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Wednesday, March 2,2011

Still preaching

Despite facing felony drug charges, Fredrick Wayne Dagit helped his son set up a medical marijuana delivery service

by Andy Balaskovitz
Nine weeks in jail and pending felony drug charges aren’t keeping Fredrick Wayne Dagit from doing what he believes is his mission: medical marijuana.

Dagit said he helped his son, Mike, 41, run an Okemos-based medical marijuana delivery service in February.


His son’s business, Sanctuary Meds, was in operation for about three weeks before being sold to a new owner Tuesday afternoon. Dagit said he built the business’s website and helped his son manage the business but did not deliver marijuana.


Dagit was answering phones at the business when he was interviewed on Thursday and again on Monday, when he referred a caller to the Homemade Hydroponics dispensary at the corner of Mt. Hope and Pennsylvania avenues for help obtaining medical marijuana. As of Tuesday afternoon, the business was sold to a new owner, Michael Andring, a Lansing-area resident.


Dagit’s attorney, Michael Van Huysse, isn’t entirely clear how Dagit has been making money since he was released from jail about five months ago.


“I’m not that familiar with what he’s been up to as far as that stuff goes,” Van Huysse said referring to Sanctuary Meds. “My understanding is he still counsels and instructs medical marijuana patients on how to grow their own medical marijuana. Any more detail I really don’t know.”


Dagit, 61, operated the Green Leaf Smokers Club in Williamston Township, a medical marijuana dispensary, until he was arrested on drug charges in May. He faces up to seven years in prison on four felony drug charges. Authorities say Dagit agreed to purchase six duffle bags of the Tri-County Metro Narcotic Squad’s marijuana on behalf of the club. He is awaiting trial in Ingham Co. Circuit Court on two counts of possession with intent to deliver between five and 45 kilograms of marijuana, one count of growing between 20 and 200 marijuana plants and one count of maintaining a drug house. He has been free since August on personal recognizance provided he wear a tether.


Inside Sanctuary Med’s office at 4211 Okemos Road Thursday evening, Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” played at a low volume from Dagit’s laptop computer. Dagit sat with his 16-year-old son, Casey. On his desk was a framed photo of the ribbon-cutting of Green Leaf Smokers Club from March 11 of last year. Among those in the photo were members of the Williamston Chamber of Commerce and City Council.


Dagit was using space in Sanctuary Meds to headquarter Green Leaf University and the Church for Compassionate Care Ministries, which he also ran in the Williamston location. Dagit was ordained through an online ministry.


He hopes to lease more space to hold growing technique classes. There was some equipment — like lights and plastic tubs to start clones — in the office, but Dagit said there was no marijuana on the premises. However, Sanctuary Meds's website offered marijuana for sale.


He also started www.cannabustv.com, which calls itself a “worldwide news source for the cannabis culture enthusiast wanting to keep up on the latest in either the States or abroad.”


He talked optimistically about revamping his businesses.


“Hopefully I can rebuild it for the kids,” he said of his two sons.


“The trouble started with somebody setting me up,” Dagit said. “I’m the one who opened the door for all these dispensaries. They had me pegged.”


You might think someone with four felony drug charges pending would opt to lay low and keep quiet until he’s either back in jail or set free. “I have no guilt. I did nothing wrong,” he said. “Did Jesus stop preaching when they stoned him? I believe in what I am doing. The lord has work for me to do, and I’m trying to get it done before I leave.”


Dagit declined to talk specifically about his pending charges: “I think when you hear the evidence you will say, ‘What the hell did they do to this guy?’”


Van Huysse plans to argue that Dagit was nothing more than an intermediary for the smokers club. According to court documents, there were more than 340 patient-members of the club. Van Huysse said the amount Dagit purchased from a confidential informant was within the quantity needed for that amount of patients.


“While it is undeniable that 100-plus pounds of marijuana is an exorbitant amount for one patient, or even a caregiver and five patients combined, it is not, however, an unreasonable amount for a cooperative that has over 340 patient-members,” reads Dagit’s appeal.


On May 26, authorities said, Dagit paid a confidential informant $10,000 and agreed to pay another $49,000 for six duffle bags of pot. Three were delivered to Dagit’s Okemos home, three to the smokers club, according to authorities.


Dagit testified that the smokers club was “continuously in short supply of medical marijuana to distribute to patients, requiring the cooperative to purchase greater and greater quantities of marijuana to keep up with the demand.”


Dagit said “it was like a dream” when the Tri-County Metro Narcotics Squad raided the smokers club May 26. He said the nine weeks he sat in jail were tough because he didn’t have access to medical marijuana.


Now, Dagit and son Casey are living in an efficiency apartment. He said few people have stuck by him throughout the process.


“People are down on me,” he said of the public and former business partners. “They have forgotten I’m the one who opened the door. Three people have stuck by me of all the hundreds out there.”


“In this industry, you will be targeted if you step outside of the norm,” he added. “But through sympathetic people who are the voters in Michigan, I believe the laws will eventually plane out to a satisfactory condition for patients and caregivers,” he said. “Either through the voting process or activists like myself.”


Dagit served intermittent time in prison between 1969 and 1993 on convictions of kidnapping, burglary, “flights to avoid prosecution,” marijuana possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine in Arizona, Illinois and Florida.


He expressed confidence his attorney can keep him out of prison this time. But if not, so it goes, he said.


“I will accept whatever the future brings.


If I try and do something and don’t accept it, I don’t have faith.”


 

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