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Medical Marijuana Advocates to Protest Oakland County Policies

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Medical marijuana users and caregivers say they'll gather Monday outside the Oakland County Circuit Court to protest tactics being used against them by county authorities.

The demonstration was to mark the start of the trial of registered patient Barb Agro, 70, who is charged with illegal drug dealing. But her attorney, Jerome Sabbota, said Saturday that Monday's hearing would be adjourned.

Still, the protest isn't just for Agro, but "for all defendants being denied their rights," said Jamie Lowell, who runs Third Coast Compassion Club in Ypsilanti and helped to plan the demonstration.

More than two dozen other medical marijuana defendants currently face trials in Oakland County, Lowell said.

Agro of Lake Orion is a retired school bus driver and former dispatcher for the Lake Orion police who has severe arthritis, her attorney said. She is charged with conspiracy and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Oakland County drug investigators raided her home for marijuana plants on Aug. 25, the same day they raided numerous other patients' homes and medical marijuana establishments. Prosecutors contend Agro, her late husband, Sal Agro, and their two sons were all medical marijuana users tied to commercial sales of the drug, which amounted to illegal drug dealing.

On Friday, eight of nine defendants arrested in connection with Clinical Relief -- a former medical marijuana dispensary in Ferndale -- were bound over for trial by Ferndale District Judge Joseph Longo on charges of drug delivery and conspiracy. Longo dismissed charges against Stacey Ellenbrook, 41, of Chesterfield Township, a secretary-receptionist for Clinical Relief.

County drug investigators, who admitted to using phony state medical marijuana ID cards to get inside Clinical Relief, said they found evidence of drug dealing there.

In cases resulting from the raids, circuit judges were expected to rule on whether state law allows medical marijuana users to be served by commercial establishments. Those would include dispensaries such as Clinical Relief that sell the drug, and compassion clubs that provide social space for using it, attorney Paul Tylenda said.

But that issue might not be decided because, in recent cases, prosecutors argued that defendants can't even be identified as approved medical marijuana users in the courtroom, said Tylenda, who defended Ellenbrook.

"The Oakland County prosecutor has successfully barred the mention of medical marijuana to juries numerous times. Funny how this is only happening in Oakland County," he said Friday.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper responded that "the judges are the individuals who are making these decisions" about whether defendants can use provisions of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act as a legal defense.

"Obviously, (judges) make their determinations based on the law," Cooper said Friday.


News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: freep.com
Author: Bill Laitner
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Copyright: freep.com
Website: Medical marijuana advocates to protest Oakland County policies
 
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