On Monday, Steve and Maria Green — both medical marijuana patients — go before a jury trial in Ingham County Probate Court in an attempt to regain custody of their 7-month-old daughter, Brielle. She was removed from the Greens’ home by Child Protective Services last month because marijuana was being grown, legally, in the home. Charmie Gholson is the founder of Michigan Moms United. She can be reached at okisay@ yahoo.com.
I’ve been looking for Steve and Maria Green for a long time.
The drug war is an abysmal, abject failure. We’ve poured a trillion dollars down the rat hole since 1971 in a failed attempt to eradicate drugs from society. The effect has been the exact opposite. We haven’t slowed the flow of drugs into society. Arresting people for manufacturing, distributing and consuming drugs has filled our prisons and clogged our judicial system, prevented people from obtaining education, housing and employment, escalated police corruption and black market violence surrounding drugs, and it has done absolutely nothing to save lives or prevent illness and death.
What does this have to do with the Green family?
When the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was passed with overwhelming support in 2008, it included specific protections from police encounters, including removing children from the homes of caregivers and patients who register with the state and comply with the act.
However, a coordinated effort to undermine these protections has been playing out in Michigan courts and homes since the act was passed. Grand Rapids City Attorney Catherine Mish spelled out the strategy at a Michigan Municipal League seminar in September 2010. Mish repeatedly called for arrests and prosecution of medical marijuana patients and caregivers under both state and federal law, and urged the some 75 municipal leaders in that room to join in a lawsuit to challenge the act base on federal supremacy — that federal law supersedes our state laws. She instructed prosecutors to appeal medical marijuana cases when dismissed in order to work these cases to the highest courts, with hopes that the courts would redefine the act in accordance with their narrow interpretation.
Mish gave suggestions as to what types of offenses police can write in order to create test cases — such as when a caregiver’s spouse lives in the house where medicine is grown and has access to the plants, even if they are in a closed, locked facility.
It’s been an effective campaign. Case after case has reached the higher courts and law enforcement continues to arrest, raid, incarcerate and extract thousands of dollars from Michigan families who thought they were protected by the law.
It’s incredibly difficult to publicize these systemic attacks. Most victims can’t tell their story to the media because, when they do, the criminal justice system retaliates.
Back to the Greens. Maria and Steve Green are a disabled Lansing couple who have been prosecuted by the state for the last several years. Maria, who has multiple sclerosis, left her job as a pre-school teacher to work in a grow store so she could learn how to grow medical cannabis for her husband. Steve Green has suffered over 300 Grand Mal seizers from epilepsy, a condition that was completely put into remission only with the use of oral, concentrated cannabis oil — something the 12 anti-epileptic, anticonvulsants prescribed to Steve were not able to achieve.
That is, the seizures were stopped completely until Oakland County Judge Leo Bowman in June ordered both Maria and Steve to not use medical marijuana as conditions of bond while they are prosecuted for growing medical marijuana. Now Steve is forced to take pharmaceuticals that don’t stop the life-threatening seizures and Bowman has ordered Maria to stop caregiving after he saw her on the news over the past few weeks discussing her case.
Maria is a domestic violence survivor and her ex-husband has continued abusing her through the willing criminal justice system. He initiated a Child Protective Services investigation that led to the removal of the Green’s then 6-month-old infant Brielle from their custody on Sept. 13 by an Ingham County attorney referee. That referee, Rod Porter, said the reports that they smoke marijuana in their home — which is refuted by the Greens, as Steve takes his cannabis capsules orally — and the possibility of someone breaking into their home to steal their medicine put the infant in immediate and imminent danger.
If you’re struggling to understand this logic, you’re not alone. I’ve been doing media interviews with the Greens since Bree was taken from them. Every reporter we’ve talked to is confused and angry. Thank God. Thank God for Steve and Maria, who openly discuss their case with the media. Thank God they refuse to take a plea deal and have requested a jury trail in the custody case that begins Monday because prosecutors work very hard to prevent medical marijuana cases from going before a jury.
The Greens know CPS had no right to take their baby. They know they are protected under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, and that the entire act is on trial in that courtroom. Itīs rare that a family being persecuted takes such a strong, ethical stance. I honor and uphold the Greens for their strength, courage and absolute adherence to the values that built America: our Constitutional rights.