KENTWOOD, MICH. – A licensed caregiver convicted of having too much medical marijuana in Kentwood feels vindicated after the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned her conviction and ordered that the case be dismissed, her lawyer said.
“We’re ecstatic because we’ve been fighting this for five years,’’ said attorney Mary Chartier, who’s represented 49-year-old Alenna Marie Rocafort in a protracted legal battle that reached the state Supreme Court.
Rocafort was arrested in 2012 for having more pot than what’s allowed under Michigan’s 2008 Medical Marijuana Act.
Although police seized 5.6 pounds of marijuana, the weight was artificially high because Rocafort harvested the pot four days earlier and it was still drying, her attorney argued.
In a 2 to 1 decision, the Court of Appeals this week vacated her conviction. The split decision follows an April ruling in a separate case in which a different Appeals Court panel said marijuana seized during a raid was ‘drying,’ rather than ‘dried,’ so the harvested weight shouldn’t count against the grower.
The Michigan Supreme Court in September said that ruling should be applied in Rocafort’s case.
“I’m glad Alenna never gave up on it,’’ Chartier said. “She thought she should prevail and she did.’’
The case stems from a Sept. 2012 raid at an unoccupied house in Kentwood where Rocafort grew medical marijuana. Rocafort was a registered patient and caregiver with five registered patients, providing medical marijuana to four of them.
Police found 34 marijuana plants during the Sept. 19 raid. She harvested marijuana four days earlier for hash oil, court records show.
An expert witness testified that it takes between 7 to 10 days to dry marijuana after harvest. The defense witness said he did not think the marijuana was adequately dried, and even dried marijuana contains approximately