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Charges pending after major Michigan marijuana grow house raid

Although no charges have been brought yet, police are investigating a 30-year-old man and 25-year-old woman from Paw Paw, Michigan. According to police, they searched the couple's residence when they were not home, finding marijuana plants growing inside. It is unclear whether the police had a warrant.

Among the items police claim they seized from the home were firearms, approximately two pounds of marijuana, over 100 marijuana plants, packaging items, scales to weigh the drugs, several thousand dollars in cash and two vehicles.

At the time of reports, police were attempting to obtain warrants to arrest the man and woman. The state plans to charge them with manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to deliver, felony firearm possession and maintaining a drug house.

Although a first offense for simple possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor, the charges that police plan to bring against the two individuals in this case are for felonies. In Michigan, felony charges can be brought for possession of a significant amount of marijuana, distribution or sale of marijuana or cultivating marijuana. A growing operation that involves 200 or more marijuana plants can carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

There is an exception to these harsh penalties under Michigan's medical marijuana law, which allows possession of a small amount of marijuana and the growing of marijuana plants for individuals who have obtained an authorized medical marijuana card. At times, this law can create confusion and lead police to charge those who are just involved in the legal sale of marijuana.

In addition, there are several defenses available for serious drug-related charges. For example, if the police did not have a warrant to conduct a search -- or searched areas not specifically mentioned in a warrant -- any evidence found inside their home could be deemed inadmissible in court. Such a finding would seriously weaken the state's case against the Michigan homeowners.

Source: Michigan Live, "Police find guns, indoor marijuana grow operations and cash in Paw Paw drug bust," Aaron Mueller, July 25, 2012

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