So How Is This Different From Armed Robbery?

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Earlier this month, police in Oakland County, Michigan raided a medical marijuana dispensary in the town of Oak Park. The deputies came in with guns drawn and bulletproof vests, with at least one wearing a mask.

They made no arrests, but they did clean the place out. The confiscated all of the dispensary’s cash on hand and—in a particularly thuggish touch—also took all of the cash from the wallets and purses of employees and patients. In this update, police officials say the raid was the result of street dealers telling police they were buying marijuana from the dispensary. I suppose we’ll see in time if that’s true, and if it is, if the dispensary was actually aware that it was selling to dealers. But at first blush, the claim sounds like a pretty good way for street dealers to put a legitimate competitor out of business.

Under Michigan’s asset forfeiture law, 80 percent of the cash the deputies seized will go directly to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department. The other 20 percent goes to the local prosecutor. Medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law but is of course still illegal under federal law. And apparently there’s some debate about the legality of dispensaries. All of which means this particular dispensary will have a hard time proving it earned the seized cash legitimately. I doubt the patients and employees will get their cash back, either. The cost of challenging the seizure is likely several times more than the amount of money most people carry on their person.

There’s been some talk in the Michigan legislature about reforming the state’s asset forfeiture laws, but there’s been no action so far. Last February, a former prosecutor described the Michigan forfeiture law to the Detroit News this way:

“It’s a money grab, pure and simple; a sneaky way of getting a penalty on something prosecutors can’t prove. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”


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62 Responses to “So How Is This Different From Armed Robbery?”

  1. #1 |  chris | 

    Let me get this straight. Illegal consensual non-crimes = bad, legally sanctioned crime harming people/property = good? None of these cops see their hypocricy, I’m sure. They’re legally raiding some dope den for justice!

  2. #2 |  Richard P Steeb | 

    Different? It’s the textbook definition of LARCENY. By trough-feeding badge-wearing parasites– only makes it WORSE.

    I’m just sayin’…

  3. #3 |  Bonus Afternoon Links | The Agitator | 

    […] to expand asset forfeiture to allow police agencies to use forfeited funds for general operations. What could possibly go […]

  4. #4 |  Did They? | 

    I just want to know if the same officers went knocking on these “dealers” door? If someone called and told you they were pot dealers(from the street) buying from other dealers wouldn’t you go after the street level people first, leaving the legitimate business alone?
    My daughter asked me if Pirates still existed the other day……now I know for sure they do, and the come wearing badges, and three piece suites.

  5. #5 |  craschworks » Blog Archive » So How Is This Different From Armed Robbery? | 

    […] Under Michigan’s asset forfeiture law, 80 percent of the cash the deputies seized will go directly to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department. The other 20 percent goes to the local prosecutor. Medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law but is of course still illegal under federal law. And apparently there’s some debate about the legality of dispensaries. All of which means this particular dispensary will have a hard time proving it earned the seized cash legitimately. I doubt the patients and employees will get their cash back, either. The cost of challenging the seizure is likely several times more than the amount of money most people carry on their person. via theagitator.com […]

  6. #6 |  How is this different from armed robbery? « Crushing Cigarettes | 

    […] a penalty on something prosecutors can’t prove. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.” via theagitator.com Published […]

  7. #7 |  IronSeraph | 

    so .. i had a similar incident where OCS barged into my home on april 20th, 2011 took all my stuff and the cash out of my wallet and proceeded to leave without so much as a how do you do. i later found out that the the reason they burst into my home under the suspicion of a giant drug party being there and they thought i was selling 4800 pounds of Marijuana a month. they found an empty apartment and less than half an ounce of product yet they still got to seize everything i had despite my not being arrested or even being charged with any crimes. the difference between this and armed robbery is that i can not do anything until my warrant becomes public record, even then it will be an arduous legal battle. at least with an armed robber i could use my shotgun.

  8. #8 |  jaymes | 

    This is so shameful. I plan on being a police officer when I graduate and this just sickens me. this is so obviously just robbery. Every cop who was involved needs to spend ten years (at least) in prison and get their badges taken away

  9. #9 |  Dan Horowitz | 

    Good. You break the law, you pay the price, simple as that. I hope to see as many raids like this as it takes to shut down all the drug dealers. Now they can put that drug money to good use buying some much needed tactical assault equipment for the police.

  10. #10 |  Nem | 

    This is horseSH*T. If it’s legal under state law then why does Oakland County have the right to do this? The federal law needs to change, it is the grey area that gives police the idea that they can rob these places for themselves.

    I say get norml behind you, spread the story, and fight the corrupt power!

  11. #11 |  Mark Snyder | 

    Okay, when a group of people who claim to be police officers raid your building, rob you blind, and steal your property, you do what you would do if they were not police officers. YOU TREAT THEM LIKE THE CRIMINALS THAT THEY ARE. The police do not blatantly rob you of the money in your wallet at gun point. That is what thieves do.

  12. #12 |  Vibius | 

    Ahh members of the Blue Line gang strike again!