While Michigan law enforcement is busy concocting loopholes to punish registered patients for possession of marijuana, a new report finds that many local sheriffs offices are also taking advantage of the funds generated from the state’s medical marijuana program in order to buy purchase items such as iPads, Tasers, and new vehicles.
According to a report from The Compassionate Chronicles, a number of Michigan sheriffs have been using money from the Michigan Medical Marihuana Fund to make questionable purchases.
The website points out that when Governor Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5313 last year, the fund, which is supported by money paid in by participating patients and caregivers, was intended to be used by local law enforcement “for the operation and oversight of the Michigan medical marihuana program… operation and oversight grants are for education, communication and enforcement of the Michigan medical marihuana act.”
However, out of the $3 million made available to local sheriffs, only around $167,000 was distributed, with just over $116,000 reportedly spent. It seems that out of Michigan’s 83 counties, only four sheriffs’ offices applied for grants. And while all of them were approved, not all of the money was spent as it was originally intended.
In Macomb County, where the local sheriff’s department received more than $63,000, the report shows that officers “did not have the opportunity to attend training,” but the department did purchase a 2015 Dodge Durango and a trailer “to assist” them in investigating participants in the medical marijuana program.
The Sanilac County Sheriff’s Office, which collected nearly $19,000, spent their money on a trailer to haul their ATVs, dress clothing for public presentations, and other clothing needed, perhaps, to look fashionable while conducting raids. However, the report also indicates that almost $4,800 was spent on iPads and around $5,400 on Tasers.
Other jurisdictions cashed in on the fund to pay their officers’ wages. In Lapeer County, which was given over $36,000, the department spent 86 percent of it to pay salaries. The rest, while not documented in detail, was said to have gone toward equipment and evidence storage.
Not all of the four counties approved for grants avoided participation in educational programs designed to help them better understand the medical marijuana program. The St. Clair County Drug Task Force “did attend a much-needed 3 day training in Lansing regarding medical marijuana grow operations.” Yet, the force still spent the majority (81 percent) of their allotted $48,917 on paying officer salaries.
While some of the departments mentioned using the funds for flyover missions to help them eradicate illegal marijuana operations, none of money seems to have gone towards helicopters.