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Man Gets 17 Month Prison Sentence For Marijuana Crime


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Lawyer: He was a medical marijuana participant

Nicholas Grenke ngrenke@sentinel-standard.com



A Gladwin man was sentenced to 17 months in prison Monday for controlled delivery of marijuana.


also received credit for two days served in the Ionia County Jail. He had agreed to a plea bargain for a lighter sentence with the Ionia County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. However, Ionia Circuit Court Judge Ron Schafer said because of 's criminal history, he not would agree to minimum sentencing guidelines as laid out by the guilty plea.


's attorney, Bruce Leach, said his client was a participant of Michigan's medical marijuana program due to two carpal tunnel surgeries. He also presented the judge with a character letter for support from the Gladwin County Sheriff before sentencing.


Schafer said there were other ways to treat pain, and criticized Michigan's medical marijuana laws.


“I think the whole idea that we put medical in front of marijuana was a mistake,” Schafer said.


also apologized for his past criminal history, which includes 13 prior felonies according to Schafer, and said he wanted an opportunity to prove himself. Schafer said 's criminal history showed a pattern of disrespect for the law.


“They say a leopard doesn't change his spots, I hope you have changed your spots,” Schafer said.


Schafer also exceeded the plea agreement reached with a Lake Odessa man convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon.


was sentenced to 21 months to four years in prison, with credit for one day served in the Ionia County Jail. He was taken into custody after the sentence was handed out by Schafer.


pleaded no contest to the crime. He drove his vehicle at the victim, according to court testimony and had a prior record of domestic violence, according to Schafer.


Ionia County Probate Court Judge Robert Sykes also took issue with Michigan's medical marijuana law on Monday when he sentenced an Ionia County man to two years of probation for possession of marijuana.


of Alto was sentenced to 81 days in the Ionia County Jail with credit for 81 days served. Sykes was the sentencing judge because Schafer was the Ionia County Prosecuting Attorney earlier this year.


Sykes recommended , who said he was a disabled veteran, find other ways to deal with pain. The defendant said he had to ween himself off addicting painkillers and the staff at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs recommended he get a medical marijuana prescription.


said he did not have his prescription, but had an appointment to meet with a doctor shortly before his arrest on May 8.


“(Medical marijuana is) a big scam quite frankly,” Sykes said. “People who have been using marijuana illegally take it for opportunity to use it legally.”

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