Drug Law

Michigan Narcs Raid Medical Marijuana Patient Lounge

| by NORML

WILLIAMSTOWN TWP. (Lansing State Journal) – Terry Clark is one of more than 16,000 people in Michigan certified to smoke marijuana for medical reasons, which is exactly what he was doing Wednesday afternoon when officers from the Tri-County Metro Narcotics Squad burst into the Green Leaf Smokers Club outside Williamston with guns drawn.

“They treated us like criminals, forced us to the ground, even though I have to walk with a cane,” said Clark, 48, who said he suffers from arthritis, seizures and chronic pain.

He and the one other customer in the club eventually were asked to show their state-issued medical marijuana cards, which they did, Clark said. They were then allowed to leave.

Law enforcement officials remained mum about the reasons for the raid and its results.

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Wayne Dagit, owner of the Green Leaf, has said the private club does not dispense marijuana. Rather, it’s a place where certified users can come to use the drug together, so long as they bring their own supply.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, whose department handles law enforcement in the county, has called the club “a joke.”

“This is exactly what law enforcement said would happen when they passed the (medical marijuana ballot measure),” he said in February. “This has nothing to do with medicinal marijuana. This has to do with getting high.”

The sheriff is joined by others in the comments echoing that sentiment:

This club is not what I voted yes on. …This was all supposed to be done out of site in the privacy of one’s home. I hope the law gets changed to eliminate these loopholes, without harming the intent of what we thought we were voting YES on.

I agree that these places are a joke, nothin but a big pot session, sit around and get stoned with other stoners

A raid means that there is something unlawful going on so they are not law abiding citizens. Duh !! Another good job by the Sheriff. You can’t just go smoke Marijuana any where you want people.

Needless to say, this notion that sick and disabled people should be virtually chained to the radiator in their basement and forbidden to socialize really disgusts me.

Imagine for a moment that you live your life with severe chronic pain that makes just getting out of bed an effort.  Or maybe you have seizures or muscle spasms that wrack your body despite every strained effort your mind makes to remain still.  Or maybe you have digestive problem, a chronic nausea or irritable bowel, that keeps you keenly aware of the location of the nearest toilet no matter where you go.  Or maybe your head and face are hairless from chemo treatments for your brain cancer, or maybe you’re pale and gaunt from HIV/AIDS, and everywhere you go you can feel people recoil from you as if you were contagious.

The physical ailments are hard enough to deal with.  The emotional toll of being constantly weak, out of control, anxious, and shunned due to one’s physical ailments is another challenge altogether.  Sick and disabled people with good social support systems do better than those who are lonely shut-ins?  Why would we want to discourage medical marijuana patients from sharing each other’s company?

Because of the Sheriff and commenter’s misguided notion that “This has to do with getting high.”  Well, what is “getting high,” anyway?  Relieving stress?  Relaxing the body?  Having a laugh with friends?  Socializing?  Feeling a little buzz?  Sick and disabled people shouldn’t be allowed to do that?

Some people just can’t get past the demonization of cannabis use.  These same people wouldn’t bat an eye if the patrons of the Green Leaf were down the street at the tavern imbibing a toxic liquid drug to chill out with friends and cop a buzz.

In the Sheriff’s mind, the problem is that gathering with other patients to socialize while medicating has “nothing to do with medicinal marijuana”.  Why not?  Because he sees people smoking pot in a social setting, so it must not be medical.

If these medical marijuana patients were instead Oxycontin patients, they would be medicating in social settings.  They do all the time!  People take their Prevacid while sitting at their table at the restaurant.  Darvocet patients can pop one while sitting in the bleachers at the ball game.  The diabetic can shoot up insulin in the restroom at a rock concert.  Let’s not even talk about men using Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis – the perfect example of medicating and socializing!

None of these options are available to the medical marijuana patients.  If she’s nauseous at the restaurant nobody’s going to let her light up outside with the tobacco smokers.  If he’s starting to feel pain sitting at the ball game, he’s not even allowed to bring in a medicated cookie to get by.  If she’s seizing or he’s spasming at the concert… well, maybe at a concert they could spark up a doobie… but that risk of getting kicked out is there.

The point is that medical marijuana patients don’t have the social options that users of other medicines have.  In addition, medical marijuana patients have to face the stigma that people like the Sheriff heap upon all cannabis users.  They shouldn’t have to be forced to be shut-ins in their own homes as well.