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Grand Rapids dispensary owner arrested on drug charges

One month after police officers raided a dispensary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the founder of the facility was arrested on several drug charges. The man, age 55, runs the Mid-Michigan Compassion Club, a medical marijuana dispensary that serves medical patients. The March 6 raids came shortly after a February ruling from the state's Supreme Court.

Attorneys in the case said the man is under the impression that he followed the letter of the law. The new Supreme Court decision, however, clarified that the pot dispensaries were not legal under existing medical marijuana laws.

Officers confiscated a modest amount of marijuana from the facility -- less than one-quarter pound -- along with nearly $4,000 in cash and several bags of marijuana candy. The store's entire inventory was taken from the facility, which is located on Leonard Street NW in Grand Rapids. The defendant admitted that officers treated him respectfully during the raid, which lasted for about three hours. Still, the man argues that he was complying with state marijuana laws while operating the dispensaries. Two other medical marijuana storefronts were raided in connection with the Supreme Court decision.

The defendant reportedly turned himself in to authorities. He now faces charges of delivering narcotics, delivering marijuana and frequenting a drug house. He was released on a $25,000 bond, and his initial hearing will occur on April 18, according to courtroom records. The relatively low bond amount indicates that prosecutors do not see the man as a flight risk or significant threat to the community.

The operator of the facility may not have been aware of the new changes to Michigan medical marijuana laws, considering that they were formally promulgated less than a month before the raid on his facility. It is not clear whether the man intends to plead guilty in the case; ultimately, prosecutors have a significant amount of evidence tying him to marijuana distribution. A plea bargain could lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Source: MLive.com, "Founder of Grand Rapids marijuana dispensary arrested on drug charges," Aaron Aupperlee, April 6, 2013

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