Pubdate: Thu, 29 Dec 2011
Source: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (MI)
Copyright: 2011 Livingston Daily Press & Argus
Author: Lisa Roose-Church


Michigan voters said yes to medical marijuana in 2008, but the
vagueness in the statute put a wrinkle in the lives of numerous local
caregivers and patients who were arrested in 2011 for violating the

The Michigan Court of Appeals helped iron out some holes when it ruled
in August that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act "does not include
the patient-to-patient 'sales' " and that an Isabella County
dispensary that sells the drug can be closed because it's a public

One such dispensary in Livingston County was Marshall Alternatives at
165 Fowlerville Road in Handy Township, about four miles south of the
village of Fowlerville.

The now-defunct business was arguably the most locally publicized
medical marijuana case after two raids in March and June led to
charges for Marshall Alternatives owners Christi Marshall, 39, and
Alan Dale Marshall, 39, along with employee Stephanie Lynn Baxter, 30,
of Howell.

The three were each charged with delivering marijuana for allegedly
selling the drug to an undercover narcotics officer who posed as a
card-carrying medical marijuana patient in February and May.

On the back of the officer's card, no caregiver was designated.
According to court documents, the defense for the medical use of
marijuana "exists only for a registered caregiver who is connected to
the patient through the Department of Community Health's registration

April Sundie Smith, 44, of Pinckney also is charged with possession of
marijuana with intent to deliver in connection to the Marshall
Alternatives raids, according to court records. All four defendants
return to Circuit Court on Jan. 13.

The Marshall Alternatives case drew statewide attention when the
Marshalls and Baxter were arraigned. Protesters from throughout the
state came to the arraignment and carried signs declaring "Patients
are not criminals."

Brighton residents Gary Katz and Steven Robert Yager and Berkley
resident Jonathan Hunter Rominski also faced legal action as a result
of allegedly violating the state's medical marijuana law.

Katz was accused of not properly storing his marijuana plants in a
secure, locked facility as outlined in the law while Yager and
Rominski erred when they stored their supply together, meaning each
man had access to the other's marijuana, which is prohibited under the
law, authorities argued.

Katz's attorney in August said Katz believed the locked fence around
his backyard constituted a "locked, secure facility" as required in
the state's medical marijuana act.

Prosecutors statewide have argued the lack of a roof on such a
"facility" violates the law.

Yager and Rominski were subsequently sentenced to 11 months of
probation for misdemeanor possession of the marijuana while Katz was
sentenced to two years of probation for manufacturing marijuana.

Some cases that went through Livingston County courts this year were
dismissed. However, statistics on exactly how many were were dismissed
were not compiled by the county prosecutor's office.
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