That equates to nearly 1.5 million plants that can legally be cultivated in this state.
We’re not here to debate the pros and cons of whether marijuana should be illegal, nor do we plan to argue the merits of using the weed for medicinal purposes. But what’s obvious to us, with the recent pot seizure in Spring Lake, is that there needs to be better cooperation between the state medical marijuana licensure agency and police authorities.
As it is now, if someone reports a growing operation in their neighborhood, police can’t simply type the address or the property owner’s name into a registry to determine if they’re licensed to cultivate the potent plants.
Nope, police have to jump through legislative hoops to get a “yes” or “no” answer to whether someone is authorized to grow pot.
But they’d only get that answer once they have the medical marijuana card number. Getting access to the card would, shockingly enough, blow any investigation into an illegal drug operation.
To avoid compromising an investigation, officers often end up getting a warrant, seizing the plants and then sorting it all out later with the state.
This is an undue burden on law enforcement agencies and a waste of precious resources.
Such seizures by officers also seem inherently unfair to those who are playing by the rules.
House Bill 4834, approved this spring, initially sought, in part, to change the state’s medical marijuana provision by allowing direct access to the registry by law enforcement officials. This would have taken care of the glitch in the system. But this particular section of the bill was neutered prior to passage.
The bill awaits Senate review and — like many other measures that seek to amend this law — likely won’t get the three-fourths majority vote, especially not in a lame-duck session.
Legislators need to take a second look at this issue. They need to talk with police officers about the challenges they face — and figure out a better, more cooperative system that still upholds the spirit of the law.
If they don’t, legal growers will continue to be raided, access to legitimate medical marijuana will be reduced for patients and officers will continue to spin their wheels. What a waste.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.