Ballad of Alan Wit: My Time with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Community
There I was in Gaylord, Michigan. It felt like I was back at a family reunion, but with a tad bit more unpredictability. I was going to a trial for a man who sold just an intsy bit over the state of Michigan’s set limit for medical marijuana. Further, he sold edibles, which are against state law. My mind was blown. I wanted him to win, whether it was the jury nullification stuff I was working on with other activists, or through its natural course. But it seemed like the prosecutor had it in for the guy.
From what it sounded like, it was a set-up. Although I was not there for the second day of the trial, from what I was told, Alan Witt, the clerk at the dispensary, was asked for more than the legal limit. The main thing he noted was whether the amount he gave was a continuous supply was within state limits, even though in one quantity it is not. The prosecutor did not buy it. In the end, he was prosecuted on one count, but escaped the others. The witness was undercover with the sting team, but from the first day you would think he was a poor soul trying to get medical marijuana, but had not done his due diligence on whether his doctor was legal or not. To me, it sounded like a damnation of the medical marijuana community by the prosecutor, who was a smug worm, with a holier-than-thou attitude that rivaled those who promoted alcohol prohibition. But the major thing was not the trial, but the sense of community that there was in the area.
Whenever I talked to caregivers or patients, they mostly seemed upbeat and full of heart. We (the Libertarian Party Chairman and I) talked to potential allies as well as to patients, but the patients seemed way more friendly, with the exception of the local NORML chapter near our backyard. The rest seemed wrapped up in who is who, and what is what, which is fine, but seemed to miss the point. The point was there were many great people that have had tremendous suffering, and yet they kept fighting. They had big hearts and showed it. I talked with a gentleman, who happened to be selling t-shirts near the trial. He explained how he was a medical marijuana user and how it helped him cope with his pain. He radiated with care, and just from how he explained his support you could tell by the passion he was for real. He took his medicine for pain in his bones, because in the end, as his t-shirt echoed, medical marijuana was his med box.
After the trial, I couldn’t help but think that everyone in there was civil, and the air was filled with support for Alan. After I walked out, I noticed a few pockets of supporters, mostly split by ideology. One man, interestingly, was a conservative, while the lady I was meeting up with there was a libertarian, and there were even Greens in the mix, a beautiful mix, as the chatter testified. Later, our convoy went back to the hotel room, which descended into talk about Agenda 21, local planning (I am on the local planning board for my town), how Keynes was an asshole, strategies for upcoming elections, and a generally boisterous party-like atmosphere. I partook in conversation, but sooner rather than later I had to get back to my city, but not before we took a stab at the activist meetup. My carpool mate wanted to go, but due to bad directions, we could not oblige, so we set off on the road, with a set memory of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Community.
* Zach Boyle is the Vice Chairman of the Northeast Lower Michigan Libertarian Party.
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