With the passage of Proposal 1 allowing medical marijuana in Michigan and new rules going into effect as of April 4 over the possession of plants if users abide by regulation, the following story is more than a little outraging.
According to The Detroit News, police in Madison Heights forcefully raided the home of a man growing marijuana for medical purposes:
“Bob Redden thought he was doing the right thing when he went to a medical clinic in Southfield to get paperwork to qualify himself for medical marijuana.
Redden, 59, said he suffers from bone disease and two deteriorating hips, and was told medical marijuana would ease his pain. But on Monday, when Madison Heights police smashed open the front door of his Madison Heights house with a battering ram and seized 21 marijuana plants from a back room, Redden wondered what he had done wrong.
‘They stole my plants and my money,’ Redden said. “We are devastated. The door is torn up. They treated me like I was a criminal. I can’t believe this is happening to me. I was assured by my doctor this medical marijuana was going to help and they assured me this is legal.’
Police in this Oakland County suburb acknowledged Wednesday they don’t know whether Redden broke the law, since rules for marijuana possession in Michigan under the state’s new medical marijuana have not been laid out yet by health officials. The state is expected to lay out a medical marijuana program on Saturday.
‘We did execute a search warrant and we did confiscate marijuana plants,’ Police Chief Kevin Sagan said. ‘The dilemma for law enforcement is we don’t have those rules yet.'”
In the raid, police also confiscated $531 in cash, a notebook with passwords, and other items. The police–while not excusing their behavior–are saying that they were confused over the new rules and that the new law “doesn’t provide users carte blanche.” They further said that, “They [medical marijuana users] have to follow the rules. If we don’t know what the rules are, it’s in limbo.” There is a possibility that the raid will result in no charges being filed.
Unfortunately, this sounds like the same flawed policing that has characterized the failed Drug War. It’s the same approach that led to the shooting of GVSU student Derek Copp. You would think that before coming in with a battering ram or other weapons, police might consider where they are going. Surely a 59-year old man with deteriorating hips and other bone diseases is not a major threat.