Everyone should appreciate the brave public service that most police officers perform, but on some occasions, it is hard not to think N.W.A. were on to something. Case in point, the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division. According to a news report by a Fox affiliate, it is possible the police crime labs intentionally misreport cannabis findings to turn misdemeanor charges into felonies. An ongoing case recently brought the injustice to light.
Max Lorincz is a father and medical marijuana (MMJ) patient in Michigan with chronic pain issues stemming from herniated back discs and severe celiac disease. Law enforcement officers on an unrelated medical emergency call for Max’s wife spotted a butane hash oil (BHO) smear in the house. Based on this finding, the police arrested Max, who is being charged with felony possession of synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Most 710 dabbers are scratching their heads right now thinking, “Synthetic THC in butane hash oil?” That sounds strange until you realize possession of cannabis is a misdemeanor and synthetic THC a felony.
As reported by FOX 17, Lorincz refused to plead guilty to misdemeanor cannabis possession since he is a card-carrying MMJ patient, and the local prosecutor responded by charging him with felony synthetic THC possession. As a result of the charges, Lorincz lost custody of his six-year-old son, whom he can now only see on supervised public visits. He also had to switch to hardcore prescription opioids that make him “feel like a zombie.
Attorney Michael Komorn, who took on the Lorincz case pro bono, acquired numerous documents and emails via the Freedom of Information Act that show the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division, the Attorney General’s office and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan pushed to change crime lab policies in 2013 to make technicians label this type of THC as “origin unknown.” The attorney argues that the lab can easily tell if the THC is natural, but the “origin unknown” label allows prosecutors to claim synthetic THC, press for felonies and eliminate MMJ defenses by saying it is not “usable marijuana” as required by MMJ law.
“We have emails within the state laboratory communications indicating this: that they know it's unlikely, more than unlikely near an impossible, that the patients and caregivers are in a laboratory synthesizing THC,” Komorn told FOX 17. “It's not happening, yet they report it as such.”
“What is unique about this case is that [the prosecution is] relying on the lab to report these substances so that they can escalate these crimes from misdemeanors to felonies,” he added. “You can't play around with this type of thing and make stuff up and create crimes and be influenced by what the prosecutors want you to do and then come to court, take an oath, and expect to be received as an expert in forensic science.”
“If nobody stands up for this and it just keeps going the way it is, how many more people are going to get thrown under the bus just for using their prescribed medicine?” Lorincz also told FOX 17.
Komron filed motions for an evidentiary hearing next week.
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