Unclear State Marijuana Law leads to Federal Raid

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email
The clash between state and federal law is in full view.  Federal narcotics agents continue to investigate a medical marijuana growing operation in Okemos.

Bundles of marijuana confiscated by police

The clash between state and federal law is in full view. Federal agents are investigating an Okemos property where 2 medical marijuana care givers grew 40 marijuana plants. A practice they believe is legal.

"No Michigan state laws were broken. If these agents would have just called us and said please shut down, we don't believe this is right. We would have done it in a heartbeat," said Ryan Basore, the owner of Capital City Care Givers.

Basore subleased the property to the caregivers who each have the maximum of five patients. As patients themselves, they should be allowed to grow 72 plants each, or theoretically 144 plants in total, according to Michigan medical marijuana law. A law that is full of holes.

"There's issues about how many can get together, and if they could grow beyond 72 plants. That's one question that is still unanswered," said Eaton County prosecutor Jeffrey Sauter.

Federal Agents broke windows and threw smoke bombs into the warehouse on Jolly Oak Road Tuesday night. They confiscated thousands of dollars in equipment and 40 plants more than 6 ft. tall. After the raid, a couple caregivers were confused by federal agents' comments.

"They said this is Michigan. This isn't California. It's different here," said Basore.

Baysore says he spoke with city officials, the meridian sheriff's dept, and a few lawyers before anyone started growing. He says they even wanted authorities to take a look at their efforts to make sure everything was legal.

"We were transparent the whole time. We didn't hide anything. We wanted the police to tour the faility," said Basore.

Despite their invitation, no officials came by until Tuesday. Now patients, caregivers, police and prosecutors are unsure how the grey areas of this law will be interpretted.

"The law has more questions raised than answers," said prosecuting attorney Sauter.

Sauter says the U.S. attorney general has told federal law enforcement not to pursue federal law regarding marijuana in a state that has established its own medical marijuana laws. Instead federal agents, in most cases, work with state officials and follow local or state prosecution.

The Michigan marijuana law was passed in a vote by the people in 2008 and not by the state legislature, leaving many unclear or empty clauses. The DEA declines any comment but says a search warrant was served and the investigation is ongoing.

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  • by scott Location: walled lake on Dec 6, 2010 at 12:58 PM
    The local law enforcement agencies that took part in this violation of state law are wide open to being sued in civil court. The Fed can do as they please, but must proceed in federal court. Generally, the fed does not have the resources or will to do so. This has already plaid out in California over the past 15 years. Lawyers just need to follow that playbook at show these Nazi Jack-boots that the law cuts both way.
  • by Jack Heare Location: Lansing on Dec 5, 2010 at 05:15 PM
    There needs to be far more coverage of this. I'm outraged at the demonstration of our government to openly lie to it's people and refuse to respect the peace full will of the people by ballot. (Obama's pledge and a 68% passage by the people of Mich.) Regardless of your stance on the overall marijuana issue, the slap to the face of freedom and democracy should be glaringly apparent by both sides and not be accepted in silence by we the people. With this incident and the multiple moratoriums in the area on the issue I must assume our officials also have zero interest in an economic rebound for Mid-Michigan either. Considering there has never been in history, during a stagnate economy no less, an opportunity that has been able to create sum 40 completely new independent business in the area in under 2yrs. Not only that but without a single penny in subsidy,tax break, or incentive from any level of government.
  • by amazed on Dec 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM
    This sounds to me that confused people need to learn to read, reading the law might be the answer, any ignorant person can make claims of gray areas. This is to everyone -- READ THE LAW passed by THE PEOPLE of Michigan -- The law is found @ michigan.gov/mmp -- please educate yourself KNOWLEDGE IS POWER IN A FREE COUNTRY and shame on you Rachel Thomas and WILX for helping to prepetuate the lies
  • by Anonymous on Dec 4, 2010 at 08:42 AM
    It is simple to interpret, it is illegal in federal court. There are thousands of state laws taht are circumvented by federal laws.
  • by Garduno Location: California on Dec 4, 2010 at 05:54 AM
    I hope things like this shed a light on what a liar Obama is! He promised a transparent government,Change,and to listen to the people. He hasn't come thru with any of it! Impeach Obama!
  • by Anonymous on Dec 4, 2010 at 05:41 AM
    This was done while under obama and dems watch. They are already positioning themselves for 2012.
  • by denbee on Dec 4, 2010 at 03:44 AM
    It is all about job preservation. In the last 40 years thousands of additional police have been added to local forces and funded through the Fed's drug laws. With the hint of legalization in the air what you are seeing and hearing are the squealing of thousands of little piggy's at the prospects of having their lips pried from the public teat. Reality says we do not have the resources, the public backing nor the ability to continue an assault on marijuana. The genie is out of the bottle and it is time to quit trying to stuff her back down. The People created the medical marijuana law...soon the People will create the legalization of marijuana law. Time will fill.
  • by John Lenin Location: Island of Sodor on Dec 3, 2010 at 04:34 PM
    So much for Obama's pledge to stop federal raids on voter-approved medical marijuana providers. So much for change. At least the Republicans are upfront about their strong preference for incarceration over education, hence the alleged land of the free is now the world's biggest jailer. You'd think we'd have better things to spend money on with 10% unemployment and a staggering national debt. We're laying of teachers and busting non-violent pot smokers.
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