HILLSDALE — A jury trial has been scheduled for a medical marijuana patient who allegedly possessed over 500 marijuana plants.
Stephen Olin Lothamer, 52, of Reading, will face two counts of controlled substance delivery-manufacture of marijuana on Feb. 10, 2015.
In Circuit Court Monday afternoon Lothamer was formally arraigned on the charges.
Each charge is a felony carrying a potential sentence of 4 years in prison and-or a $20,000 fine, as well as a mandatory license suspension.
During arraignment Lothamer stood mute to the charges; Judge Michael Smith entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
The case was scheduled for a pretrial conference. Smith said he had not seen Lothamer in court before, therefore he needed to formally arraign Lothamer on the charges.
“I was under the impression Mr. Lothamer has been before this court many times,” said Lothamer’s attorney. “I thought it was a pretrial conference.”
Smith said since the defense was prepared for a conference, the court would take a short recess and continue with a conference after arraignment. However, after a meeting between prosecutors and Lothamer’s attorney, Lothamer continued to stand mute and the matter was scheduled for a jury trial.
Lothamer’s arrest and arraignment was the result of a Michigan State Police (MSP) investigation. Assistant Prosecutor Rodney Hassinger said MSP has a specialized drug team that occasionally searches the internet for suspicious activity.
“Lothamer was advertising marijuana on craigslist,” said Hassinger. “The officer contacted him and told him he’s a card holder.”
Out of uniform, the officer went to see Lothamer and exchanged money for 31 marijuana plants.
“The officer was never asked to show his marijuana card,” said Hassinger. “After he left the police went back and discovered 490 additional plants.”
Detective Sergeant Pillar of the Michigan State Police Region of the Irish Hills Narcotics Office (RHINO) said Lothamer consented to the search of his residence.
“It was a knock-and-talk,” said Pillar. “Lothamer allowed the officer to search his greenhouse and 490 additional plants were discovered.”
Michigan Law provides for two types of medical marijuana cards — one for patients and the other for caregivers.
A patient has the right to possess 12 plants and-or 2.5 ounces of the drug. Caregivers have the right to supply up to six people with medical marijuana and possess up to 72 plants.
The caregiver must however have the patient’s paperwork at the location of the grow facility.
“Not under any scenario can anyone have more than 72 plants,” said Hassinger. “There’s no scenario at all that would allow him to have that quantity.”
There is, however, a rare exception. Hassinger said a doctor can be called to the stand to testify that the law doesn’t allow the amount the patient needs.
Page 2 of 2 – In statements made after the arraignment Lothamer said he and his wife are both prescribed by a physician for the use of medical marijuana and that they make donations to other medical marijuana patients.
Lothamer said because of his wife’s illness, their physician told them they “couldn’t grow enough.”
“We just get the plants started,” said Lothamer. “We then donate them to other patients.”
Lothamer also said medical marijuana is far more effective in treating his wife’s illness than the other prescribed pharmaceuticals.
“Taxpayers pay for my wife’s medication,” said Lothamer. “It’s costs almost $60,000 a year for it. Medical marijuana costs the taxpayer nothing.”
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.
Scottish readers: Undecided about the referendum? Please read How the media shafted the people of Scotland and Scottish Independence, Power And Propaganda.