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Thursday, October 3,2013

Charges dropped against Greens

Felony marijuana-manufacturing charges against Steve and Maria Green dropped today as couple tries to regain custody of daughter

by Andy Balaskovitz
Maria and Steve Green at a rally in September to support their efforts to regain custody of their daughter. City Pulse file photo.

Thursday, Oct. 3 — Steve and Maria Green, a Lansing couple in the midst of a custody battle with the state over their 7-month-old daughter, landed a victory today when felony drug manufacturing charges pending against them in Oakland County were dropped.


The Greens, who are both medical marijuana patients (Maria Green is also a caregiver), were facing marijuana-manufacturing charges in Oakland County stemming from an incident in 2011.


The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office dropped the charges today after it was proven that Steve Green is a qualifying medical marijuana patient. At the time, Maria Green was a caregiver, but not a patient.


The pending charges played a role in an attorney referee’s decision last month to at least temporarily remove the Greens’ daughter, Brielle, from their home. She was placed in the custody of the Department of Human Services temporarily and has been living with Maria Green’s mom ever since.


Rod Porter, the attorney referee, said the pending charges — along with allegations that the Greens and their guests had been smoking marijuana in front of children — were part of his decision to remove Brielle from their custody. The Greens have denied that there has been smoking in front of children in their home.


It’s unclear how today’s news will affect the outcome of their custody case. A jury trial before Ingham County Probate Judge Richard Garcia is scheduled for Monday.


“In the custody case, they cited that we must be criminals because we’re facing criminal charges,” Steve Green said today. “Now that they’ve dropped those charges and they’ve been dismissed, they don’t have a leg to stand on as far as that argument.”


Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said her department received medical records today showing that Steve Green is a qualifying medical marijuana patient and therefore the plants were being legally grown. Maria Green, who uses medical marijuana to treat multiple sclerosis, was only a caregiver at the time of the incident.


“We got the medical records today and saw it was legitimate,” she said. “We’re not after anybody who’s legitimately ill. That’s not what we’re about.”


Steve Green was using medical marijuana to treat epilepsy. He stopped using cannabis as a treatment in June after an Oakland County judge placed bond conditions restricting him from using it. Green said he stopped having seizures while he was using cannabis by oral ingestion. He said today that he’s had eight since June.


Maria Green stopped using cannabis to treat multiple sclerosis in January after the charges surfaced.


In September 2011, Oakland County police found 29 plants growing in a shed on the Greens’ property as they were investigating an unrelated breaking and entering case in the neighborhood. The Greens were not present at the home when police found them. The Greens later explained that they were legal patients and caregivers within their plant count. The Greens have said they were under the impression that no charges would be filed.


But in January this year, the Greens discovered they had outstanding warrants related to the Oakland County incident.

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