Police raids on medical marijuana dispensaries lead to arrests

Several medical marijuana dispensaries in Grand Rapids have been raided and arrests have been made as police enforce a Michigan Supreme Court decision that medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal.

The first three raids occurred on March 6 at the Mid-Michigan Compassion Club on Leonard Street, Natural Wellness Associates on Taylor Avenue and Purple Med on Plainfield Avenue. Law enforcement officials had long suspected that medical marijuana dispensaries were not legal under Michigan law, but weren’t confident enough to act until the Michigan Supreme Court decided the issue in February, according to Lt. Richard Nawrocki, head of the Grand Rapids police vice unit.

In the original raids, police took marijuana, baked goods containing marijuana, cash and financial records to use as evidence in possible criminal investigations. Those investigations led to the arrest of Dave Overholt, the founder of the Mid-Michigan Compassion Club on Friday, April 5 on charges of delivering or manufacturing marijuana, delivering or manufacturing narcotics and frequenting a drug house.

Overholt’s lawyer, Richard Gould, said that Overholt, 55, turned himself in to police, was arraigned by video and released on a $25,000 bail. His a preliminary hearing is set for April 18.

“He doesn’t think he’s done or does anything wrong,” Gould indicated of Overholt.

Overholt demonstrated his unapologetic attitude after the March 6 raid, saying of the police, “They just didn’t want us to be in business. But we’re not doing anything wrong.”

Another arrest was made on April 10 of a person affiliated with the Purple Med dispensary, according to Lt. Nawrocki. Warrants were also issued by the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office for two people, one affiliated with the Purple Med dispensary and one with Natural Wellness Associates. The arrests were for the same charges as Overholt’s, said Nawrocki, but he avoided mentioning the names of the individuals involved, as formal charges had not yet been leveled.

Although Grand Rapids has decriminalized possession of marijuana, it is not officially legal and instead only results in a fine. Grand Rapids law enforcement has opposed the measure that led to the decriminalization of marijuana and is currently challenging parts of the law. Distribution of marijuana, however, is still a criminal offense.