Caregiver hopes to clarify medical marijuana laws through Court of Appeals dispensary case

Posted at 6:25 PM, Dec 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-11 18:25:10-05

SIDNEY, Mich. – An outburst during testimony Tuesday in Lansing led to continued questioning of Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Laws: State Senator Rick Jones ordered a U.S. Army veteran removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the man called law enforcement “jack boots” and “thugs” for the way the MMMA is enforced.

With several bills on the table pushing medical marijuana reform, including legalizing dispensaries, David Overholt is preparing for his case that the Grand Rapids Court of Appeals’ officials said will be heard sometime mid-2016.

A licensed medical marijuana caregiver, Overholt’s dispensary, the Mid Michigan Compassion Club, was raided in 2013. He faced several drug felonies, and when the judge would not allow him to use the MMMA as a defense, Overholt took a plea deal and closed his dispensary just before his case went to trial.

“And there’s your new life,” Overholt said as he showed FOX 17 his new clones.

Once busted and still legally growing, Overholt invited FOX 17 to his farm where he continues to grow pot as a card-carrying caregiver.

“I nurse them (plants) to health, I raise them from babies to the end, and then I watch children stop having spasms, and they want to put me in jail for that?” said Overholt.

Fighting his drug convictions next year in the Michigan Court of Appeals, Overholt said the law is riddled with problems: especially when it comes to providing medicinal marijuana for kids who are licensed patients and need it.

“If I don’t do this, they don’t get it (their medicine),” said Overholte. “I take pride in making sure those kids don’t spasm five and six times a day, and this is it. And if you can make a drug to do it, so be it, but you can’t, and this works.”

In tears, Overholt told FOX 17 he’s passionate about providing medicine to minors who are licensed patients. As a licensed caregiver, Overholt grows for himself but also said he provides medical marijuana to parents, who are licensed caregivers, who then give the meds to their minor child, also a licensed patient.

This transfer is something he plans to argue already exists under the MMMA in the Court of Appeals.

“The intent of this law was to get medicine to sick people who qualified in a compassionate way on endless basis,” said Overholt.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair and State Senator Rick Jones agrees with reform of the muddy MMMA, though responded to Tuesday’s incident and explained the veteran had no right to name-call in the committee.

“It’s very confusing, many, many people have gone to court trying to clarify it because they’ve gotten in trouble and it does need to be cleaned up,” said Jones. “The way it was put on the ballot was terrible: it simply was written very gray and confusing.”

He said part of the issue with the pending legislation and reform is the “in-fighting” among medical marijuana advocate groups. However, Jones said this kind of overage transfer between caregivers as it stands is illegal.

“Caregivers are growing too much, they take the overage, put it in a truck and drive it over to a dispensary and then they sell it to them,” said Jones.

“Then the dispensary sells it people that have marijuana cards, the problem with this is it is totally illegal, why is this happening? Because the cities of Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor and Detroit have decided they’re just going to disregard the law and allow dispensaries.”

Nonetheless, Overholt said the bottom line is making top-grade medicine for those who are licensed and need it most, with the option not to smoke it.

“And the mothers and fathers don’t want to move to Colorado so they can do this,” explained Overholt.

“But right now there is no procedure other than the parent has to be the caregiver, and then has to figure how to grow it and strip the plant of its nutrients and turn it into a God giving oil, and that’s not feasible in many, many scenarios in the family life.”

Overholt is pushing for several pieces of clarification and reform including caregiver to caregiver transfer of medical marijuana, as well as legalizing edibles and concentrates.

Briefs for Overholt’s case are due in Grand Rapids Court of Appeals by Jan. 19. Then a three-judge panel plans to hear the case sometimes mid-2016.