Drug Law

Mich. Police Use Fake ID’s, Trick Marijuana Dispensaries

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OAKLAND, Mich. --- Disturbing news has been uncovered about the raids that were conducted in Michigan on August 25th by the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team. Three medical marijuana dispensaries in Ferndale and Waterford, Michigan were raided and a dozen people arrested on felony drug and conspiracy charges. Most of those charged were also Michigan Medical Marijuana card holders.

Protesters have shown up in support of those charged at all of the various preliminary hearings. Many see these cases coming up as landmark cases that will force Michigan’s court system to decide if dispensaries are legal. Michigan voters passed the medical marijuana law in 2008, but only addressed caregiver status, and not the right to open and operate dispensaries.

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As the lawyers for the defendants prepare their cases, news has surfaced that the Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies used phony Michigan medical-marijuana cards — created on a county computer — to trick state-approved medical marijuana providers into selling the drug to the police. 

A doorman at the now closed, “everybody’s cafe” dispensary in Waterford had initially claimed that he had seen the men that turned out to be the police several times when he denied them entrance on several different occasions because of improper paperwork. The doorman, and one of the dozen people arrested, Brian Vaughn says that when they came back with medical marijuana cards, he had no way to check.

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The medical marijuana cards that were presented to the doorman were near duplicates of the more than 41,000 cards issued to citizens of Michigan. Defense attorneys say that their clients were trapped into lawbreaking while trying to stay within the state law. Oakland County prosecutor, Jessica Cooper contends that using the fake ID cards weren’t entrapment because entrapment is a legal defense that applies only in cases where someone is lured into committing an illegal act and the defendants weren’t lured, but instead were “so far outside the act (it’s) absurd. Cooper cited evidence of “hand-to-hand buys of larger amounts of drugs”, and a state-approved caregiver, which many of the establishments’ employees claim to be, can provide medical marijuana only to his or her five registered patients, “regardless of whether the cards were real or not,”

The cases could take years to be settled by the state’s highest courts, or be resolved far more quickly by a Republican landslide in November if Lansing lawmakers subsequently repealed the two year old Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.