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What life is like after police ransack your house and take ‘every belonging’ — then the charges are dropped

A self-described Michigan “soccer mom” who had “every belonging” taken from her circle of relatives in a 2014 drug raid has been cleared of all criminal costs, 19 months after heavily armed drug challenge force members ransacked her home and…

A self-described Michigan “soccer mom” who had “every belonging” taken from her circle of relatives in a 2014 drug raid has been cleared of all criminal costs, 19 months after heavily armed drug challenge force members ransacked her home and her business. however, in lots of ways, her ordeal is the simplest starting.

Annette Shattuck and her husband, Dale, had been facing felony expenses of ownership of marijuana with motive to distribute, ownership with cause to manufacture marijuana and retaining a drug residence. But ultimate month, Michigan Circuit courtroom choose Daniel Kelly threw out all criminal complaints filed in opposition to the Shattucks “at the grounds of entrapment by using estoppel,” in step with courtroom filings. Entrapment by estoppel occurs whilst a central authority legitimate leads a defendant to believe that their conduct is permissible below the regulation.

The Shattucks‘ case is an instance of how the kingdom’s patchwork marijuana laws can be a confusing mess for patients, organizations and cops alike. Nearly a dozen states now have medical marijuana laws on the books, but legal guidelines vary notably from country to nation. Or even inside states, various fingers of government have clashed over how the legal guidelines are interpreted and enforced.

Annette Shattuck, a registered medical marijuana caregiver, testified on may 26 before the Michigan nation house of Representatives on having her home ravaged and possessions seized with the aid of cops. (house.MI.gov)
In 2014, the Shattucks had been commencing a marijuana dispensary beneath Michigan’s medical marijuana regulation. They worked to make sure every closing detail become in full compliance with the regulation as they understood it: They acquired the permission of the landlord of the constructing where the dispensary, known as the DNA wellness center, changed into to be housed. They went to neighborhood planning commission meetings to attain the proper permits and licenses. They discussed business hours, security features and even signage necessities with the planning fee.

The metropolis constructing inspector checked the assets and authorized the signage. The chairman of the planning commission publicly thanked the Shattucks for running within the allowed legal framework. In line with courtroom files, the Shattucks even went thus far as to name the local sheriff’s Drug mission pressure to ask them to look into the belongings and verify their compliance with the law.

property

property

“We definitely went above and beyond,” Annette Shattuck stated in an interview. “We asked for assist. We went out of our manner to ensure that the whole thing become legit.”

 

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however the venture force in no way inspected the assets. Instead, acting on an anonymous tip that marijuana turned into being bought at the vicinity, dealers of the St. Clair County Drug venture force conducted a number of “controlled buys,” where informants with medical marijuana playing cards entered the dispensary and purchased marijuana below the guise of medical use. That gave them sufficient probably purpose to execute a raid.

Michigan’s existing voter-accepted medical marijuana regulation would not cope with the prison popularity of dispensaries, leaving room for conflicting interpretations. The Shattucks‘ case is an example of what a few drug policy specialists say are the shortcomings of writing drug policy via poll initiative. A more carefully taken into consideration piece of regulation may have clarified the gray areas that led to the raid on the Shattucks‘ domestic and enterprise, for example.

Michigan’s medical marijuana regulation, accredited by using voters in 2008, “is a very complicated statute,” in keeping with Stephen Guilliat, chief assistant prosecutor for St. Clair County, where the dispensary changed into positioned. “Whoever drafted it became either crazy as a fox, or failed to realize what they have been doing.”

Of the 22 states plus D.C. with medical marijuana legal guidelines currently on the books, the handiest Michigan, Montana and Alaska do no longer permit for medical marijuana to be sold from dispensaries. Sufferers in those states are, however, allowed to cultivate limited numbers of marijuana plants themselves, according marijuana reform group NORML. Michigan’s legislature has been running on law that would allow regulated dispensaries, but progress has been gradual.

Technically, Shattuck‘s dispensary should know not were approved with the aid of the city planning fee, due to the fact the regulation does not provide for selling marijuana in dispensaries, Guilliat said. “I assume the township possibly notion they had been doing the right element, with our understanding what the law says,” he delivered.

On July 28, 2014 — not lengthy after the couple reached out to them to perform a compliance check — challenge force retailers raided both the dispensary and the Shattucks‘ domestic. In addition to charging the Shattucks with a spread of marijuana-associated drug crimes, they took a lawnmower, a bicycle, their daughter’s birthday money, their marriage certificate and numerous other belongings, in step with Annette Shattuck‘s testimony before the Michigan house final year.

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