Tag Archives: Medical marijuana

CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman Preparing to Challenge Drug War in Court Jan. 11th During Marijuana Arrest Trial

Marijuana Possession Trial Ademo Freeman Adam Mueller

“When I go to trial I’m not asking to not be punished. I’m asking not to be punished anymore. I’ve done nearly 50 days in jail. I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost a year’s worth of time and have basically been on probation for a year” – Ademo Freeman

The following video and post was originally published at CopBlock.org by Asa J under the title, “CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman To Square Off In Court Against Drug War.” Obviously, it refers to Ademo’s arrest last year in Ohio on charges of possession of the scary, dangerous “drug” marijuana, that most people could not care less about at this point. More specifically, it relates to the trial for those charges that begins next week, on January 11th.

Barring some sort of eleventh hour plea deal with a sentence of time served (he has stated he would not agree to any deal that requires additional jail/prison time), Ademo will be facing up to six years in prison and fines of $20,000 if he is found guilty. More than likely, his freedom hinges on someone in the jury exercising their “Jury Nullificationrights and ruling based on the morality of the War on (Some) Drugs and the prosecution of victimless crimes, rather than the letter of the law.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman To Square Off In Court Against Drug War

Next week, CopBlock co-founder Ademo Freeman will square off against those wishing to send him to prison for peacefully traveling with medical marijuana in a state that also recognizes legal medicinal use of the plant.

You heard that right. Due to the lack of legal framework surrounding medical use of cannabis in Ohio (even though the state passed medical cannabis in 2016), Ademo faces up to six years in prison and fines of $20,000 when he stands trail on January 11 for possession of his medicine.

As such, Ohio law stipulates that the Board of Pharmacy attempt to negotiate and enter into reciprocity agreements with other medical marijuana states before allowing use of their medicine. Before entering into an agreement with another state, the Board must determine that the state meet certain criteria.

First, the eligibility requirements imposed by the other state in order to obtain a registry identification card have to be substantially comparable to Ohio’s requirements. Second, the other state must also recognize patient or caregiver registration and identification cards issued in Ohio. Ohio has no such agreement with Colorado, the state Ademo obtained his medical cannabis card in, nor any other state for that matter. In fact, the politicians of Ohio have dragged their feet for two years on this issue depriving who knows how many from receiving medical cannabis and killing countless others.

Ademo is no stranger to the criminal justice system. Shortly after founding CopBlock with activist and friend Pete Eyre in 2010 the two were part of a group of activists arrested for recording public officials at the Franklin County, Massachusetts jail.

The following year Ademo was arrested for wiretapping and faced 21 years in prison after video surfaced from West High School in Manchester, New Hampshire showing a student being roughly pushed down onto a cafeteria table by police detective Darren Murphy.

Ademo recorded telephone conversations he had with a Manchester police captain, the West High principal and her assistant in attempt to bring attention to the incident. He represented himself in court and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation. Those convictions were later thrown out by the New Hampshire Supreme Court however.

CopBlock is a decentralized organization made up of a diverse group of individuals united by their shared belief that “badges don’t grant extra rights,” CopBlock.org states. In this pursuit CopBlockers routinely draw attention to police brutality and corruption and are known for their controversial and sometimes intense encounters with police. Naturally, shining a light on the domestic enforcement arm of government attracts unwanted attention. In February, Ademo was arrested and charged with possession and trafficking marijuana and possession of hash oil in Warren County, Ohio.

According to WCPO, 24 pounds of marijuana and 26 vials of hash oil were found in Ademo’s car after he was pulled over by Ohio State Troopers for a missing license plate light. He was arraigned on a $75,000 bond.

From behind bars Ademo routinely spoke out about police accountability issues and problems with the criminal justice system. He was released from jail in March following a major bond reduction having refused a plea deal to serve one year in prison.

Ademo has long been a crusader against the drug war, an issue that routinely garners attention on the pages of CopBlock.org. An advocate of self-ownership and an opponent of victimless crime laws, it was in fact a 2004 marijuana conviction that ultimately led Ademo to co-found CopBlock.

Now, almost 14 years later, Ademo continues to stand up for his individual right to decide for himself what to put in his own body. Next Thursday he will stand trial in Warren County having refused another plea offer this week that would have resulted in a 36 month prison sentence suspended for 6 months in jail and three years probation.

In a live Facebook video on Friday Ademo explained why.

“I’m a medical marijuana patient, ” he said. “I held a valid medical marijuana card until December 17 of last year. Everything I was in possession of that day was my medicine.”

Having lived in Colorado for a short while Ademo decided to return to Ohio temporarily after his plans to make a permanent move to the state didn’t work out. Ademo and his spouse (at the time) had decided not to move his partner’s children so far from their biological father (who came back into his young childrens life) and instead set up a forever home in Michigan (another medical MJ state) after the kids finished school. The only problem was, Ademo never made it back. He was caged by state troopers in the Warren County jail for simply stepping over a line into an occupied territory that seriously needs to clarify its laws regarding the legal use of medicinal cannabis.

“While they say ‘trafficking,’ I had everything I owned in my car,” Ademo said. “There was no drug bust. There were no informants. This wasn’t done at a DUI [checkpoint], I didn’t sell weed to an undercover cop. That’s not my intention. I use weed for medical purposes and I merely had six months worth of medicine with me.”

Ademo has asked people to please call assistant prosecutor Chris Delnicki at the telephone number 513-695-1325 to voice their support. He has also asked friends to send character letters stating that jail isn’t the proper punishment for his so-called “crimes” to Delnicki and/or Judge Robert Peeler at the address: 520 Justice Drive Lebanon, Ohio 45036.

“I don’t believe that my actions deserve 36 months in prison,” Ademo said. “When I go to trial I’m not asking to not be punished. I’m asking not to be punished anymore. I’ve done nearly 50 days in jail. I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost a year’s worth of time and have basically been on probation for a year. I believe that that’s enough for someone with a medical marijuana card.”

To hear more of Ademo’s thoughts on the case listen below:

Original Facebook Live Video:

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

9th Circuit Appeals Court Rules Federal Government Can Ban Medical Marijuana Patients From Buying Guns

This week the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, located in San Francisco, ruled that a ban by the Federal Government on the sale of firearms to medical marijuana cardholders does not violate the Second Amendment. The ruling was made in regard to a lawsuit by S. Rowan Wilson over her attempt to buy a gun in 2011.

Wilson, who is a resident of Nevada, was denied by a gun store based on a federal ban against sales of firearms to illegal drug users. In spite of state laws allowing for medical use of cannabis (and recreational use in several states at this point), the Federal Government still considers it illegal. Therefore, medical marijuana patients are considered illegal drug users.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

The 9th Circuit in its 3-0 decision agreed that it’s reasonable for federal regulators to assume a medical marijuana card holder is more likely to use the drug.

In addition, a ban on the sale of guns to marijuana and other drug users is reasonable because the use of such drugs “raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated,” Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff said.

The 9th Circuit also rejected other constitutional challenges to the ban that were raised by Wilson.

The lawsuit made several constitutional challenges to the ban. Some, such as that it shouldn’t be assumed that someone holding a medical marijuana card actually use marijuana, were less than compelling arguments. (Wilson says she actually isn’t a marijuana user, but attained a medical card in order to show support for the legalization of marijuana.) Others, such as that it deprives patients the right to bear arms as the Second Amendment guarantees without due process, are not only more valid arguments, but also highlight some of the inherent flaws of medical marijuana laws.

In terms of the lack of due process, although alcohol and drug abusers are also banned from buying weapons, they have to have an actual history of having done so. This means that the mere fact that someone drinks or uses prescription drugs cannot be the basis for them to be denied the sale of a gun. This brings up the issue of HIPAA laws in relation to medical marijuana. Normally, someone having been prescribed a medication would be protected by HIPAA regulations from that being disclosed publicly. However, those being prescribed medical marijuana are listed on a database that can be accessed by others beyond their personal medical providers including members of law enforcement.

What this effectively means is that someone who has been prescribed opiates or other much more dangerous and addictive drugs is still afforded due process before their gun rights are taken away. They still have to have a record of abuse in order for that to become a justification to deny them a firearm. Medical marijuana patients, however, can be denied simply based on the fact that they are patients.

In Nevada, the medical marijuana cards are issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. That means anytime someone is pulled over for a traffic violation the police officer pulling them over is going to be more likely to assume they are under the influence based on them being a patient. Medical marijuana patients are also banned from acquiring a concealed carry permit. In addition, anytime a firearm is used if the person having used it is a medical marijuana patient that is considered probable cause for police to test them for drug use.

Since there isn’t yet an accurate test for impairment from marijuana use (and because it’s hard to predict when exactly you may need to defend yourself) that places patients in position of deciding whether they want to have the option of the legal use of marijuana to treat their medical issues or risk being unable to defend themselves or risking harassment and possibly even a false DUI charge every time they drive. In a roundabout way, this actually makes people suffering from chronic pain more likely to use and become addicted to opiate-based drugs.

This case will continue through several more levels of appeals, including a ruling by the full 9th Circuit Court, however it represents yet another back door effort by the federal government to restrict constitutional rights.

Former Chicago Bears Superbowl QB Jim McMahon Urges NFL Allow Medical Marijuana For Players

Jim McMahon Medical Marijuana NFL

Jim McMahon, the Superbowl XX winning quarterback from the 1985 Chicago Bears, a team which is often considered one of the best all-time teams and arguably the best defense in the history of the NFL, has joined the long list of people advocating for the medical use of marijuana.

Currently, McMahon is battling symptoms attributed to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), such as early dementia, severe headaches, memory loss and depression, all of which have been attributed to the effects of multiple concussions and for obvious reasons are especially prevalent among people involved in contact sports.

Even in states in which medical marijuana has already been legalized, the National Football League prohibits its use among players. Anyone testing positive for marijuana use, regardless of local laws (even in Washington and Colorado, which both allow recreational use), are subject to punishments that increase with each instance.

McMahon made his statements advocating for marijuana as an alternative to opiates for pain management while appearing as part of a panel discussion by retired NFL players at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo. The panel was held at Manhattan’s Javits Convention Center.

Via the Sporting News:

The panel, according to the New York Daily News, was moderated by former Giants defensive lineman Leonard Marshall and included former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson, former Broncos wide receiver Charlie Adams and former Jaguars offensive tackle Eben Britton.

McMahon, who is dealing with early dementia, severe headaches, memory loss and depression — all symptoms associated with too many concussions — believes he would be healthier now if he was allowed to use marijuana instead of pills during his playing career. Marijuana is an effective pain killer and less harmful than opiods, McMahon said.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are dying from [painkillers] and there’s not one case of people dying from the hemp plant,” McMahon said.

Britton added, “Juxtaposing my experiences with pharmaceutical drugs like Vicodin and Percocet, that made me angry and irritable, frustrated, didn’t get rid of any of the pain, made it difficult to sleep, increased my heart rate and made me feel crazy. On the other side of that there’s cannabis that helped me sleep, put me into a healing state of being where I was relieved from stress and anxiety as well as feeling the pain relief.”

Jackson, who appeared on an edition of HBO’s Real Sports that dealt with the same issue, added, “The owners of these teams are, by and large, wealthy men who are older and do not understand that this is a pretty innocuous substance.”

As is also mentioned in the Sporting News article, this offseason the Baltimore Ravens cut Eugene Monroe, a former first round pick who has campaigned publicly for the acceptance of medical marijuana in the NFL. Many people, including Monroe, have attributed that move to his strong advocacy for cannabis use, although the Ravens have denied that is the case.

Jim McMahon Superbowl XX MoonMcMahon, who was known as much for his flamboyant attitude and defiance of arbitrary or silly rules as he was for his play on the field, is no stranger to alternative medical practices or controversy. In one of the more famous photos from the build up to Superbowl XX, he mooned a helicopter while wearing a headband that said “ACUPUNCTURE” on it.

He later explained that he was just showing the media where he had received treatment for an injury he had received in a game the previous week. (The headband derived from an incident earlier in the season where he was fined $5,000 for having an Adidas label on his head band during a game and subsequently wore a headband with “ROZELLE” written on it in reference to the league commissioner, who had fined him.)

Jim McMahon Rozelle HeadbandIt’s silly and contradictory that the NFL approves the use of opiates and all kinds of other horrible pharmaceutical medications for players if they have a prescription (and sometimes without even having one), but prohibits the same medical rights for cannabis patients, even in locations where it can be legally prescribed by a doctor. In fact, it’s not at all unusual for players with lingering injuries to receive shots that numb the affected area in order to play during a game. Stories have even emerged of players receiving such shots in the locker room during a game in which they were injured.

So, it’s clearly not a case of the NFL being opposed to drug use in general or a concern for the safety or health of players. Their refusal to accept that playing in the NFL and improper care for concussions in the past increased the chances of players developing CTE alone is proof of that not being true.

The least they could do is give those players the option of using a safe and non-addictive option to treat the pain is inherent to the game. Being that there are different laws in the different cities which have NFL teams, there’s a small complication in the fact that some players would have access to legal medical marijuana while others wouldn’t because they state they live in still living in the dark ages.

However, in reality, all they would have to do is remove it from the list of drugs which they test for. Legally, they are not under any obligation to test for drugs, whether they are illegal or otherwise. Players certainly make enough money that they could set up residence during the offseason within the states that do allow its use for the next four or five years or so until it’s made legal not just for medical use, but for recreational use as well, nationwide. (That writings on the wall in big letters.)

Assaulted by Tucson Police Serving an Order of Protection

The video above and the following post were sent to us, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page, by Anthony Potter. Anthony is a local activist from Tucson, Arizona. Along with the description within the post, he states:

All cops involved have illegally arrested me before , with no convictions because they were arrests over my free speech activism. Each officer, along with their union reps, mentioned and shown in the film are named in all of my federal lawsuits, which are identified in the picture.

In addition, on the Youtube description for the video the person who uploaded it states:

Tucson Police violently detaining a local activist to serve an order of protection from Paul Cunningham. Tucson City council has been trying to purge the homeless. When you speak out against it, apparently they send out their thugs.

Date of Incident: December 23, 2015
Officers Involved: Ofc. Hawkins, Ofc. Hugar, SGT Alice, SGT Grizzley, LT Dogget
Department Involved: The Tucson Police Department
Contact Number: 520-791-5032

I was walking from home to volunteer at the 420 Social Club in Tucson. Around 10 am, I was approached on two sides by Officers Hawkins and Hugar, saying I was detained. They grabbed my arms and then placed me in cuffs. I asked them what I was being detained for and also asked them what they are investigating. They told me they would let me know when it comes (sic). I asked them again and challenged their right to hold me.

noviticimI asked for Internal Affairs, the force commander, and their supervisor. I also told the officers that I do not consent to being touched, that I don’t consent to being detained without cause, and I told them that this is harassment. They responded that they could not contact Internal Affairs, but the force commander arrived, as well as numerous supervisors.

They made attempts to knock me to the ground and also to trip me. I was detained over an hour. More officers arrived with an order of protection from a chief of staff for Paul Cunningham, a city council official. The court order was signed and dated after my detainment for a civil procedure. I was further assaulted and restrained afterwards. In addition, my coat was ripped from them shoving the order in my overcoat pocket.

– Anthony Potter

Note: Anthony is also attempting to raise money to offset the costs for two disabled veterans to acquire their medical marijuana cards and receive cannabis-based medication that they need badly due to the effects of injuries they suffered while in the military. Donations can be made via this GoFundMe account. The description included within that GoFundMe campaign states:

Lot of vets are needing help, they served, now they suffer.  Long lines and lots of pharmsucal drugs not helping the way they should. The cost to get a card, to do a safer healthier choice can be a little too much to afford for some of them. Their wallet shouldn’t be a barrier to this.

We are asking for your help to get medical marijuana cards for some of our soldiers.
#vetsmatter #getlegal #compassionrevolution


Las Vegas Police Facing Lawsuit Over Arrests of Medical Marijuana Patients

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (“Metro”) is being sued by two medical marijuana patients who were wrongfully arrested in 2013. According to the lawsuit, in spite of her being legally registered as medical marijuana patients and the arrest warrant actually stating that she was, several Metro detectives, including Detective Jeffrey Tabor, raided Courtney Rogalski’s home, confiscated her legal supply of marijuana; plants; and equipment used to grow those plants, and arrested her for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

In addition, Westley McNeal, a California resident who was visiting Rogalski’s home at the time, was also arrested. Rogalski herself now lives in Canada. All the charges were later dropped.

The civil rights lawsuit was filed in August and also names the LVMPD as a defendant along with the detectives involved in the raid. Via the Las Vegas Review Journal:

According to the lawsuit, Las Vegas police detectives searched Rogalski’s home on Aug. 30, 2013, with a warrant signed by Justice of the Peace Cynthia Cruz…

“Ms. Rogalski, at the time of her arrest, held a valid medical marijuana card and had a valid medical marijuana waiver which allowed her to have in her possession, custody and control 15 ounces of usable marijuana and 49 marijuana plants,” according to her lawsuit.

Without such a waiver, Nevada law limits cardholders to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 plants.

“The malicious prosecution against plaintiff Rogalski was dismissed because she was acting within the law, was a registered medical marijuana patient with a valid medical marijuana card and a valid medical marijuana waiver,” according to the lawsuit. “She did not exceed the amounts contained in her medical marijuana waiver and this fact was not disputed by the defendants.”

Not So Welcome to Las Vegas Medical MarijuanaAccording to the lawsuit, Detective Jeffrey Tabor authored the search warrant, which indicated that he established surveillance in May 2013 at a hydroponics business and watched as a 50-pound carbon dioxide tank was loaded into a vehicle registered to Rogalski.

About three months later, Tabor compared the power use at Rogalski’s home with three other homes in her gated community and found her home used an average of 3,698 kilowatts more per month than houses the same size.

In addition, Tabor drove past Rogalski’s residence on Aug. 27, 2013, and noticed that the windows on the east side of the home were covered with white plastic.

Tabor’s affidavit in support of the search warrant “is approximately 10 pages long and contains numerous paragraphs that have absolutely nothing to do with the criminal case” involving Rogalski, according to the lawsuit, which names Tabor as a defendant.

The search warrant also noted that Rogalski had a valid medical marijuana card and that she was legally allowed to possess and cultivate marijuana. And because Rogalski had a valid card, according to the lawsuit, police “had no reason to arrest a guest found in her house.”

“There was no controlled buy in the underlying criminal case, there was no odor or smell of marijuana coming from the residence, there was no foundation for the power comparison analysis and as can readily be seen after a reasonable review of the search warrant affidavit, there was absolutely no probable cause to support the issuance of a search warrant in the criminal case,” the lawsuit alleges…

Attorney Cal Potter III, who represents Rogalski and McNeal, argues that Las Vegas police were not properly trained about the requirements of Nevada’s medical marijuana laws and “didn’t seem to care.”

Las Vegas police do have a history of harassing and even arresting medical marijuana patients, in spite of state law that allows for their possession and use of marijuana. Previous examples of that can be found on CopBlock.org here and here. The LVMPD and other Las Vegas area police also have a pretty long history of not being properly trained and not seeming to care about that. As well as a nonexistent history of accountability for their many abuses.

Nevada Medical Marijuana Patient Freed by Jury Nullification

After nearly three years of legal limbo, Steven Ficano, a 65 year old medical marijuana patient, was finally set free by an act of jury nullification last month. On May 29, Ficano was found not guilty of two felony counts for possessing too much marijuana. He faced over ten years in prison if he had been convicted.

The case against Ficano, a long time local business man with no criminal history and a registered medical marijuana patient, revolved around the amount of marijuana in his possession at one time and prosecutors’ contention that this indicated he was selling it.

National Jury Rights Day is September 5th. Don't forget to fully inform the potential jurors in your community.

National Jury Rights Day is September 5th.

At the time of his arrest, Ficano was in possession of 68 plants and 24 pounds of finished marijuana. Nevada medical marijuana laws limit patients to 12 plants and 2.6 ounces of finished marijuana, but Ficano had a waiver from a doctor stating that he could possess more than that limit. Those limits are also based on a three month growth period and Ficano stated that he only harvested the plants in his possession once a year.

Defense attorneys maintained that the aspect of the rules regarding how much could be possessed were ambiguous, hadn’t been explained properly to Ficano, and that the lack of proper dispensaries are what led him to feel the need to store large quantities of cannabis. They also presented three of his neighbors, including a former policeman, as witnesses that testified they did not believe Ficano would ever sell marijuana.

Prosecutors attempted to use the large amount of marijuana in his possession, and the discovery of a digital scale, more than $51,000 in cash, and 26 guns, as well as the lack of “a single pot baked-good located in his home,” during the raid, as proof he was intending to sell it. However, the guns were antique lever-action rifles, collectible pistol sets, and historic muskets.


In addition, the money was Ficano’s life savings that he had removed from the bank during the recession, some of the marijuana had developed mold from having been stored so long, and most of the plants were either male plants or ones that had not matured enough to produce buds. Pretty much none of that was indicative of a drug sales operation.

Within an hour, jurors, some of whom cried along with Ficano after the verdict was read, voted to acquit him of all charges. Later, several jurors stated that their decision was based on sympathy for Ficano’s medical conditions, which included arthritis, scoliosis, and pain from a recent car accident, and not the “letter of the law.”

Via the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) website (by way of Southern Nevada Watchdogs):

Outside the courtroom, jurors said they focused on the doctor’s waiver, and said they didn’t think the document clearly defined how much pot Ficano could have at his home.

The waiver allowed him to possess 29 plants and 2 to 4 pounds of finished marijuana per three-month growing cycle. But Ficano said he only harvested marijuana once a year and assumed that he would be allowed to have up to 84 plants and 16 pounds of finished medicine.

Another juror, Donna Florence, said that after reaching the verdict she thought of her mother, who died of cancer about two years ago.

“If I could have gotten something for her that would have spared her that pain, I would have done anything,” she said. “And I think this guy was just in similar pain and trying to help himself.”

Click Here For Information On Your Rights as a Juror

Click Here For Information On Your Rights as a Juror

So it’s pretty clear, even if they didn’t actually realize that they were doing it, that the jurors used jury nullification (AKA their conscience) to protect a good person from a very bad law. Although this is still a rarity and the courts actively work to hide this right from jurors, it’s great that people are becoming aware of this important option for those that sit on juries. This is especially important in cases like this where senseless and counterproductive prohibitions are used as a weapon against people who are clearly not a threat to society or the communities in which they live.

The War on (Some) Drugs is a source of more theft, violence, and other abuses (on both sides of the law) than any drug it purports to fight with very little success at actually preventing drug use along the way. People serving on a jury can and should separate true criminals from someone simply seeking relief from a chronic illness or medical condition. Especially, when that relief comes from something that has consistently been proven to be not just harmless, but actually beneficial in many ways. Fortunately, this jury had enough compassion and moral strength to do the right thing this time.

“Jury Rights Day” 2014 in Las Vegas, courtesy of Southern Nevada Watchdogs:

Cops Harass and Arrest Sick People at Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Event

Last weekend (May 16-17, 2015), the LVMPD, who constantly complain about how understaffed they are, managed to find enough people on their payroll to stake out, threaten, and harass or even arrest a group of sick people, because they didn’t jump through some of the proper hoops relating to the medication that they are actually legally allowed to possess and use.

Michigan State Police Illegally Search; Use Falsified License to Entrap Legal Medical Marijuana Facility

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Derek Antol, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Date of Interaction: July 09, 2014
Officers Involved: Det. Sgt. Karl Schmitz, Trooper Vogt, Det. Phillip Marshall, Det. Casey Bringedahl, Det. Kate Straus
Department Involved: Michigan State Police
Department Phone Number(s): West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) 231-759-9600 Det. Kate Straus 616-430-5606

On Wednesday, July 9th 2014, my store and both my homes were raided by state police (WEMET). I received a call from my fiance mid-afternoon informing me that there was somebody from the Department of Treasury, Tobacco Enforcement Division, at the store inspecting our merchandise. He wanted to speak to the owner so I told her to put him on the phone. He stated that there were items in question at the store and that he was going to search the rest of the building. I told him he needed to leave and come back with a warrant. He told me that he was not going to leave.

Immediately, I dropped what I was doing and headed for the store. Upon my arrival, I found four people in my store that I did not recognize. Right away, I pulled out my phone and started videotaping everything. He asked about tobacco products in the store and I notified him that our products are not for use with, nor intended for use with tobacco. Then I showed him the sign on the wall which states this as well. I then asked him to leave, which he did not. I asked the identity of two officers who were accompanying him, who then identified themselves as Sgt. Schmitz, and Trooper Vogt. After my refusal to show them identification, I asked them for theirs and they refused. I insisted that if they are proclaiming to be officers of the law, that they needed to prove as much. They finally did.

Again, I asked these four persons to leave the store and get a warrant. They refused and proceeded to the rear of the building which is a completely separate business entity with its own tax identification number as well as a separate electrical meter. The people from the department of tobacco enforcement had no business going back there as it is not open to the public. They proceeded anyway. Upon searching the rear of the building, accompanied by the two state police officers, they observed marijuana that we were legally allowed to be in possession of. Again, the officers were told to leave and follow due process of law and obtain a warrant. Once again, they refused to leave. Det./Sgt. Schmitz then contacted Det. Phillip Marshall of WEMET and notified him of the marijuana found in the rear of the building.

Three years ago, WEMET raided our place of business and our home after illegally searching our vehicle without a warrant and against our will, and found us to be in possession of less than 12 ounces of marijuana. Under the state’s medical marijuana law, we are allowed to be in possession of 17.5 ounces. WEMET seized the marijuana along with all the cash we had and then proceeded to violate our rights after we had both invoked our Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. We were then taken into custody and further questioned against our will. To shorten that story, no charges were filed against us and our belongings, including the less than 12 ounces of marijuana, were returned to us after protesting outside the Muskegon County Hall of Justice where nearly 100 supporters stood with us. We filed a lawsuit against WEMET, Muskegon Police, and Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office. The attorney we retained to handle this case screwed us around for two years and we ended up having to retain a local attorney to go after him for our retainer back. We in turn retained an attorney based in Lansing who handles these kinds of lawsuits against government entities. Unfortunately, the case exceeded the three year statute of limitations as is no longer active…which brings us back to this story.

After getting information of the marijuana found, Det. Phillip Marshall of WEMET contacted Det. Kate Straus of WEMET and notified her as to what the situation was, and a team was formed at my store. When they arrived, I asked them to see a warrant, which they did not provide because they didn’t have one. They were asked several times to leave the premises and come back with a warrant, but they continued refusing to do so. Finally, our Muskegon based attorney arrived on the scene and we were escorted out of the building while they attempted to obtain a warrant. We were being detained at this time, but were not under arrest. Note that I had my two older sons with me at this time and my youngest son was at home sleeping while my buddy was there doing some electrical work for me.

By this time, I had been at the store with my sons for nearly an hour when I had their biological mother come pick them up. At this time, we were made aware of the fact that another team had assembled at my home on Green Creek where my son was sleeping, and also at my home that is for sale on Farr Rd. Finally, around 5:15 pm, we were served with a search warrant for 885 East Apple, the location of my store. Upon reading the warrant, I found it very disturbing that the warrant was based on the fact that on June 4, 2013, one Det. Adam Dent entered the store showing a previously prepared FICTITIOUS application for a medical marijuana card under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program MCL 333.2642, and a FICTITIOUS cancelled check made out to the State of Michigan. The application and a copy of a cancelled check is needed by a patient before they actually receive their tangible Patient Registry Identification Card in the mail, to prove to law enforcement that they have actually registered their application with the state. The state only cashes the check if the application is approved, THUS, the copy of the cancelled check is the only way of knowing a patient has been approved before obtaining their actual card.

With that being said, Det. Adam Dent’s entrapment of using FICTITIOUS credentials gained him access to the rear of the building where he impersonated himself as a Crohn’s patient and purchased some medical marijuana. Note: The MMMA allows a caregiver to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana for each patient whom he or she is connected to through the department’s (LARA) registration process. It also allows a caregiver to possess up to 12 plants for each patient whom he or she is connected to through the department’s registration process. Furthermore, the act also states that a registered primary caregiver may receive compensation for costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana. Any such compensation shall not constitute the sale of controlled substances. It does NOT specify that such a patient need to be connected to them through the department’s registration process. Many patients who are new to the program are not convenienced by pharmacies that distribute the medicine; they are forced to obtain it through licensed caregivers who have what is referred to as “overage” until either (a) their own plants are harvested, which takes upwards of 5 months, or (b) someone who they have assigned as their caregiver through the state’s registration process, harvests their plants…which cannot be started until caregivership is approved by the state and take upwards of five months to grow.

As disturbing as it is that the state police waste taxpayer dollars by creating fake medical marijuana credentials, and then go after caregivers attempting to service the needs of the sick, what is even more disturbing is the fact that I later learned that while we were in custody at the 885 East Apple location, police entered my home and had my 12 year old son at gunpoint from a dead sleep, and began conducting a search BEFORE THE WARRANT WAS ISSUED! When my attorney asked Det. Kate Straus about my son’s statement of this happening, she admitted that officers entered the home before a warrant was issued. When asked about officers drawing weapons on my son and waking him up with flashlights and pistols in his face, she didn’t respond.

During the raid, officers seized cash, computers, cell phones (including those that were used earlier to record officers and their conduct in the store) and all marijuana and marijuana plants found. When I asked them why they were taking the marijuana and the marijuana plants, Det. Kate Straus stated that they were being seized because they were not in a properly secured facility. I asked her how this was when they had to kick down the door to enter the home and she replied, “because your realtor has a key for showing the house to prospective buyers and therefore has access to the marijuana.” I informed her that the area of the home where the marijuana is stored and cultivated is locked separately and nobody else has access to it, but it was too late. Officers had already came upon the area of the home where the marijuana was stored and cultivated and kicked in a second door now, into where the marijuana was stored. From there, they kicked a hole in the wall to gain access to where the marijuana was cultivated. After gaining entry to the cultivation area, they found the main door to the room and cut the master lock that was securing the facility. That’s how much of an improperly secured facility it was; so much so that they kicked a hole in the wall, and cut a lock. The plants had already been uprooted and the marijuana seized. Not only did they violate 333.26424(h) which states that any marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia, or illicit property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marijuana, as allowed under this act, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be seized or forfeited, but they also violated the due process of law by entering and searching the home on Green Creek before a warrant was issued, and used excessive force by holding my 12 year old son at gunpoint. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they also seized my cell phone and were going through it BEFORE the warrant was obtained.

Now, whether or not you are a supporter of marijuana use for medical purposes, the law is the law, and the law was passed by 63% of the voters in 2008. Surely it was not the intent of the voters to have their tax dollars expended in such a way where law enforcement would prepare fictitious credentials and use them to purchase medical marijuana from a licensed caregiver and then go after them for providing an alleged patient a service where the state does not provide it, in order to alleviate the symptoms of a debilitating condition as permitted in the definition of medical use in section 3 of the law. MCL 333.26423(f) “medical use” means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition. These officers MUST be held accountable for their actions and prevented from conducting themselves in such a way in the future.

They are pursuing criminal charges for two counts of delivery, which would not only incarcerate my fiance, but would get her medical marijuana patient card revoked, not to mention the five patients that she is a caregiver for, one of whom is a former Florida State Narcotics Agent who now resides in Michigan and uses marijuana to treat four different diagnosed kinds of cancer. This was all because they used fictitious paperwork that showed them to be approved by the state’s registration department. We have retained Nick Bostic in Lansing to file a lawsuit against them for their conduct, and to return any and all items seized in violation of MCL 333.26424(h).

It should again be noted that my cell phone was seized and searched before the warrant was obtained, and that the business was extensively searched after they were told to leave the premises, also before the warrant was obtained.

– Derek Antol

Video of the 2011 Protest in Front of the Muskegon County Hall of Justice:

Michigan Sheriff’s Deputy Uses Medical Marijuana Card; Conceal Carry Permit to Justify Illegal Search

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Shane Yetzkevia, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

On Wednesday July 30, 2013, I was driving westbound on I-94 when I had a SUV quickly approached me from behind and turned on its red and blue lights. Having been pulled over before and told my car smells like marijuana, I sprayed air freshener to make sure it wasn’t going to be the case this time. I pulled to the side of the road in a construction zone. The officer approached my car on the passenger’s side; I rolled down the window, said, “Hi there. You’re going to want this,” and handed the officer my CPL. He asked if I had my gun with me and where it was, which I responded to with, “Yes, in my pocket.” Then, I handed the officer my license, insurance, and registration. He asked me, “Where you heading today?” and I answered, “Heading to do some shopping.” I asked, “Do you mind if I ask why you pulled me over?” to which he replied, “Your window tint.” At that point, I handed him my doctors slip for the tint. He read the slip and said, “Oh…good, you’re all set here. Let me go jot down your info, I’ll be right back, and you can be on your way.”

After a couple minutes, he returned and said, “Mr. Yetzke, so you have your medical marijuana card, correct?” to which I answered yes. He responded with, “Good, because I’m going to search your car.” That’s when I said, “No, you are not. I thought the police weren’t supposed to have access to the medical marijuana registry, and use it against patients…so, no, you do not have my permission or a reason to search my vehicle.” The officer said, “I’m the law, I have access to everything! Now, do you have any marijuana in the car?” I responded that I am a cardholder, so it is legal for me to have it. He responded, “Well, I smell marijuana and it’s illegal for you to have both the CPL and medical card, so I’m going to search you and your car!” I said, “I’m pretty sure I can have both, how else should I protect myself from someone trying to take my medicine from me? Plus, I know there isn’t any way you’re smelling anything of that nature! So, no, you can not search me or my car!” He then said that I needed to hand over my marijuana.

When I asked why, he responded with, “Are you resisting me? You need to do what you’re told or I’m going to arrest you!” I said, “Fine, here’s some weed for you,” and turned around in my seat to dig around in the backseat and get him the least amount of medicine I could, thinking he was just trying to steal it from me at this point. I handed him a small glass jar with some of my medicine in it. He took the jar, and told me that it was supposed to be in a locked box in my trunk. I informed him that I wasn’t aware of this law and asked when that started. He said it became a law in December and that I needed to get out of my car. I asked why, and he responded with, “If you don’t get out of your car, I’m going to arrest you for obstruction!” I responded, “I really don’t think I should get out of my car!” He said, “I’m the law and you need to do what I tell you or I’m going to take you in. So, get out and step to the back of your vehicle!”

Not wanting to go to jail, I got out of my car and went to the back of my car. He asked again if I was carrying my gun and where it was. I told him I was still carrying and it was in my pocket, as I’d said before. He then told me he was going to search me and my car, to which I responded, “No, you do not have my permission to search me or my car.” He said, “I need to disarm you and search you and your car.” I responded with, “I’ve told you over and over that you are not to search me or my car!” He took my gun from my pocket, said he needed to pat me down, and did so.

He asked where I work and I told him that I didn’t see how where I work or what I do for a living had anything to do with what was going on, so I didn’t feel that I should to answer that. He responded, “I’m the law, you have to answer my questions or go to jail!” I told him I am disabled and on disability. He asked what I’m on disability for and why I’m a medical marijuana patient. I respond with, “I know you’re not suppose to ask me about my medical condition or why I’m on disability.”

Once again he said, “I’m the law and you have to answer my questions…now I think we need to step back to my vehicle.” I asked why, and he told me he had a couple more questions for me and needed some more information. I said he could ask me anything he needed to right there and didn’t need me in his car to do that. He said, “I can just take you in and you can finish answering these questions from a jail cell, or you can answer them in my car.”

“Fine, I don’t really want to go to jail today,” I said. We went to the back door of his SUV and he opened the door and told me to get in. As I went to get in the vehicle, I noticed a dog and said, “I can’t get in there, I’m very allergic to dogs! My hands and feet swell and my air passages close!”

He responded, “You’ll be okay, I’ll roll your window down,” and pushed me into the backseat and shut the door. The officer then got into the front seat of the vehicle, rolled down my window, and started asking me more questions. I told him I couldn’t hear what he was saying, so he rolled the window back up and asked what my phone number was. I told him my phone number and informed him that I was already starting to itch from being near the dog. “You’ll be okay! Now. I’m going to search your car,” the officer said. I again told him that I did not consent. He told me, “I’m going to take the dog and search your car and if the dog ‘hits’ on the car I’m going to search it.”

“You already know I’m a card holder and there’s been marijuana in the car, so of course the dog is going to alert on it,” I replied.

“I don’t have to abide by that law, the people voted that in, not me and I don’t believe it should even be on the books…I’m the law and I didn’t vote for it, so I enforce it as I see fit,” the officer said. He asked me if there was marijuana in the car and I responded that there shouldn’t be anywhere close to more than I’m allowed. He got out, got his dog out of the back of his vehicle, walked the dog to the back passenger-side fender of my car, said something to the dog, and tapped the car fender. The dog jumped up where the officer tapped the car, then jumped back down. The officer returned the dog to the back of his vehicle and informed me the dog alerted on my vehicle and he was going to search it. At that point, I asked him to please get me out of his vehicle or at least roll the window back down because I was having a reaction to his dog. “You’ll be okay, he said.”

At this time, I saw two Bridgeman police officers arrive, talk to the officer that pulled me over, and then watch as the officer began to search my car. I asked the officers to get me medical attention, because I was having breathing difficulties. They turned and looked at me, then at each other, laughed, and walked away. Shortly after that, the officer that was searching my vehicle came back to the passenger side of his vehicle and informed me he found two hits of LSD in my center console and more marijuana in my car. I informed him the LSD was not mine, there was no chance it was ever in my car, and I that needed to get out of his vehicle because I was having breathing issues. Once again, he told me that I would be fine. He went around to the driver’s side of his vehicle, got his phone, made a call, then had a laugh with the two other officers before they left. The officer got back into the driver’s seat of his vehicle. I told him I couldn’t breath; he said to take deep breaths, not short ones and I would be fine. He also said he was giving me a ticket for “improper transportation of medical marijuana with the possession of LSD as a side note.” He got out of the vehicle to let me out of the back seat.

After getting out of his vehicle, I was light-headed and wobbly, and needed to catch myself on his vehicle. He said, “You need to get back to your car now!” I told him I was trying to get my balance and catch my breath to which he responded, “You can catch your breath at your car.” I proceeded to stumble my way to the back of my car, use my emergency inhaler, then vomit a couple times. He asked why I didn’t use my emergency inhaler in the back of his vehicle and I told him it probably was not a good idea to open my air passages in an area that’s filled with something that I’m allergic to, causing me breath in even more of the dog dander. He asked if he needed to call an ambulance for me, and I asked, “Why, so you can have my car impounded while I’m in the hospital? I’ll risk driving there myself, thanks!”

He then said, “Well then, you need to get in your car and be on your way!” I asked about getting my gun back. He responded that no, he was not going to give it back and told me I could call him next week so he could get it back to me. I said, “I don’t believe you can just take my gun like that!” He responded, “I can do whatever I want, I am the law!” I asked, “Shouldn’t I at least get a receipt for it?” to which he said, “We know I have it and that’s good enough.”

“How am I to contact you? Do you at least have a card so I know who to contact?” He said, “Hold on, I’ll see what I have,” went to his vehicle, and returned with a piece of paper. “I don’t have any cards, but here’s my name and a number you can reach me at. Now get in your car and leave!” I got into my car and chewed three allergy tablets to counteract the allergic reaction I was still having and left.

After all that, when I went to court the video from the officer’s vehicle wasn’t available due to “malfunctioning equipment” for the months of July and August! Needless to say, after thousands of dollars in lawyer fees and multiple trips to court, I had to take a plea or spend a minimum of two years, maximum of 10 years in jail because of the evidence that the officer both added and the evidence he destroyed! The county I live in took away my CPL before I even went to court, after the officer in the case contacted them. I will probably never be able to get it back again!

– Shane Yetzke