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Oakland County’S Medical Marijuana Cases Clog Courts


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DETROIT- Oakland County’s worst-in-the-state reputation for pursuing medical marijuana patients and the businesses that service them has brought prosecutors into the Court of Appeals yet again. Today’s action in the Detroit Appellate Court- and actions in May- have resurrected cases that date back as far as 2010.

Oakland County’s reputation for prosecuting the unpopular police actions is infamous. During a Supreme Court session earlier this year, Supreme Court Justice Robert Young referred to the cadre of O.C. attorneys as “frequent flyers” in the Hall of Justice- a valid criticism, since the Court was convened to hear three medical marijuana cases originating from the state’s most wealthy county.

People v Carruthers is a case originating in Oakland County whose appellate decision affected patients state-wide. The Appellate judges defined usable marijuana in such a way as to make nearly all non-smoked forms of medical marijuana illegal to possess by registered patients.  That decision dates back to 2013.


The coordinating case, a raid on a distribution center allegedly operated in part by Mr. Carruthers, was dismissed by a judge in Oakland County due to an entrapment defense. Oakland County prosecutors appealed, and the appellate case was heard in Detroit’s regional appellate court on June 3rd. The defendants are Deonte Arnold and Scheralyn Geer, whom are represented by attorney David Rudoi.

In May, cases relating to raids on dispensaries and homes from 2010 were heard in a county courthouse. The Clinical Relief raid, in Ferndale, came after then-Mayor Craig Covey appeared in newspapers endorsing the medical marijuana distribution center.

photo caption: Barb Agro, holding a picture of her late husband Sal, outside the Oakland County Courthouse

During that investigation officers from Oakland County created fake medical marijuana cards to gain access to the tightly-run dispensary. They executed multiple raids on the homes of the owners and operators of the Centers, including the house where Sal and Barbara Agro lived near Lake Orion.

Sadly, Sal passed away shortly after the raids due to medical issues.

Barbara, now in her 70’s, fights the battle against Jessica Cooper and the Oakland County prosecution team to this day. She and her attorney, Mary Chartier, were back in court for a case review last month. The Clinical Relief case- and all of its associated court actions- are still clogging the courts years after the raids.

Detroits-Global-Marijuana-Freedom-March-Barbara Agro isn’t the only elderly person Ms. Cooper and the County lawyers have doggedly pursued for minor medical marijuana issues. Medical patients Bob Redden and Torey Clark were raided in their Madison Heights home in 2009. The Redden case went all the way up to the Supreme Court before climbing back down the system, eventually resulting in a conviction for a misdemeanor offense in 2013. Mr. Redden, represented at the end by attorney Michael Komorn, walks with a cane and suffers from various ailments.

Ms. Clark has passed away due to complications from her many illnesses, including cancer.

A decision is due any time on the trio of cases heard in the Michigan Supreme Court, which are People v Mazur, People v Hartwick, People v Tuttle. No date is set for a new court action in the Agro case, and it will be several months before a decision is given in the Appellate case involving Carruthers.



Edited by bobandtorey
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A Lake Orion woman sentenced four years ago to 90 days of probation in a medical marijuana case has had her conviction and sentence affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals this week.



Barbara Agro, who was 69 when the Ferndale medical marijuana dispensary where she worked as a receptionist was raided in August 2010, appealed her conviction on one count of delivery or manufacture of marijuana. She was sentenced to 20 hours of community service in addition to the probation.



Agro disputed Oakland Circuit Judge Wendy Potts’ ruling that she failed to establish elements necessary to present a defense under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. 



The Aug. 25, 2010 raid targeted several areas throughout the county, including Clinical Relief in Ferndale and Agro’s home that she shared with husband Sal, who died of a heart attack about a week after the raid.




The Agros’ home had 17 marijuana plants in the basement, a brownie containing marijuana in the freezer and a bottle of marijuana oil in the bathroom. They both were registered medical marijuana patients and Barb Agro was also a registered caregiver.



The prosecution argued that Agro could not raise a defense under the medical marijuana act because she did not keep the plants in an enclosed, locked facility, which is one of the requirements for caregivers under the act. Potts ruled in the prosecution’s favor.



Agro appealed and, in 2013, the Michigan Court of Appeals remanded the case for a continued evidentiary hearing in circuit court after ruling that a defendant does not have to comply with all requirements of one section of the act in order to present a defense under a different section of the act, which says a defendant can assert that marijuana was used for a medical purpose if certain conditions are met.



During the continued evidentiary hearing, Agro said she had arthritis and pain in her hips and knees and sometimes ate a marijuana cookie or brownie to help her sleep. She would rub marijuana oil on her husband’s shoulders and sometimes rub the excess oil onto her knees. She said she only used the marijuana for medical purposes.



Potts again ruled that Agro could not present a defense under the act because her testimony and her medical marijuana registry card “were not sufficient to establish that she had a bona fide physician-patient relationship” with the doctor who provided her medical marijuana certification. 



Agro said she met with the doctor once for about 15 minutes and presented her medical records for a review. The doctor examined her medical history and symptoms and determined that she would benefit from the use of medical marijuana, which Agro believed established a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the court of appeals ruling states.



“We disagree,” the ruling states.



“(Agro) admitted that she had no medical training. The medical records that she purportedly supplied ... were not admitted at the hearing, and (Agro) did not testify that she had any contact with (the doctor) beyond the single 15-minute visit when she received her certification.”



During testimony, Agro said she went to the doctor after seeing his billboard advertising medical marijuana certifications. She did not receive the certification from her family physician of 35 years.



Agro also failed to show that the amount of marijuana she had “was not more than what was reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability to treat or alleviate her serious or debilitation medical condition or symptoms,” Potts ruled, according to the court of appeals’ ruling.



In her appeal, Agro also argued that the law is ambiguous and she “was unable to determine what conduct was proscribed by the statute and believed she had complied with the statute.”



That argument failed, in part because the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a bona fide physician-patient relationship under the medical marijuana act must have existed prior to a medical marijuana certification and maintained after certification, and must have been for the purpose of treating the patient.



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