04 Dec, 2012
Rick Thompson for The Compassion Chronicles
Nearly fifty patients, caregivers and supporters circled the 72ndDistrict Courthouse in Port Huron today to protest the state Attorney General. They show of support was for the owners and employees of Blue Water Compassion Centers, who were raided at the direction of the Attorney General in December 2011.
Protesters bearing colorful signs and chanting slogans like, “Recall Bill Schuette,” pounded the pavement for an hour before the six defendants were arraigned. The protest continued during and after the court activities were concluded; a hearing in the case was set for December 18th at 9:30 am.
At issue are a trio of medical marijuana distribution centers located in three different counties, all simultaneously raided by local authorities and State Police. The Blue Water centers had all been visited by local officials prior to the raid; all had been deemed to operate in conformity with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
During the raid one county, Sanilac, refused to participate in the raid, necessitating the use of state troopers. Despite the region’s conservative leaning there is little support for shuttering businesses that had been active participants in their respective communities.
Prior to the raids, the Blue Water centers had hosted events and conducted food drives to benefit local causes. In 2011 the Lexington Ice Festival was held on their property, a kid-friendly event featuring ice sculptures, a bouncy castle and kid-themed food and beverage. The Centers held a benefit that raised nearly $7,000 for the family of Jennifer Gonzales, a murdered mother that left two small children behind. Other charities that benefitted from the Blue Water include the Lance Armstrong Cancer Foundation, the Policeman’s Association, local fire departments, the Rooftop Sit for Neglected and Abused Children.
The new charges filed by the Attorney General come at a time when his efforts at curtailing medical marijuana are being defeated across the state. The AG’s criminal charges were dismissed against Hydroworld, whose two locations were raided in 2011 under order of the AG. The civil suit that shuttered the Center’s doors still remains- a tactic the AG has not chosen to use in the Blue Water case. Other cases across the state are eroding the AG’s stock arguments about the corrupting influence of medical marijuana and society.
The protest today was focused on objecting to Lansing politicians manipulating local communities. Chants were centered on the AG’s actions, not the local judge and court officers. The next court date for the Blue Water case is Dec. 18, 9:30, 72nd District Court, Port Huron.