Monday, January 10, 2011

Use of National Guard in federal raids in Michigan raid raises local questions

Written by  dan glaser
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Thank you, to the Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board (http://www.mmmab.net/), for forwarding the following information to KMUD News:


Use of National Guard in federal raid raises questions

Michigan National Guard provided helicopters for Nov. drug raid

By Todd A. Heywood | 01.06.11 | 11:00 am

LANSING — On Nov. 30, the Drug Enforcement Agency raided a facility in Meridian Township. Along with ground forces, the Michigan National Guard provided two Blackhawk helicopters to assist in the operation. 

The facility was a joint growing operation by several registered patient caregivers. The caregivers decided to rent the facility to grow medical marijuana for their patients, and remove the drug from their homes.

Dave Clark, an Okemos attorney representing one of the patient caregivers, told the City Pulse that his client and the others had done nothing illegal.

“We were surprised there was even a warrant. Everything inside was legal under state law,” Clark said. “I’m sure it was 100 percent legal.”

Clark and his client were not the only ones surprised by the raid. Meridian Township Police Chief Dave Hall tells Michigan Messenger that his department was never informed of the raid by federal authorities. Traditionally, when a law enforcement agency is going to be engaged in an action in another jurisdiction, they let the law enforcement from that jurisdiction know. This is done to prevent sending officers to the scene of a police action because of 9-1-1 calls.

United States District Attorney Rene Shekmer of the Western District in Grand Rapids told the City Pulse that the raid was conducted at several locations, and agents seized 400 plants, as well as growing equipment.

“Under federal law, there is no exemption for medical marijuana. Under Michigan law, there are limits and rules you have to follow,” Shekmer told the City Pulse. “As a broad brush, it does not appear they were (state-compliant) because of the number of plants.”

Feds are also seeking information from the Michigan Department of Community Health about several medical marijuana caregivers. It is widely believed this subpoena, issued in June, is directed at the caregivers involved in the Meridian Township growing operation.

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