As residents prepare to make their choices and cast their ballots for the upcoming elections, they would do well to remember how certain county elected officials reacted these past couple of years to the decriminalization of medical marijuana which was passed by overwhelming majorities of Michigan voters. Instead of a mindful and accommodating attempt to follow the wishes of residents, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard decided to devote huge amounts of effort and resources into investigations, entrapments, raids, and arrests of local residents who attempted to follow the newly passed laws in an open and law-abiding manner.
Mayors, council members, city commissioners, local police, and planning and zoning officials in several cities had painstakingly developed methods to enable patients and caregivers to begin to provide for the use of marijuana as medicine. But our sheriff decided to use his office, time, and efforts to use every known force of law to shut down these efforts. He used helicopters, undercover narcotics agents, snarling dogs, and swat officers in full riot gear and facemasks, carrying automatic weapons to make raids. They arrested owners, nurses, receptionists, and even grandmothers who were trying to follow the new medical marijuana laws.
Lest anyone believe this criticism is partisan, Republican Sheriff Bouchard could not have carried out such raids without support from Democratic County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper. Her 1970’s era “nixonian” beliefs about marijuana enabled this huge waste of law and order resources, against the wishes of people who live in our county.
Thousands of hours of law enforcement, prosecutorial, and court system hours, costing Oakland County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, have been wasted these past couple of years, while thousands of burglaries, assaults, and car thefts go unsolved. Voters should remember this when they get their ballots in the coming election and vote accordingly.
Craig Covey serves as Oakland County Commissioner representing the 25th District, which includes Ferndale, Hazel Park and Royal Oak. He can be reached at 248-721-6434 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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