Sanders Leaves, Cops Begin Raiding Medical Marijuana Shops Next Day
12 Mar, 2016
Homeland Security, local Sheriff Departments and State Police raid medical marijuana dispensaries in cities where they are welcome
by Rick Thompson/March 12, 2016
GAYLORD- If you were looking for an example of how the Michigan government has politicized every aspect of state authority, you just found it.
Homeland Security, Michigan State Police and other agencies raided nine medical marijuana distribution centers in the town of Gaylord, Michigan Thursday night, just weeks after the City Council passed an ordinance in support of dispensaries.
Not only did they hit those nine, they have swept out a total of at least a dozen mid-Michigan dispensaries within 48 hours. The raids began less than 24 hours after liberal candidate Bernie Sanders won Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary election.
The primary election was called by news media in favor of Bernie Sanders at 11:00 pm on March 8. By 6:00 pm on March 9, the raiding of medical marijuana patient homes and businesses had begun.
Governor Rick Snyder strikes again, this time with a blue fist.
A press release issued on Friday, March 11 by law enforcement give credit to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 3 different Sheriff’s offices, 4 different narcotics task forces and the State Police for taking down the medical marijuana patients and their businesses.
No precipitating incident drove this new rampage- there was no change in law, no fatal traffic accident, no public outcry. The only event which could have generated this kind of response was the adoption of the pro-dispensary ordinance in Gaylord.
And the passing of that ordinance must have really pissed off state-based law enforcement agencies. On May 27, 2015 the State Police and their local narcotics teams hit 8 Gaylord dispensaries. On September 3rd, citizens filed a petition to make dispensaries, or provisioning centers, legal to operate with city approval. On January 11 the City Council passed the ordinance, which added medical marijuana provisioning centers as an approved and protected use in certain commercial areas. The ordinance was to go into effect 30 days after, or approx. February 10.
It’s like the Gaylord City Council flipped the Michigan State Police post the bird and said, stay out of my yard. This is what our citizens want, and we agree.
The raids happened on March 9, before any Center could get through the licensing process. Apparently the State Police wanted to squash businesses before they could gain the protection of local zoning laws.
Police agencies like to claim they can raid locally-empowered but not state-sanctioned dispensaries at any time in Michigan. This recent action is a series of inter-agency coordinated raids involving dozens of police vehicles and an unknown amount of manpower over several days which was clearly planned for some time, leading to questions about the political timing of the raids.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Was this really a totally random act of enforcement by police of a law that has existed for years?
Let’s evaluate the circumstance. The centers in question have been known to exist for a long time- some centers, for years in the same location. The eyes of the nation were upon Michigan, and now they are not. No more coverage of the Flint Water Crisis on a daily basis, no more candidate offices and the CNN cameras. That ended on March 8.
On March 9, the raids began.
It would have been very unwise to raid these medical marijuana distribution centers before a pro-marijuana law reform candidate like Bernie Sanders came to Michigan. Any stories of widespread police raids and suffering marijuana patients would have elevated the issue of cannabis’ Schedule 1 status into the Michigan presidential debates. Sanders does very well when the subject of marijuana enters the debate.
Similarly, the Flint Water Crisis occupied the media’s attention for months before the candidates and debates arrived. This was a time when media investigators were poking and prodding for any angle on government’s overreach of authority, and raiding the homes of sick people is an act of government that is not widely supported by the populace.
Add to that the January 29th dismissal of one charge and a not guilty finding on another charge against Al Witt, one of the men charged in the May raids on Gaylord dispensaries. Witt was convicted of only one charge, a conviction that will likely be appealed. This must have frustrated some Sheriffs.
It doesn’t take a big leap to imagine that the State Police may have wanted to drop on the Centers after the ordinance was adopted in early January but were told to wait, to avoid any unwanted attention to Governor Snyder during his administration’s time of crisis.
Then, they were most likely told to wait again until after the Presidential candidates and their attendant news media left the state and all eyes were elsewhere. The candidates left; the raids began.
Boy, they sure didn’t wait for long.