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Lansing Dispensary Owner Could Face Jail Time


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http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20110913/NEWS01/109130312/Lansing-dispensary-owner-could-face-jail-time?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

 

A Lansingmag-glass_10x10.gif medical marijuana dispensary owner who advertised free products to patients for registering to vote has been charged with breaking state election law.

 

Shekina Pena, who owns Your Healthy Choice Clinic, faces a misdemeanor count of influencing voters with money or other valuable consideration. The charge, filed by state Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and or a $500 fine.

 

It stems from a July post on the dispensary's Web page, offering patients a free half-gram of marijuana or a free edible marijuana product in return for registering to vote.

 

"Voters did not intend for marijuana to be handed out as a door prize, especially when it undermines the integrity of our elections process," Schuette said in a statement.

 

Pena, 34, did not respond to messages seeking comment. She entered a not-guilty plea Monday in 54A District Court and was released on a personal bond. Her next court date has not been scheduled.

 

"I do not believe that she committed a crime and there will be evidence to back that up," said Matt Newburg, a local attorney who will represent Pena.

 

John Sellek, a spokesman for Schuette, said Pena was notified Friday of the pending charge and turned herself in.

 

In addition to the offer of free marijuana, the Your Healthy Choice website also listed support for Lansing City Council candidates, including incumbent councilmembers A'Lynne Robinson and Derrick Quinney, both of whom will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, and Harold Leeman, who did not advance in the 1st Ward primary race in August.

 

Incumbent Councilwoman Carol Wood and 1st Ward candidate Jody Washington, who advanced in the primary, were listed as deserving "no" votes. Both pushed for stricter regulations in a new Lansing ordinance governing medical marijuana dispensaries.

 

The city's policy was trumped by a Michiganmag-glass_10x10.gif Court of Appeals panel's ruling last month that dispensaries are not allowed under the voter-approved 2008 law. That resulted in many local businesses closing their doors or reducing their services.

 

Your Healthy Choice no longer dispenses marijuana, according to its website. It remains open for patients to meet with physicians and find caregivers.

 

Pena wrote on its Facebookmag-glass_10x10.gif page July 29 that the dispensary was participating in a voter registration drive.

 

"Your Healthy Choice has not and will not compensate ANYONE to vote nor will we compensate ANYONE for voting for a particular candidate," she wrote. "ANYONE who says or implies that we are compensating people for a vote is dishonest and shameless."

 

 

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Guest Medicinal Patient

This is why its important for no donations of any kind to be handed out during the signing of this recall. I suspect there will be moles trying to sabotage the integrity and validity of this recall petition. Don't get caught making a poor choice. Bsides, no donations should be needed to encourage folk to recall recall recall!!

 

http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,4534,7-164--262063--,00.html

 

Schuette, Johnson Announce Charge Against Dispensary Owner For Offering Free Marijuana for Votes

 

Contact: John Sellek or Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

Agency: Attorney General

 

September 12, 2011

 

 

 

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced a Lansing marijuana dispensary owner has been charged with violating Michigan election law for allegedly offering free marijuana to citizens who registered to vote as an inducement to influence their manner of voting. Shekina Pena, 34, owner of Your Healthy Choice Clinic, has been charged with one count of Election Law - Influencing Voters with Money Or Other Valuable Consideration.

 

"Voters did not intend for marijuana to be handed out as a door prize, especially when it undermines the integrity of our elections process," said Schuette. "Secretary of State Johnson and I will work to ensure that Michigan election law is followed."

 

"Integrity in elections is sacred to democracy," said Johnson, who has made election reform a top priority for the Michigan Department of State. "The intent of their actions was clear - they offered their customers marijuana in exchange for voter registration. They also supplied a slate of their preferred candidates. This goes beyond election shenanigans. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

 

Investigation by the Attorney General's office revealed that on July 27, 2011, Pena's dispensary allegedly offered free marijuana in exchange for citizens registering to vote. The dispensary allegedly encouraged the newly registered voters to support a certain slate of candidates running for Lansing City Council based on their position regarding regulation of marijuana dispensaries, including the one owned by Pena. The dispensary's website also featured the slogan "Vote for Us and We'll Vote For You."

 

Michigan Election Law prohibits the provision of anything of value in order to induce or influence the manner of voting (MCL 168.931(1)(a)). Such violations are misdemeanors punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

 

The charge against Pena was filed today in Lansing's 54A District Court. Pena was arraigned before Judge DeLuca and a personal bond of $3,500 was set. Future court dates have yet to be scheduled.

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