Monday, October 29, 2012

Remember What These Elected Officials Have Done as You Vote

As Oakland County residents prepare to make their choices and cast ballots for the upcoming elections, they would do well to remember how certain county elected officials reacted these past couple of years to the decriminalization of medical marijuana which was passed by overwhelming majorities of Michigan voters. Instead of a mindful and accommodating attempt to follow the wishes of residents, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard decided to devote huge amounts of effort and resources into investigations, entrapments, raids, and arrests of local residents who attempted to follow the newly passed laws in open and law-abiding manners.

Mayors, councilmembers, city commissioners, local police, police chiefs, and planning and zoning officials in several cities, including right here in our own city of Ferndale, painstakingly developed methods to enable patients and caregivers to begin to provide for the use of marijuana as medicine. But our sheriff decided to use his office, time, and efforts to use every known force of law to shut down these efforts. He used helicopters, undercover narcotics agents, snarling dogs, and swat officers in full riot gear and facemasks, carrying automatic weapons to make raids. They arrested owners, nurses, receptionists, and even grandmothers who were trying to follow the new medical marijuana laws.

Lest anyone believe this criticism is partisan, Republican Sheriff Bouchard could not have carried out such raids without support from our Democratic Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper. Her 1970’s era “nixonian” beliefs about marijuana enabled this huge waste of law and order resources, against the wishes of people who live in our city. She went so far as to threaten with criminal prosecution local officials, including mayors, councilmembers, city managers, and a sitting Oakland County Commissioner (me) who attempted to enact zoning areas and permits to allow for the legal distribution of medical marijuana.

Thousands of hours of law enforcement, prosecutorial, and court system hours, costing Oakland County taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, have been wasted these past couple of years, while thousands of burglaries, assaults, and car thefts go unsolved .

Elected officials such as Bouchard and Cooper are decades behind the times, on the wrong side of history, and are both up for election in days. Voters should remember this when they get their ballots in the coming election and vote accordingly.

Craig Covey, Oakland County Commissioner 25th District


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