November 17 01:30 PM

Konschuh offers his own opinion

Prosecutor says doctors need to police selves on marijuana issue

September 22, 2010
LAPEER COUNTY — Prosecutor Byron Konschuh continues to wait for the completion of an investigation of possible illegalities at the Dryden Compassionate Care Center, before determining if charges will be filed against the Dryden medical marijuana dispensary and its owner.

Konschuh said an opinion offered last week by State of Michigan Court of Appeals Justice Peter O'Connell offered some much-needed clarity regarding the legal parameters of the voter-approved Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008.

Byron Konschuh
He noted that O'Connell's somewhat "narrow" interpretation of the new law is generally consistent with his own.

"At least it's something on the state level that renders an opinion and gives us some guidance," said Konschuh, who feels the law is being hijacked by opportunists.

"This was supposed to be a compassionate law," said Konschuh, "but the referendum gave an inch and they're taking a mile-and-a-half. What we're seeing are a bunch of doctors taking advantage of people.

"I think there's a whole lot of fraud going on," he said. "The doctors need to be policing themselves. There should be a pre-existing relationship between doctor and patient.

"This crazy law is allowing doctors to render an opinion and then never see that patient again," he continued. "If it's truly about providing compassionate care to patients, there should be medical followup and a continuum of (professional) care."

Konschuh would not comment on whether charges will be brought against the downtown Dryden dispensary and owner Randy Crowel.

"We're still getting witness statements and the investigation is ongoing," he said. "I don't see this as criminal critical behavior but we need people to comply with the law. It's my ethical responsibility to enforce the law and look for a reasonable outcome."

Until all the information is presented, Konschuh hesitates to discuss any pending charges against Crowel and the Dryden medical marijuana dispensary.

"What's missing in all of this is," he said, "is if they have been operating legally, with a legitimate number of patients and legitimate number of plants, then they're already complying with the law."

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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