling the products to patients not registered to the distributing caregivers. The police also confiscated THC infused candies and brownies, which are still illegal under the current MMP. Lt. Nate Grant told mLive that people working in the dispensaries usually have one of two responses to this type of raid; ‘either they believed that they were allowed to sell to any legal cardholder, or they knew it was illegal but wanted to get the jump on possible legalization in the fall.’

Man Sentenced for Growing in National Forest
Grand Rapids: Quinton Allen Mosley Sr. was sentenced this month to a little over 7 years in prison for what authorities call ‘conspiracy to make money from the illegal cultivation, harvest, sale, and distribution of marijuana’ that has spanned nearly a decade. Police say that Mosley and his coconspirators, including three of his family members, have been growing marijuana in heavily forested areas on federal land. Mosley was found to be harvesting 1,800 plants in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Officials believe Mosley began distributing largely to fund his own drug addiction which is reported to include morphine, OxyContin, and methadone.


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