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Attorneys: Medical Marijuana Registrants Face 'selective Prosecution' By Federal Government



GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Two men facing federal marijuana charges were singled out for prosecution because they are registered under Michigan’s medical marijuana law, their attorneys say.

Lloyd Thomas Martin and Ronald Andrew Jach asked that charges of conspiracy to manufacture 100 marijuana plants be dismissed on grounds of selective prosecution.

Their attorneys, in a court filing, said the government has shown “an intent to attack” the state’s medical marijuana law.

“I think this has been a developing issue for a long time,” Martin’s attorney, Frank Stanley, said recently.

The defendants, along with Lonnette Patricia Martin-Strecker and Walter Leon Collins, are accused of conspiring to grow marijuana in Kent and Newaygo counties.

Stanley, along with Jach’s attorney, Lawrence Phelan, said there is “nothing remarkable” about the allegations against their clients other than Martin’s “smorgasbord of physical problems” and their registration under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, or MMMA.

“Said differently, there is nothing egregious about the facts of the case that makes it stand out from a routine marijuana grow operation. The defendants are not zealots, and are not advocates against the enforcement of federal law because of the MMMA.

"Rather, they are ordinary people who happened to have MMMA cards,” Stanley and Phelan wrote in a joint filing.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, a judge noted in a recent ruling.

The federal government, in this case and others, has filed motions in limine to preclude defendants from using the state medical marijuana law as a defense in a federal trial.

Stanley and Phelan said the filing showed the federal government’s stance toward state medical marijuana laws.

“It is clear that the MMMA is a factor in the government’s decision because the Motions in Limine are all focused at that legislation,” they wrote.

“It is also true that Michigan has not been bashful about prosecuting individuals who are involved with marijuana and who are not protected by the MMMA. If the defendants are in violation, and if they are not protected by the MMMA, they are certainly subject to state prosecution.”

As of late last month, the attorneys noted, there were 131,483 registered medical marijuana patients and caregivers in Michigan. All presumably were violating federal law.

Stanley said: “Why is this case being prosecuted when so many others aren’t? What’s going on here?”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Courtade said recently that federal authorities go after larger operations where amounts exceed what would be legal under the state law.

But, he noted, the medical marijuana law “doesn’t apply in federal court.”

Stanley and Phelan said courts have set a “heavy burden” for those asserting selective prosecution. They have to show their clients were singled out, and that the government acted in bad faith.

“The defendants have no idea why they were selected for federal prosecution, but the undisputed facts and relative normalcy of the case strongly suggests that they were singled out in violation of the doctrine of selective prosecution,” the attorneys wrote.

They have requested a hearing on the issue.






Source: Attorneys: Medical Marijuana Registrants Face 'selective Prosecution' By Federal Government


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