Medical Marijuana

So How Is This Different From an Armed Robbery?

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Earlier this month, police in Oakland County, Michigan raided a medical marijuana dispensary in the town of Oak Park. The deputies came in with guns drawn and bulletproof vests, with at least one wearing a mask.

They made no arrests, but they did clean the place out. The confiscated all of the dispensary's cash on hand and—in a particularly thuggish touch—also took all of the cash from the wallets and purses of employees and patients. In this update, police officials say the raid was the result of street dealers telling police they were buying marijuana from the dispensary. I suppose we'll see in time if that's true, and if it is, if the dispensary was actually aware that it was selling to dealers. But at first blush, the claim sounds like a pretty good way for street dealers to put a legitimate competitor out of business.

Under Michigan's asset forfeiture law, 80 percent of the cash the deputies seized will go directly to the Oakland County Sheriff's Department. The other 20 percent goes to the local prosecutor. Medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law but is of course still illegal under federal law. And apparently there's some debate about the legality of dispensaries. All of which means this particular dispensary will have a hard time proving it earned the seized cash legitimately. I doubt the patients and employees will get their cash back, either. The cost of challenging the seizure is likely several times more than the amount of money most people carry on their person.

There's been some talk in the Michigan legislature about reforming the state's asset forfeiture laws, but there's been no action so far. Last February, a former prosecutor described the Michigan forfeiture law to the Detroit News this way:

"It's a money grab, pure and simple; a sneaky way of getting a penalty on something prosecutors can't prove. It's like shooting fish in a barrel."

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  1. Under Michigan’s asset forfeiture law, 80 percent of the cash the deputies seized will go directly to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department. The other 20 percent goes to the local prosecutor.

    I don’t see how that could possibly ever be abused.

  2. Ah, ah, ah, please watch the incendiary rhetoric. Some mentally unstable cancer patient, with nothing to lose, may bust a cap or two on the officers just enforcing the law.

  3. Wasn’t there something called crude crocus or something like that once? Rue forces? Dude possess?

    1. Poo dunces?

      Dammit, I should know this…

      1. Fruit posses?

        1. it’s boo flosses.

          Rupert, put the cork back on the fork

          1. ok…squirls made BOLD strikethruogh…is this fuck with Bandit day or something?

            1. Roux depress?

              1. It’s do repress. And the government follows it every day.

                1. I think you all are looking for “Rude Loch Ness”.

                  I dunno what it means, but neither do the Michigan authorities, so we’re even!

                  1. Also, “Rude Loch Ness” might be a good name for a rock album.

                    Or a WWF rassler…

                    1. WWE? Whatever…

    2. Well it’s not like it’s in two places or anything.

      Maybe it doesn’t count cuz it’s in the amendments & those are weaker than the constitution itself?

      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”

      “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process ”

      I thought I was pretty jaded, but the gall of taking the money from the customers is just breathtaking. Like looking over the edge of a cliff & thinking I’m *this* close to being a splat.

      I really hope this gets picked up by one of the civil rights groups & taken somewhere.

      1. A fuller quote is “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”.

        Also, it’s in 3 places:
        “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”

    3. Shoe feces?

  4. “So How Is This Different From an Armed Robbery?”

    Because if it were an actual armed robbery, the police would be looking for suspects.

    1. No they wouldn’t. They’d be too busy practicing their “butt drag” technique on each other.

      1. That is much, much worse than the atomic nose picker.

  5. I doubt the patients and employees will get their cash back, either.

    What cash?

  6. “So How Is This Different From an Armed Robbery?”

    Well, I guess if it was a “real” armed robbery, the robbers would have a harder time disposing of the loot. And they would keep more for themselves.

  7. Would drug dealers pay retail?

  8. So How Is This Different From an Armed Robbery?

    Well, there is zero–zero–chance the robbers will be punished in any way, so in a way, that makes it worse.

    I cannot understand how they can take the money from people’s wallets and not have anything happen. It’s just mindboggling.

    1. This sort of thing is the whole reason we have that rue pussies thing in our Constitution. It’s a central tenet of Anglo-American common law. In fact, it’s maybe THE central tenet.

      1. Crude feces? What the hell is that thing called?

        1. Nude species?

            1. Moo Bachus?

              1. Flu species?

                1. Threw feces?

                  1. MONKEY KNIFE FIGHT!!!

                    1. Ska – please tone down the violent rhetoric.

                      Also, I think you all might be looking for “Prude Flosses”. Wait, no – I mean “Cute Foxes”.

        2. Woo pussies?

  9. also took all of the cash from the wallets and purses of employees and patients.

    If the dispensary was indeed selling to street dealers as the Sheriff Department alleges, how would the patients be complicit in the crime?

    1. FYI – my question isn’t meant to imply that I think seizing cash from the business itself is hunky dory. I’m just curious how they justified involving the patients in this…..err…..investigation, or whatever the fuck you could call it.

    2. We’re sure they broke the law at some time in the past. Perhaps they went above the speed limit on the way to the dispensary.

    3. Don’t you know that the cops know everyone of those customers was just another low life drug dealer getting replenished with product!

  10. When the police kill you, it’s not murder; when they take your cash, it’s not robbery.

    It’s “protection and service”.

  11. dunphy, I’d like to hear your comments on the New Professionalism in action.

    1. *crickets*

  12. Remember kids, this isn’t “government”, which is purely good. This is the action of evil individuals.

    Govt = good
    Individuals = bad

  13. Thank you sir, can I have another punch?

  14. “In this update, police officials say the raid was the result of street dealers telling police they were buying marijuana from the dispensary. I suppose we’ll see in time if that’s true, and if it is, if the dispensary was actually aware that it was selling to dealers.”

    Anyone care to lay odds on the question of whether the police/county provided some sort of incentive for the dealers to say they bought from the dispensary?

    1. There’s also an ad for “drugfreeworld dot org” showing up when I view the page.

      1. Free marijuana booklet?! Sign me up!

    2. Not to mention the incentives the street dealers already have to eliminate a competitor…

      -jcr

      1. Are you implying that the merchants in a black market might not be completely on the level?

    3. They (the “street dealers”) had been arrested. So, most likely, there is an incentive in the form of a reduced sentence for revealing your hookup. Instead of revealing (and screwing over/angering) their actual source, they just pointed to the medical marijuana store down the street.

  15. Just once, I’d like to see a post with the headline, “Policemen Stoned by Angry Mob.”

    1. Watch it dude. All your comment is missing is some crosshairs.

    2. I’d prefer a headline saying “Policemen Stoned by Mellow Pot”

      1. WTF do you think they’re doing with the seized product right this very moment? You don’t think that shit wound up in an ecidence locker, do you?

  16. So, where’s that greasy little sycophant “Tony” to explain to us how we should be grateful to the nanny state for taking money away from sick people in Michigan?

    -jcr

    1. whoa, JC. “Greasy”… “Tony”…

      RAAACCCCISSISSIT!

  17. How is it different?

    If an armed robber in street clothes comes into your store and demands your money, and you shoot him, it’s justifiable homicide.

    If an armed robber in a cop uniform does the same thing, and you shoot him, you can go to prison for life, or be executed, depending on the state.

    1. If an armed robber in a gang demands money and you shoot him, his fellow gang members will burn down the store with you in it. Organized crime is a better analogy than individual muggers.

  18. Concerned McDonalds’ manager: Hello, police? Yes, I’d like to report a crime. The Burger King across the street is selling crack out of the kitchen. If you could go kick in the door, shoot any dogs you see and confiscate their cash, that’d be great. Thanks.

    Even drug dealers understand regulatory capture.

  19. Fuck…now my stomach hurts again. Even making fun of everything isn’t helping….

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!1!!!!won!!!!1

  20. OK, the news just had John Boner (Statist – OH) on the TEEVEE saying something stupid! My stomach feels a little better now that I LOLed…

  21. FYI, some activists in Michigan reported on the email listserves in Michigan that the Free Press Story was a bit inaccurate. In fact, if I remember correctly, their attorney issued a correction the next day saying that, in fact, no money was taken from anyone’s wallets and while cash was seized, it was far less than the $20,000 originally reported.

    That doesn’t mean this isn’t still armed robbery – and it may have been carried out in response to a legal brief challenging the A.G. filed a day earlier – but you may want to look into some of the factual claims.

  22. So how is this different from armed robbery?

    Uh, not at all? Except that it’s legal.

  23. The guys that got busted and said the dispensaries sold it to them are likely just saying that so as not to have to rat out their real connection. They can just use the dispensary as a scapegoat since they know the dispensary owner is not likely to hunt them down and kill for snitching.

  24. FELONY ARMED ROBBERY-PLAIN & SIMPLE. ALL INVOLVED NEED A RICO CASE BROUGHT AGAINST THEM.

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