Information sought on 7 people who possess medical or caregiver cards
DETROIT - Federal agents want Michigan to turn over medical marijuana records as part of an investigation in the Lansing area, a sign that voter approval won't stop federal authorities from enforcing their drug laws.
Michigan voters agreed in 2008 to legalize the use of marijuana in treating some health problems.
But "the cultivation, possession and distribution of marijuana remains illegal under federal law," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bruha said in a court filing last week.
The U.S. attorney's office has asked a judge to order the Department of Community Health to comply with a subpoena for records of seven people with medical marijuana or marijuana caregiver cards. The state has been resisting turning over the information because of a privacy provision in Michigan law, Bruha said.
No names or identifying information about the seven are included in court documents, nor are details about the Drug Enforcement Administration's investigation.
DEA spokesman Rich Isaacson in Detroit wouldn't comment about the case Monday but said agents generally are "not targeting people that are unambiguously following the state medical marijuana law."
"The DEA targets large scale drug trafficking organizations and does not expend its resources on individuals possessing 'user amount' quantities of illegal drugs," he said.
The federal government apparently hasn't been in a rush to get the information: The subpoena was given to the Department of Community Health in June.
More than 45,000 people in Michigan are registered to use marijuana to ease the symptoms of cancer and other health problems.
They can have up to 2 1/2 ounces of ready-to-use pot and up to 12 plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. They could also choose to have a registered caregiver grow the drug for them.
Law enforcement officials have panned the law as poorly written, and an appeals court judge has called it a "maze." The American Civil Liberties Union is suing cities over anti-marijuana policies.
DECEMBER 28, 2010
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