Michigan Resident Faces Prison for Medical Cannabis Sales: “Federal Law Has Not Changed,” says Judge

By: Rita Thompson

Danny Trevino, a resident of Lansing, Michigan, and owner of multiple medical cannabis shops around the state, has just been sentenced to nearly 16 years in federal prison. 

Legal, With Exceptions

Under Michigan state laws, medical cannabis has been legal since 2008. State voters also approved recreational cannabis use in 2018 with the passage of the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (RMLA).

Trevino’s medical card allowed him to possess small amounts of cannabis. However, a prior felony charge prohibited him from growing at home, or care-giving.

According to federal investigators, Trevino operated outside of state and federal laws by illegality providing product; leasing space to grow weed for other farmers; delivering cannabis to people in different counties; and growing more than the legal amount. 

Trevino opened his first business in 2010. Armed with a passion for growing cannabis, he planned to offer cultivation courses, and a variety of infused products, according to Morning Sun.

Records now show that Trevino grossed nearly $3 million at his Hydrowordshops in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Flint, and Mount Pleasant. 

Despite State Law…

Trevino’s prior felonies included drug convictions involving cocaine and cannabis. This record influenced U.S. District Judge, Paul Maloney, to reject his request for the statutory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Trevino’s attorney, Nicholas Bostic, said his client thought his actions were legal. However, Judge Maloney argued that despite the recent changes to state laws—cannabis is still a federal schedule 1 drug. 

“States are changing marijuana laws across the country. Certainly, that’s true. But federal law has not changed,” Maloney explained, referring to Trevino’s actions as defiant. 

As a result, the judge convicted Trevino of conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess cannabis, and maintaining drug-involved premises. Three others associated with the case—Dolores Lopez, Daniel Corbin and Daniel Bachelder—also plead guilty. 

The nearly 16-year sentence rattled Trevino’s family, friends and cannabis activists around the U.S.  MLive reports that supporters leaving the Grand Rapids’ courthouse were heard saying, “That was totally racists. [No] other dispensaries ever get raided,” and “It’s just not fair.” 

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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