Violence Erupts Over Medical Marijuana Prompting Debates
The debate about medical marijuana continues to grow in our country, however, for the first time violence is beginning to erupt for pot growers. A shooting as well as a death which resulted from a beating, appears to be directly to medical marijuana. Because of this it has prompted new calls by law enforcement officials as well as marijuana to try and change the way pot is regulated and protected for those who grow it.
Michael Shane Howard who was a pot grower in Orting, Washington lay bleeding from his wounds after being clubbed in the head with a crowbar when local police were called to the scene. The police decided to question the mortally injured Howard about how many plants he had rather than investigate the assault which took Howard’s life two days later.
Meanwhile, medical marijuana activist Steve Sarich was the victim of a home invasion Monday in Kirkland, Wash. Sarich had been working to publicize the Mike Howard murder over the weekend. Sarich suffered a shotgun blast to the arm and face, and returned fire with a handgun, critically wounding at least one suspect.
“We do nothing whatsoever illegal here, but (the police) will probably come rob my house, cut down my (marijuana) plants and make me a victim twice in one day," said Sarich, who uses medical marijuana to treat his degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis.
Police found 385 pot plants at Sarich’s home. Washington law states that the presumptive limit of marijuana plants someone can have for medical purposes is 15 for each patient, but patients can have more if they demonstrate need.
These violent crimes have sparked a new debate about how police and prosecutors view the legal use of marijuana. "Any person making medical marijuana is going to be a target because they have a valuable commodity", said Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff's Department.
The violence this weekend appears to be yet another kink in the medical marijuana debate. It is unsure how this will affect the new laws, but officials are clearly going to investigate this and it may have a big impact on the outcome.