SPRINGFIELD (WWJ/AP) – Six people have been charged following raids last June on three medical marijuana dispensaries in southern Michigan that authorities said were operating illegally.
The Calhoun County prosecutor issued warrants Friday in the Springfield raids and Michigan State Police have begun to make arrests.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Matt Smith said the warrants were issued for employees and owners of The Karmacy, Southwest Compassion Care Center and Happy Daze. Charges include delivery of marijuana and possession with intent to deliver.
Authorities say the three businesses were selling marijuana illegally under the front of a medical marijuana dispensary. During last summer’s raids, police seized 2.5 kilograms of processed marijuana, 150 marijuana plants, seven handguns, 57,000 rounds of ammunition and 21 improvised explosive devices, described as home-made fireworks. All three dispensaries were licensed by the city of Springfield.
Bruce Leach is a lawyer representing Karmacy owner Kiel Howland. Leach said Howland surrendered on Monday and he’s confident that his client will be exonerated.
“The government gave my client license to do something and the new prosecutor disagrees with that,” Leach told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “In our opinion he was legally operating and was inspected and was approved… This is a little ridiculous. They are not criminals but they are being turned into criminals.”
Some employees weren’t charged because they were following directions of the business owners and believed they were operating within the law, Smith said.
“They tried to create a front that looked like they were following the law,” Smith said of Karmacy. “But they were growing it, they were selling it and they were pocketing the money.”
Michigan voters approved marijuana use for some chronic medical conditions in 2008. Users of medical marijuana need a doctor’s diagnosis and a card from the state. More than 100,000 people have cards, according to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
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