May 26 • 05:45 PM

Advocates stage protest in Lapeer

Hundreds converge at Sheriff's protest raids at Dryden dispensary

Legal marijuana advocates carry placards supporting their cause Monday. photo by Tom Wearing.

September 15, 2010
LAPEER — A couple hundred medical marijuana advocates assembled outside the Lapeer County Sheriff's Department Monday (Sept. 13) afternoon, protesting recent raids at Detroit-area medical marijuana dispensaries, including Dryden's Compassionate Care Center.

The protesters, many of whom carried placards and shouted slogans, began arriving by the bus load at around 12:45 p.m. The bulk of them planned to participate in a second protest at 3:30 p.m. at the office of Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Protest organizer Rick Thompson of Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said the public display represents a growing wave of frustration among individuals who legally applied for patient cards and benefit from marijuana's medical benefits.

"We are here to represent the rights of patients and caregivers," Thompson said. "When they open and confiscate medical records protected by HIPAA laws, they are violating the rights of patients."

Thompson was alluding to the Lapeer County Sheriff's Dept., which has conducted two raids at the downtown Dryden dispensary. The second raid on Sept. 8 netted quantities of marijuana, a safe and patient records.

A resident of Clare, Michigan, who identified himself as a medical marijuana patient, thinks educating the public is still the preferable option to public protest.

"I'm a cardiac patient and (marijuana) is really the only thing that helps," he said. "I can't take other things like aspirin or codeine or steroids because of the side effects.

"I smoke it but I like to take it in capsule form," he continued. "It helps with my pain and increases my appetite.

"I ended up in the hospital three times with side effects from other medications," he said. "This gives me some relief without the problems."

About an hour into the protest, many in the crowd erupted into a bronx cheer as Sheriff's Lt./Det. Gary Parks emerged from his vehicle.

Parks is leading the Sheriff department's investigation into allegations the Dryden dispensary, and its owners, may have been acting illegally.

As of Monday, the Compassionate Care Center was closed and a padlock had been affixed to the front door.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, the Dryden Village Zoning and Planning Commission will host a public meeting on zoning at the downtown dispensary..

Because a large crowd is expected, the meeting will will be moved to Dryden High School, starting promptly at 7 p.m.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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