SPRINGFIELD, MI — Michigan police raided three medical marijuana dispensaries and the homes of the operators Wednesday as part of an investigation that began last year.
Police say the three dispensaries raided — The Karmacy, Southwest Compassion Care Center and Happy Daze — are suspected of selling marijuana illegally, claiming undercover officers were able to purchase marijuana at each dispensary.
Michigan State Police Detective Lt. Wayne Edington said that all three dispensaries were “operating outside the scope of the medical marijuana law.”
The three dispensaries were raided simultaneously at about 10:45 am Wednesday. Police also searched the homes of the dispensary owners later in the day, and served a search warrant for offices of the City of Springfield seeking documentation about licenses issued to the three businesses and any financial records.
In the combined raids, police seized a little over five pounds of marijuana, 150 plants seven handguns, 57,000 rounds of ammunition and 21 improvised explosive devices described as “homemade fireworks.”
It was not immediately clear if the weapons and ammunition were seized from one or all three dispensaries, or the homes of the owners.
Police say they have been investigating the dispensary operations since 2012 and claim that undercover officers were able to purchase marijuana.
Bruce Leach, lawyer for The Karmacy, says the business was operating legally and welcomed police to purchase marijuana from the dispensary, provided they have a valid medical marijuana identification card issued by the state of Michigan.
“We would welcome undercover officers to come in,” Leach told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “They would see that they were operating the way they were supposed to. The officer would be required to be a member and obtain medicine from his care giver.”
Leach added that The Karmacy has maintained compliance with the state’s medical marijuana law, often changing business operations to comply with the constantly changing interpretations of Michigan’s medical marijuana law.
“They are the most professional and well-run in the state,” Leach said. ”Any charges should be dismissed. We are confident in our defense.”
Michael Cain, co-owner of Southwest Compassion Care Center, said that his dispensary wasn’t raided — it was looted by police.
“Police said they had made a buy. But everyone who comes in has a card,” Cain told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “They came in and robbed us and took all of our money and all of our stuff.”
The raids were conducted by investigators from the Southwest Michigan Enforcement Team (SWET), a mult-ijurisdictional narcotics team that operates in the Southwest portion of Michigan and is comprised of officers from local police departments, sheriff deputies, and the Michigan State Police.
SWET is working with Calhoun County prosecutors in filing charges against the business owners and employees, but no arrests have been made.
Michigan Police Raid 3 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries was written by Thomas H. Clarke and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.
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