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Monday, July 10, 2017

Michigan News for July 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Tinted Windows Lead to Arrest
Worth Township: State police pulled over a 36-year-old St. Clair County man for a window tint violation late last month. Police found reason to search the man’s vehicle where they found more than 17 pounds of marijuana. The dried flowers were found in 32 vacuumed-sealed bags near $6,433, which was also seized. The owner of the vehicle was taken to the Sanilac County Jail to face charges of marijuana delivery.

House Fire
Solon Township: Firefighters arrived on the scene of a large house fire in Kent County after neighbors heard an explosion come from the home, followed by smoke. Authorities are investigating whether a marijuana wax operation is responsible for the late-night fire. The house’s three occupants were in the home when the explosion occurred, one was taken to the hospital with severe burns. Many producers of wax use butane gas to extract the THC from marijuana leaves, making it a dangerous operation for those that don’t know what they are doing. The incident is still under investigation.

Michigan Marijuana Board
Lansing: The new medical marijuana board met for the first time last month. The board was created by the new program approved by Legislature to fix problem associated with the original MMMA of 2008. The board was made to issue licenses as well as ensuring patients, growers, and retailers follow the laws set by the Medical Marijuana Act. The first meeting was centered around hearing from members of the public who are interested in the issues. Licenses and permits will not begin being issued by the board until next year.

Large Haul
Detroit: After a six-month investigation police raided three locations across Macomb and Oakland counties. Between all the locations officers confiscated more than 20,000 vape pen cartridges, 477 plants, and 100 pounds of marijuana. One man was arrested after authorities learned he leased the industrial properties to illegally grow marijuana and distribute it to dispensaries throughout Detroit. After the arrest, officers searched the suspects home and seized an additional 49 plants, processed cannabis, and $11,350. The suspect is believed to have been laundering the money through a casino in Toledo, Ohio. This is just the most recent raid in the area as police try to shut down illegal dispensaries and grow operations across Detroit. According to the Detroit Free Press, authorities have already shut down 167 dispensaries and estimate that another 116 are still operating illegally in the city.

Cannabis Cup
Clio: The fourth Midwest Cannabis Cup, held at the Auto City Speedway, took place last month. The annual event is organized by High Times magazine and includes marijuana related food, music, and seminars. Different strains of cannabis were available for sampling at dozens of vendor tents, while a tent near the entrance assisted patients in obtaining their medical marijuana card. Musical acts included Wu-Tang Clan, 50 Cent, Nelly, Trick Trick, and local artist Danny Brown. The festivities also included speakers discussing women in the marijuana industry, growing tips, and veteran issues. There was even an Italian cooking competition using cannabis-infused ingredients. The large number of visitors that attended the event are a testament to the changing attitude toward marijuana in Michigan.

Up in Smoke
Woodhaven: A home grow operation is believed to be responsible for an early morning condo fire that took place June 12th. Firefighters were called to the Kirkway Village condos at 6:30am after a passerby saw smoke coming from the building. The grow operation was found the in garage where the fire originated. The owner of the condo claims he began growing a few month ago when he was approved for his medical marijuana license. While the space that he was growing in was considered legal by the MMMA, the number of plants he had were above the state limit. There were 12 mature plants and 9 smaller, unpotted plants. Under the law patients and caregivers may grow 12 plants per patient, this includes all plants large and small. According to police Detective Lt. Scott Fraczek, “[The patient] claims he misunderstood what he was growing and the nine smaller plants didn't constitute as a plant.” Though the operation was appropriately set up, the ventilation system was inadequate. Fire officials believe a fan in the room either short circuited or over heated. All 21 plants were confiscated by Woodhaven Police and information will be given to the Prosecutors office who will decide if charges are warranted.

Boobytraps Aren’t Screwing Around

Wyoming: In April, the MMM Report featured the story of an officer that was wounded at a grow operation while investigating an attempted break-in. The officer scaled a fence, to check on a broken window, and impaled his feet on a sheet of plywood with more than 100 screws sticking upward out of it. No charges were filed against the person who set up the plywood, as prosecutors were unable to find a criminal statute that applies to the situation. However, owner of the operation, Stacy Hahn, was found to be growing 87 plants in the facility and has been charged with delivery/manufacturing marijuana as well as maintaining a drug house.

     Though she was only given probation, Hahn received an earful from Judge Mark Trusock who feels the MMMA is “poorly written”. Trusock told Hahn, “I quite frankly believe the people who wrote that statute were probably smoking it at the time. It is poorly written and most attorneys can’t understand it. This is, unfortunately, another situation where someone was trying to comply as best as you could with the medical marijuana act. Here you had 87 plants, which was more than what was allowed. This was not a situation where you were selling to people illegally on the street.’’ The most plants allowed by one caregiver is 72, which Hahn exceeded by 15 plants. Hahn received a year of probation as well as 150 hours of community service due to her otherwise spotless record.


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