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200 protest Oakland medical-marijuana raids

September 18, 2010

lemon kush medical marijuana
Image by eggrole via Flickr

Posted: 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13, 2010

BY BILL LAITNER

An estimated 200 medical-marijuana users and supporters protested today against the county’s raids of medical-marijuana establishments in Ferndale and Waterford.

“Stop arresting patients,” they chanted outside the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department in Pontiac.

Six buses brought protesters from Ypsilanti, Lansing, Port Huron and Oak Park, who carried signs that blamed Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard for police brutality during the raids.

But Bouchard, standing in his building’s lobby to eye the demonstrators 100 yards away, said: “They’re in the wrong place. They should be in Lansing” to ask for changes in the law that would make their activities legal, he said.

He added that, in his view, many of the demonstrators were “not here for medical marijuana. They’re here to legalize marijuana.”

Indeed, some shouts of “Free the weed” rose from the group as speakers addressed the crowd through a bullhorn.

The buses were paid for by a newly formed statewide association of compassion clubs – the sites where medical marijuana users gather to socialize and use the drug, said Rick Thompson, contributing editor of Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine.

“Sheriff Bouchard is advancing his personal vendetta (against marijuana use) on the backs of patients,” Thompson, 43, of Center Line said.

Holding a sign that said, “The voters have spoken – Safe access now,” was Michael McShane, 50, of Ferndale, a medical-marijuana user who had state cards to use as well as to be a caregiver – one who provides the drug to others under state law.

McShane, who said he suffers from the HIV-AIDS virus, said he works full-time as an industrial-machinery salesman but took a day off to join the protest.

Wearing a hat with faux marijuana leaves, McShane said he was not arrested in last month’s raids “but I live in Ferndale and it affects all of us.”

McShane said: “I want to see an end to these paramilitary raids by the police. We’re risking our homes and our well-being to these military tactics.” He added that drug forfeiture laws “have created a market for police to kick down our doors” and seize cash, vehicles and ultimately houses of those arrested.

A major point of contention in Oakland County and in Lapeer as well – where a morning demonstration of medical-marijuana protesters drew about 70 people today to stand outside the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office – is whether state law allows dispensaries. Those are the sales outlet raided last month in Ferndale and Waterford.

“Our county prosecutor says they’re illegal and the Michigan Department of Community Health says they’re illegal,” Bouchard said.

Bouchard said the Legislature needed to pass new laws to fill gaps in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act passed by voters in 2008.

Read more: 200 protest Oakland medical-marijuana raids | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100913/NEWS03/100913062/1001/NEWS/200-protest-Oakland-medical-marijuana-raids#ixzz0zuyUtL7n

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