A probable cause hearing began Wednesday for nine Oakland County residents charged in a case in which local law enforcement is challenging the state’s law that allows distribution of medical marijuana.
The accused were associated with Clinical Relief, a Ferndale marijuana dispensary, and were arrested Aug. 25. An alleged warehouse in Macomb County and two clinics in Waterford Township also were raided, leading to other arrests.
All of the Ferndale defendants are free on bond, and 43rd District Judge Joseph Longo did not decide Wednesday whether to bind them over for trial in Oakland County Circuit Court. The hearing continues Friday.
About 50 people demonstrated outside the hearing in favor of the medical marijuana law and against the crackdown.
Lawyers for the defendants said no laws were broken because the clinic operated within rules established by the law that voters passed in 2008. They said Oakland County’s prosecutor and sheriff brought the charges to test the state’s law.
There have been arrests and confusion over the law statewide.
A Michigan Court of Appeals judge in September urged state legislators to clarify the “inartfully drafted” law, which he said has become a “nightmare.”
A Troy police officer, who served as an undercover investigator with the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team, testified Wednesday that in July she went into Clinical Relief with a counterfeit medical marijuana card and lied to a clinic worker about suffering headaches and experiencing neck pain from a car crash to get an eighth of an ounce of marijuana.
Defense lawyers argued that because the state considers issuance of the cards private medical information, there is no way for a marijuana dispensary to confirm if a card is real or fake.