Letters

Letters 08-25-14

Save America

I read your paper because it’s free and I enjoy the ads. But I struggle through the left wing tripe that fills every page, from political cartoons to the vitriolic pen of Mr. Tuttle. What a shame this beautiful area of the state has such an abundance of Socialist/democrats. Or perhaps the silent majority chooses to stay silent...

Doom, Yet a Cup Half Full

In the news we are told of the civil unrest at Ferguson, Mo; ISIS war radicals in Iraq and Syria; the great corporate tax heist at home. You name it. Trouble, trouble, everywhere. It seems to me the U.S. Congress is partially to blame...

Uncomfortable Questions

defending the positions of the Israelis vs Hamas are far too narrow. Even Mr. Tuttle seems to have failed in looking deeply into the divide. American media is not biased against Israel, nor or are they pro Palestine or Hamas...

The Evolution of Man Revisited

As the expectations of manhood evolve, so too do the rules of love. In Mr. Holmes’s statement [from “Our Therapist Will See Us Now” in last week’s issue] he narrows the key to a successful relationship to the basic need to have your wants and needs understood, and it is on this point I expand...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Up in smoke
. . . .

Up in smoke

Anne Stanton - December 20th, 2010
Up in Smoke:  Legal battles create ongoing drama for medical
marijuana growers
By Anne Stanton
 Medical marijuana grower and patient Cecil Drost was able to drive off for
a Florida vacation last week instead of going to jail, relieved that
Charlevoix Prosecutor John Jarema decided to drop all charges against him.
But Drost anxiously wonders if he’ll be compensated for the estimated
$100,000 worth of medical marijuana plants that were seized in the raid.
Drost’s 32 plants were destroyed on September 20, after the Joint
Operational Law Enforcement (JOLT) multi-jurisdictional drug team flew
over Drost’s property in a black helicopter. Shortly afterward, five JOLT
officers entered Drost’s property next door to his home where he has a
barn, an RV, and an enclosed and locked steel mesh hoop house covered by a
white tarp and surrounded by a six-foot tall chain link fence. It was
here that Drost grew marijuana plants for himself and two other medical
marijuana patients.
The deputies edged around a locked power gate blocking his driveway and
went on Drost’s property without a search warrant at about 1:45 p.m. More
than two hours later, they persuaded Assistant Prosecutor Shaynee Fanara
to sign a search warrant by reporting to her that they had found marijuana
growing behind a tarp and “a fence with large open holes in it.”
Drost’s defense attorney, Jesse Williams, said the report of holes in the
fence was a “complete fabrication,” in documents filed with the court,
using photographs as proof. Deputies seized and destroyed all 32 plants.

CLOSED CHAMBERS
More than a dozen people gathered in the courtroom to see the resulting
trial, but heard none of the deliberations that took place in the closed
chambers and at the podium of 90th District Court Judge Richard May.
At the last minute, the prosecutor asked for a promise from Drost to put
chicken wire over the roof of the hoop house. Williams said he readily
agreed because it meant that deputies would “never mess with Cecil again.
Putting that on the record is a safeguard for Cecil. Now he can have a
whole outdoor grow operation, unique to the whole state, and he won’t have
to continue putting plastic on top.”
Jarema said the reason for the chicken wire was that a kid could climb up
the six-foot fence, lean over and grab the plant that was sticking out of
the hoop house near the ground. “I just wanted to make sure people
couldn’t come in and grab his dope.”
Drost said after the trial that he didn’t believe the chicken wire would
make the hoop house any more secure. Someone would need a 14-foot arm with
multiple joints to reach over the six-foot chain link fence and through
another fence (with wider holes than a chicken fence) to the plants
inside, he said.
The Express ran an article about Drost’s troubles in its October 11 issue,
along with a videotaped interview on Up North TV 97. Following
publication, Jarema amped up the original misdemeanor charge to a
four-year felony of delivery and manufacture of a controlled substance,
according to court documents signed on October 19.
Jarema eventually reduced the felony charge to the original misdemeanor
violation of health department regulations after talking to Williams.

HEMP HELICOPTER
Williams asked the court to dismiss the misdemeanor charge, alleging that
the search warrant was obtained on false premises. Along with erroneously
asserting there were holes in the fence, Charlevoix Sheriff’s Deputy
William Church wrote that “the HEMP helicopter spotted marijuana growing”
on the defendant’s property. Williams argued that a “helicopter cannot
visually spot marijuana.”  He added that the law does not require that
medical marijuana plants be invisible from the air space, but only in a
locked and secure enclosure, according to documents filed with the court.
He also said that Drost presented medical marijuana cards for a legal
number of plants, which should have protected him from arrest or
prosecution, according to the law. The deputies failed to mention to
Fareena that Drost was a caregiver and had shown them the cards.
Jarema said in an interview that deputies did not need a search warrant
because they spotted marijuana from the helicopter, and had no way of
knowing that Drost was a legal caregiver until he presented his
state-approved cards once they were on the property. At that point, they
could see a marijuana plant sticking out between the six-foot fence and
hoop house.
        Both Jarema and Williams said after the trial that they felt the
resolution of the case was fair based on the facts.
Drost was grateful. “The Lord works in mysterious ways,” he said, just
before leaving the courthouse. “It’s been a bunch of crap for
everybody—family and friends.”


 
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