ALLEN PARK — Police say a pair of medical marijuana dispensaries they raided Sept. 25 were operating illegally.
One dispensary was in a shopping complex at the corner of Reeck Road and Maylawn Avenue.
Interim Police Chief James Wilkewicz said that site was doubly in the wrong because the operators lied on the certificate of occupancy filed with the city. According to their filings, they were operating a car service, he said.
The other dispensary was on Ecorse Road between Allen and Pelham. It was operating without a certificate of occupancy at all, the police chief said
Attorney Denise Pollicella represents the Downriver Wellness Group, which operated on Ecorse Road. She said her clients were not doing anything outside the law.
“The owners were employing people and creating commerce,” she said. “The employees are all well trained in the law.”
Dispensaries are not currently defined under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Law; however, the law does say that to sell marijuana to a patient there has to be a patient/caregiver relationship.
Wilkewicz said that was not the case at either dispensary.
Wilkewicz said police used a combination of tips and confidential informants to prove that the shops were operating illegally.
“Under the law, you have to have a patient/caregiver relationship,” he said. “We had people go in there with medical cards and no other relationship that were able to buy right away.”
The Downriver Wellness Group was raided by the Downriver Area Narcotics Organization earlier this year. It has been in that location since January 2011.
Police handled the raid without the assistance of any other law enforcement groups, they said, mainly because they had to pull their officer out of DRANO after budget and personnel cuts.
Department officials confiscated money, equipment and “a large amount” of marijuana, according to Detective Bill Miller, the lead investigator in the case.
Officers declined to release further specifics on what was taken.
“I can’t get into exact amounts right now,” Miller said Oct. 2.
No arrests have been made, but, according to Wilkewicz, information that could lead to warrants will be sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office “soon.”
“I have officers working on building a case,” he said.
Miller said he is working with the prosecutor’s office toward possible arrests.
Wilkewicz stressed that dispensaries are currently illegal, and that the department will continue to shut down any that open in the city.
“They can go somewhere else,” he said. “If they open here, we’ll keep closing them down.”
Pollicella said she is one of the “few” experts on the medical marijuana law in the state, and that dispensaries are not illegal.
“There is no case law that supports that,” she said. “What you have is an opinion from the attorney general that law enforcement agencies are taking as law. That’s not right.”
Contact Staff Writer Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE 1-734-246-0867 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or email@example.com.