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Assets of medical marijuana growers at risk without drug charges

Rated as having the worst asset forfeiture laws in the nation by the Institute for Justice, Michigan police agencies continue to threaten medical marijuana growers with arrest and property seizures. According to a recent report, the Southwest Enforcement Team of the state police arrested a 72-year-old man in St. Joseph County after he appeared in a Detroit Free Press article criticizing police seizure of his money, car, telephone and marijuana plants during a raid in which he was not charged with a crime.

Although the man has a medical marijuana card issued by the state, he was included in an investigation after police raided a compassion club in Battle Creek. His arrest 16 months after the original raid on his home was based on charges of drug manufacturing and conspiracy.

In another example, police arrested a 60-year-old man who went to the media after a raid on a family farm in Van Buren County. He also had a medical marijuana card and was growing plants for cancer patients. Reports say that his entire farm is at risk. A representative from the Mackinac Center said that Michigan must reform its asset forfeiture laws because they allow police to keep assets regardless if someone is charged with a crime or convicted.

People facing drug charges or simply finding themselves targeted by law enforcement may have a right to legal representation. An attorney could help someone learn about their rights. An attorney could work to uphold a person's rights in court. Certain defense strategies might succeed in getting charges dropped or reduced, depending on the circumstances.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Police arrest cancer patient 16 months after raid", L.L. Brasier, March 17, 2015

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