SPRINGFIELD, Mich. (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 told the Battle Creek Enquirer (http://bcene.ws/1cWSRKg ) that the warrants were issued for employees and owners of The Karmacy and two other dispensaries. Charges include delivery of marijuana and possession with intent to deliver.
Bruce Leach, a lawyer representing Karmacy owner Kiel Howland, said his client surrendered on Monday and he’s confident that Howland will be exonerated. All three dispensaries were licensed by the city of Springfield and Leach said Karmacy earlier was inspected by law enforcement.
“Everything was completely legal,” Leach said. “This is a little ridiculous. They are not criminals but they are being turned into criminals.”
Michigan voters approved marijuana use for some chronic medical conditions in 2008, but the legality of dispensaries has been thrown into doubt by court rulings.
The charges follow the raids by the state police and the Southwest Enforcement Team on June 26 at the three dispensaries and homes of owners in Kalamazoo and Barry counties. If convicted, possible penalties range from maximums of four years to seven years behind bars.
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.”
Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com