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Posted on Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

Medical marijuana dispensary owner, employees watch police raid unfold

By Juliana Keeping


Chuck Ream unloads signs supporting medical marijuana from his van. Police raided Ream's MedMar medical marijuana clinic Thursday.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Chuck Ream sat in a green plastic chair just to the side of the MedMar medical marijuana dispensary as police raided the business inside Thursday morning in Ann Arbor.

Ream, who is a partner in the business, sat with his laptop at his feet and shoveled oatmeal mixed with seeds, nuts and peaches from a stainless steel sauce pan into his mouth.

Despite the raid, Ream looked calm with his long, thin frame stretched out in the plastic chair.

He wasn’t.

The raid at Ream's clinic on Packard Street was 1 of 2 the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team conducted Thursday in Ann Arbor, just a day after the Michigan Court of Appeals released its ruling that sales of pot at dispensaries are illegal. Police also raided the A2 Go Green Corp. at 206 S. Main St.

State police, however, said the raids were not related to the ruling and were the result of an ongoing investigation. Det. 1st Lt. Wynonia Sturdivant said the dispensaries allegedly didn't follow established guidelines.

MedMar is in a nondescript building with a yellow sign that reads “1818 Packard.” The sign features a twisting vine of leaves that only roughly resemble those of the marijuana plant. Thursday morning, seven officers with the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team, four of whom wore black masks covering their faces, went through paperwork and packed boxes.


An Ann Arbor police car sits outside Chuck Ream's clinic while officers with the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team raid it.

Ryan Stanton |

Ream said employees told him police arrived about 10:40 a.m. and took into custody two men, Ream called his “bud masters.” A third man was taken into custody shortly afterward, Ream said.

Ream said he arrived around 11 a.m. and was told he couldn’t come inside. He sat down next to the building. His fiancee had called an reporter to report the raid.

An Ann Arbor Police squad car kept Ream and others out of the lot while LAWNET officers conducted the raid.

Just before noon, Ream jumped up from his chair and hopped into a big white van, tearing out of the lot, almost hitting an unmarked silver state police vehicle.

He was off to collect protest signs from his place. A short while later, he tore back into the lot.

“What ya got there, Chuck?” asked TJ Rice, a friend of Ream’s who showed up to support him. Police busted Rice’s dispensary in March 2010; felony drug charges were brought against him a year later.

Ream was busy handing out a pile of signs with slogans like “Drug war is domestic terrorism” and “Let my caregiver grow.” and half-muttering, half-yelling insults like “Pig, dog, anti-American, Nazi, bastards” at the police to answer.

Price took four signs. Two employees took at least two each. They started to march up and down the sidewalk as a black Ford F-150 backed up to the front door of the dispensary.

Two Ann Arbor police squad cars had rolled up in the mean time.

The yelling intensified as masked officers loaded boxes, computers, a Rubbermaid container and plastic bags into the back of the F-150.


Chuck Ream carries signs protesting police action against his medical marijuana clinic.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Employees of Packard Auto Repair next door watched as the raid unfolded. Cars honked and some passers-by joined in the shouting. Others asked questions of Ream and the protesters.

Ream and the others continued to shout at the officers calling them “un-American” and “bogeymen.” The protesters demanded to know why some of the officers were masked and why they were taking the marijuana away.

One of them responded: “We’re just following the law.”

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act says patients can grow for themselves or caregivers can grow for up to five patients. The law, in effect since April 2009, is silent on dispensaries. Many popped up anyway around the state, including at least 20 in Washtenaw County.

A state appeals court ruling this week made the transfer of money for pot between patients illegal at dispensaries. Following the ruling, State Attorney General Bill Schuette said dispensaries are not legal and can be shut down.

MedMar supplied about 800 patients as of Wednesday. It won’t be supplying any now.

After the black and silver unmarked LAWNET vehicles pulled out of the lot about 12:30 p.m. Thursday with their collection from the shop, protesters staked their signs around the building and ventured into the dispensary.

Police hadn’t ransacked the shop, but files, marijuana and computers were gone.

Donna Paridee, a worker and a patient at the dispensary, looked through her desk to see what was missing. A drawer full of patient identifications cards and cash was gone, she said. So was her computer. She put her hands over her eyes and worried out loud what police would be doing with the patients’ information.

A woman who said she was the girlfriend of an employee who’d been taken into custody showed up. She had tears in her eyes and Paridee hugged her. The girlfriend wondered outloud if things could get any worse.

Paridee suggested she think of the people who lost their lives on 9/11.

Ream took a couple of reporters to the dispensary's back room, where the different marijuana strains had been kept on display in glass cases. A two-way mirror broadcast the growing number of people milling around in the lobby.

All of the marijuana kept in the glass cases was gone. Nine safes in a back room that had held marijuana and cash were open and empty. Computers were also gone and the security cameras were unplugged. Ream estimated police seized a few thousand dollars and up to 3 or 4 pounds of marijuana.

"Who funds this whole operation?" a reporter asked.

“That’s not important now,” Ream said.

Further back in the dispensary are a kitchen, offices, a security room and a room with a massage table.

“No one smokes weed in there,” Ream said of the massage table room. “We offered health services, like massage.”

In the kitchen, Ream opened the refrigerator to find the officers missed two pot cupcakes and a chocolate bar. All the other “medibles,” foods containing marijuana, were gone, too, Ream said.

Back outside, people who witnessed the raid smoked cigarettes and looked upset.

A woman walked in who was interested in paying the $12 fee to join MedMar and purchase marijuana.

Ream told her about the raid. The woman and Paridee talked anyway at her emptied desk.

Ream said that, for now, everyone at the dispensary is out of work.

“It’s done right now, but we shall return and will be back with a bang,” he said.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


Donald Thompson

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

@Hunterjim's comment...laws are made by a majority just like the medical marijuana law that was passed there. If you disagree with what the majority voted, that would mean you r in the minority.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

Since I cannot begin to refute every naive, uninformed comment here I will simply say this: 1. After a call to Bill Schutte's office I finally got one of his rep's to admit that while the law doesn't provide for dispensaries, it doesn't say they can't exist. The court on Thursday INTERPETED the law. It is their OPINION that they are illegal. So those of you claiming dispensaries are illegal under the law, not true. 2. Why is Heaven's name would we want the pharaceutical companies to tamper with this? Have they produced one thing recently that doesn't come with a laundry list of side effects? One pill becomes 5 so you can counteract the effects of the first pill! Leave it to the people who care about producing a quality product. 3. This is a witch hunt, plain and simple. The number one drug problem in this country is alcohol. Yet you will find a bar, liquor store, restaurant, grocery store, etc on every corner selling it. One would think our politicians would do something about that. But no, their buddies in the liquor industry wouldn't like it. 4. Those of you who believe you're dealing with yesterday's 60's stoner are in for a big surprise. The people fighting for this are intelligent and educated. We won't be going away. 5. Should bad dispensaries be closed? Absolutely! But if the local pharmacy was selling out the back door you wouldn't shut them all down. Keep the good and get rid of the bad. 6. Not all patients are dying. Many with diabetes, ashtma, glaucoma, MS, etc are able to get off of pharmaceutical drugs thanks to medical marijuana. If you choose to stay with pharmacy drugs that's your choice. However, when a natural remedy is available you don't have the right to tell someone else they can't use it. 7. Finally, EDUCATE YOURSELVES! Try looking up some websites that don't end in .gov. You might learn something.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

Same can be said for any law you don't like. WAAAAAAA!! The answer is to stop smoking pot, retire the ratty army jacket, go down to the car wash and GET A JOB!!


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

Yea, you pot heads are well known for your grasp of "facts"!! LOL Party on dude!!


Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

What a thoughtful and mature comment. Let's ignore the facts and get on with the juvenile rants. Make sure you stick your tongue out at the same time.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

Federal, State, & Local authorities spend billions of dollars every single year to enforce marijuana laws. The courts and parole staff are overwhelmed by these kinds of cases, the prison system is overcrowded and bankrupt because of all these marijuana related charges, and tens of thousands of otherwise productive citizens have their lives ruined over marijuana possession. And why? Should the government even be involved in this? I think every citizen should ask themselves...tens of millions of otherwise honest, law abiding, productive citizens are also recreational drug users. Should the government really be spending so much in money and time to prosecute such a wide spread behavior?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

I'm so glad we know about Mr. Ream's eating and style proclivities. What a poorly written, biased, fact-anemic story.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

Maybe Chuck should run for AG with all the free press he's been receiving. He seems to have his picture, (twice in this article alone) or is quoted in this news source quite regularly. Obviously, all that voted for the mml would support him. He'd be a great supporter of the MEA, too. 2 birds, one stone.

Always Amazed

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

Seems to me that if medical marijuana is dispensed only with a physician prescription, then it should be carried in pharmacies and dispensed like any other medication.

Mr Blue

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

Activist judges. Hypocrite Conservatives. Fascist Cops.

Mr Blue

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

Please name me one progressive activist judge and one of that judge's legal opinion or decision that you consider"activist". The Michigan judges that issued the dispensary decision are Scheutte's lap dogs and legislated from the bench for this decision to please their political master. These activist judges are now overturning a law that was passed by 74% of the Michigan electorate.

Mr Blue

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

Seeing the rights hypocrisy about rights of privacy, free markets and personal freedoms is just too entertaining.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

Watching the left complaining about activist judges is just too entertaining.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

And while we all debate this, federal law still maintains the farming, distribution, possession, and use of marijuana is still illegal. I wish the state would defy other federal laws instead of this one- say, the federal income tax? LOL! NICE MICROBUS IN THE PHOTO!

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 4:03 a.m.

How old does one have to be to get away with wearing white pants?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:34 a.m.

ur age, i spose. painters wear 'em all the time.

David Briegel

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

Loopy, Maybe we can get to explain the our fellow citizens can now purchase their favorite herb the way they always have and the way they always will. They can just contact their friendly neighborhood drug dealer whose prices will now be inflated because our "brilliant" authorities have eliminated their competition. Prohibition will now produce the same results that it always does. What small minded, vindictive leaders we have elected as "public servants"!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

So sorry about the higher drug prices. People are dying around the world from starvation and HIV/AIDS and you're worried about drug prices? Time to get a life.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:53 a.m.

Dude, there is still 18 other ones in the county to my knowledge were NOT raided. Doesn't that beg the question why not the ? Why only these two? If this was a reponse to the court decision, why are they not beating the other 18 doors in round the clock till they were all gone? Wow some of you sure are narrow minded.

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

... One of them responded: "We're just following the law." the bvoters told you what the law 'is' but fewer than a handful of insulated 'brains' overroad the 'law' ... so back to nanny-archy. isn; there an historical example of hobbits re-chanting "We're just following the law?" as tehy lead teh sheep too ...... ???


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:16 a.m.

'... One of them responded: "We're just following the law."' This defense was previously made popular in the Nuremberg trials.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:56 a.m.

Come on, everyone knows that a vast majority of pot smokers use it to get high, not for medical reasons.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 4:09 a.m.

And why do the vast majority of imbibers purchase and drink alcohol? Having worked in a medical unit that handled both respiratory and internal medicine patients, I have never performed post mortem care on a marijuana user. However, I could not begin to count the number of alcohol and Tylenol victims that left our facility in a hearse. Wake up sarcastic1.

West of Main

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:55 a.m.

The two aren't mutually exclusive.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:53 a.m.

"The girlfriend wondered outloud if things could get any worse." Response - OhYa


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

Time for you and the Ms. to grow up son :-)

Tom Joad

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:37 a.m.

Dispensaries are not provided for in the law, and their growth has been a shameless money grab by profiteers. The so-called compassionate care clinics are selling marijuana at vastly exploitative prices, even higher than most nickel and dime dealers


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

That's because nickel and dime dealers sell crap. Dispensaries sell quality medicine and it's not cheap to produce. Why shouldn't they be making money? Do pharmacies make money? They are providing a service and should be compensated. With a 10.9% unemployment rate in this state at least they are employing people.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

So.... "money grabs" are only okay if a big corporation does it?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:22 a.m., with all the comments I've been reading such as "why don't patients just buy it from a pharmacy," would it be possible to do an article for the sake of balance explaining exactly why patients cannot obtain medical marijuana from a doctor or a pharmacy? They definitely would if they could. There's a staggering amount of ignorance out there about why medical cannabis and its derivatives are not available from traditional medical channels. The drug has not been allowed to go through clinical trials and be approved by the FDA. It's not the patients' fault that these trials have not been conducted, and I'm tired of being the target of rude and misinformed comments. Could you please offer some additional information? I am exhausted from trying to educate people all on my own, one at a time. Thank you.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:28 a.m.

I'd rather not buy from big pharmaceutical companies. All they are interested in is how many smackolas they can make in profit. I'd rather buy from someone who actually takes an interest in what they are doing and does it on a local level.

West of Main

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:53 a.m.

Why wouldn't you want to buy from someone involved in the production process? What does a pharmacy provide that a dispensary doesn't? Is it the fluorescent lights and illusion of sterility?

Mr. Ed

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:09 a.m.

I know marijuana can't be obtained from a pharmacy. But the pharmacy should be the only place where one can get the needed medication. Not some hemp house grown by "Bud masters."


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

The drug laws in this country are a complete and utter farce. Organized crime did not establish it's strangle hold on our society until prohibition. That was such a marvelous success that the government decided to criminalize more substances. Now we have a wonderful prison system, that we cannot afford, to teach non violent offenders to be rapist's. What I would like to know is what enlightened bureaucrat decided that murder, rape, and all the other violent offenses have been reduced to the point that we can afford to pull police officers of the streets in order to protect us from peaceful citizens.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

Look, folks. It's all really quite simple. Big Pharma doesn't like this new idea that suffering people might be granted the right to ease their pain with easy, economical access to one of the herbs provided by Nature/The Creator. It's a profit threatening trend that has to be nipped in the bud. Yes, bud. Also threatening to Big Pharma is the growing understanding of many that nutrients are worlds superior to lab conjured pharmaceuticals in maintaining and - yes - restoring health. Hence the current, very serious campaign by the FDA (aka Pharma lapdogs) to outlaw your free access to most nutritional supplements by requiring manufacturers to go through "investigational new drug" applications. Since Big Pharma alone has the bucks to afford the millions each NDI application, you would need, then, to get these newly exorbitantly priced "pharmaceuticals" only by prescription from your physician (who's been taught that supplements are both "wimpy" AND "dangerous"). Big Food doesn't like the aspersions about their product by health-conscious individuals who prefer drinking raw milk to the castrated product created by pasteurization (which is the ONLY way Big Food can provide milk that doesn't kill on contact, due to the filthy manufacturing practices necessitated by industrial scale). Think recent Rawsome Foods (a private co-op club) raid and arrests in CA. What happened here, today, in Ann Arbor, is all part of the same campaign. Most of us just didn't notice that our Republic was overthrown years ago and is now under complete control of BIg Pharma/Big Food/Big Chemical/Big Oil. There is a war on against the will of The People, anytime that will conflicts with the interests of big corporate interests, for whom "our" government now serve as middle managers and jackboots only. Face it.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:12 a.m.

"Back outside, people who witnessed the raid smoked cigarettes and looked upset." I found this part of the story hilarious.... a bunch of distraught hippies bummed out because their stash was taken by "the man" And what does mediacal marijuana have to do with 9/11?!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Great comment!! You are "right on"

Mr. Ed

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

Chuck answer the question, "Who funds this whole operation?" a reporter asked "That's not important now," Ream said. Chuck appears concerned about answering that question. I'm glad the police are doing the job. How many patients need medical marijuana. I believe the drug companies should be involved the the manufacturing of medical marijuana not some "Bud Master" in a back room of Disney land. Then the local pharmacy can fill the prescription from a doctor. The law was passed to help people not make it easier to sell and profit from selling weed to people with make believe problems. Another law was passed because doctors were giving out the cards for 70 bucks with no exams. No one is above the law including Ream.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

Absolutely right!!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:46 a.m.

You ever actually watched the people going into this place to get their "medicine"? I never seen one person go in there that looked remotely debilitated or in pain. Well, except for the 18 or 19 year old that stubbed his toe running to the front door with a big smile on his face.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

that's what this is all about big pharma. they're the "godfather" who doesn't just want their cut of the action they want to run the whole "show".


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:24 a.m.

1 of 2 officers

Michigan Man

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:05 a.m.

Looks to me like Mr. Ream will be looking for a new line of work?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

But what kind of honest work would he have the credentials for?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 3:42 a.m.

How about being a school teacher? Does this not bother anyone that this same man that is spewing the terms, nazi and such at local law enforcement is then going to teach your children in school? Maybe that needs to be looked into. What's he teach in class?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:26 a.m.

Judging by the signs, he has some serious artistic talent.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:57 p.m.

the other sham here beside LAWNET( the only laws they follow are their own ) is the whole drug war in general. just another way for the "gov't" to scare people into giving their tax dollars away. drugs were legal during prohibition of alcohol. the"gov't" used racial scare tactics to get make drugs illegal. when richard nixon created the DEA his chief of staff has been widely quoted as syaing that the real problem with drugs in america is just the "blacks" and that if you could get the" blacks" under control then you could solve the drug problem in america.......FAIL..... time to end the waste of tax dollars known as the "drug war"


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:48 p.m.

Sounds like he was a dealer plain and simple..This was not the intent of the MML when voted on. These shops just thought they could open for business...guess they were wrong. I know I am not in the majority of the commenters here...but I am a law abiding citizen...Just because you don't like how the laws are worded, does not give youlicense to ignor them. Obey the law, LAWNET won't come a knocken....


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8:17 a.m.

LAWNET, by their own figures only succeeds with 40% of their raids. So, 60% of their raids are on 'law abiding citizens' and LAWNET still "comes a knocken (sic)" Not a dealer, plain & simple. Your attitude is egregious and in error. I don't suppose you can guess what the 'intent' of the MML is when voted on, unless, like Bill Schuette, you can claim to be prescient enough to know the intent of the voters. I voted for the MML and yes, that WAS my intention, to allow dispensaries and to quit the persecution of marijuana smokers everywhere. So don't tell me what the 'intent' of the voters is or was on this issue. Because you, just like the AG Bill Schuette haven't a clue.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

Since this case is similar to the charges against Hash Bash emcee Adam Brook and Chuck Ream has also been a perennial guest at Hash Bash I thought I would impart the status of the multiple felony drug and firearm counts against Adam Brook that are pending before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rudy Nichols in a case brought by another MSP " Narcotics Enforcement Team". Adam's defense counsel, Jerome Sabbota, got one charge dismissed and the remaining counts are set for trial before Nichols on August 29th (next Monday). The prosecution obtained a pertrial ruling limiting Adam from arguing the Medical Marijuana Act as a defense. He faces possible prison time if convicted, but Judge Nichols, a former Republican state senator, does have a reputation for being evenhanded at sentencing. Adam also faces a property forfeiture case that pends in the same court. Check "Court Explorer" of the Oakland County government website by placing "Adam Brook" in the search engine and the court cases involving Adam can be downloaded. Since the media has not followed up on Adam's cases following his arrest early this year, I thought I would convey the status of his legal proceedings.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:58 p.m.

LAWNET is a waste of taxpayer money. some of you might be really outraged if you had ever witnessed how they "jump out" in poor neighborhoods.


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

Ive seen them jump out in middle class and million dollar neighborhoods. What's your point?


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.

this guy looks terribly dangerous. I feel better already knowing he won't be able to help chemo patients ever again. doesn't this whole thing feel like a setup? the State saying "sure, go ahead--buy and sell pot. here, we'll even give you an ID card!" and then when we do...they arrest us. isn't that illegal?


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

Yes, he does look dangerous!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

Hunterjim, the courts may have "cleared it up," but only AFTER the fact. That's why it appears to violate the due process clause.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

I think the courts cleared up this yesterday. This operation was illegal!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11 p.m.

It violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to have a criminal statute that requires the citizen to guess as to what constitutes proscribed conduct; such laws are void for vagueness.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

These incidents make clear at least two things: We spend way too much money on cops in Ann Arbor and, b.) Cops look like thugs when they don masks and pull on jackboots.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.

Chuck Ream is being railroaded for political purposes, just like Adam Brook was earlir this year.

Mr. Ed

Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

You'r kidding right. I believe Chucks pot shop was not singled out.