Four arrested after Ann Arbor medical marijuana clinic robbed at gunpoint
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Updated story: Victims bound during robbery at medical marijuana clinic in downtown Ann Arbor, police say
Ann Arbor police say at least three people with guns entered the Liberty Clinic medical marijuana dispensary downtown Thursday night, stealing cash and marijuana.
Police have made four arrests in the robbery, which occurred in the 200 block of South Main Street at 8 p.m., police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush said.
Officers made the arrests after responding to multiple 911 calls, Bush said. A witness fell and cut his arm as he ran away, but it's unclear whether he received medical attention, Bush said.
The four suspects, at least two of whom are men, were taken to the Washtenaw County Jail, police said. So far, no charges have been filed as detectives continue to investigate, Bush said. No additional arrests are anticipated, police said.
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Bush did not have further details this morning.
The clinic opened in February and is being run as a non-profit caregiver collective network, which enrolls both registered patients and caregivers as members. As of June, the clinic had 1,200 members and more than 100 caregivers.
In August, the City Council approved a four-month moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries to come up with zoning regulations for them.
Bush said she is not aware of any other robberies at medical marijuana clinics in the city.
Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and e-mail at email@example.com.
Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 10 a.m.
Being a legal patient without cancer or HIV but with a qualifying condition (my knee is ruined) all the same I was eager to check out the legal-weed scene here in A2. Upon getting my "card" back in June I went to Liberty Clinic and was half-temtpted to rob the place myself. The staff were not attentive, the products were sitting in unlocked containers on a desk while a person just sat there and watched me look. The next time I went in the customer service reached an all-time low as I stood around for 10 minutes and was then given a non-chalant "uhh...what do you want?" I havent been back and will not go back and am very tempted to go give them their "membership card" back along with about 4-cents worth of my opinion of their business. Slackers performing in a slack manner would make even people who would never consider armed robbery as a career option see them as a target. This is not about MJ or MJ laws or whether or not I should have to pay a debt to society because I like to get high - its about the fact that these dimwits dont know how to run a business. Trust me - if they were selling alcohol or Rolexs or PlayStation 3s or high-end shoes or $1000 waffle irons they would be robbed just as quickly. The OTHER dispensiary of note in A2 makes everyone literally WAIT OUTSIDE until paperwork is checked. All customers are quickly and personally attended to and all products are behind the counter and/or under locked glass. Even though they also sell MJ (and far more potent MJ at that), I am willing to bet anyone a BEER that Liberty Clinic will be robbed again before the place I'm referring to is robbed at all......
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.
We are still in a transitional period of time. Our state has gone from being a completely cannabis illegal state to being a semi legal state. Law enforcement and courts are still grappling with this change. Someday actions like those of the Ann Arbor city police will be the norm. We are law abiding citizens that need and deserve the protections afforded to any other law abiding citizen. There are still examples of parts of our system that are resisting the voters of Michigan. An outstanding example of officials ignoring the voters of this state is the officials of Oakland County. Bad cops = Oakland County Good cops = Ann Arbor city police. We need all of the good cops we can get in Michigan.
Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.
"...so that suppliers will compete on the basis of price." And not the false economy of prohibition that keeps drug prices highly profitable. If anyone wants to see and hear the most logical explanation of the cost analysis of marijuana prohibition and what might be done to change it, please check out this video. Judge Jim Gray offers a logical explanation based on his long history as a prosecutor, defense attorney and judge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6t1EM4Onao&feature=related%3Cbr%3E%3Cbr%3E%3Cstrong%3ELead
Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.
@Tom Joad: I imagine that a business that draws as much attention from politicians, journalists, and law enforcement as this one is extremely careful with its accounting and tax payments, since there are so many people watching for them to do something wrong and shut them down. The photo above shows 8 other businesses in the same building, yet only the medical marijuana clinic is singled out for questioning about its ADA compliance, accounting, etc. $3 million is a lot to an individual, but somehow, fast food restaurants and car dealerships are able to handle it (not to mention pharmaceutical companies making thousands of times more selling products that are much more harmful.) It's unreasonable to portray a local business earning a lot of money as a bad thing, especially considering current economic conditions. High profit per square foot is a GOOD thing for a downtown area with limited commercial space and parking. And if you're truly concerned that marijuana is too expensive for patients, then the free-market solution is to zone more dispensaries and grow houses so that suppliers will compete on the basis of price.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:56 p.m.
1000 patients, each spending $60 for an 1/8th oz every week. That's $60,000 a week, $240,000 a month, $2,880,000 a year in revenue. That's just one small dispensary located in a non-descript office. How does this clinic get away without an elevator are they ADA compliant? Do some patients suffer ailments that preclude them climbing the stairs? How is this massive amount of money accounted for? Do they pay taxes on it? Does any other business in Ann Arbor make anywhere near that amount of cash per sq foot? The profusion of marijuana clubs in California is BIG MONEY for the owners and the people who supply the 'medicine'
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 3:12 p.m.
DJM--I'm thankful the city of Ann Arbor hasn't put an ordinance up regulating Rolex dealerships although surrounding businesses, daycares, etc. were locked down a few months ago when several masked gunmen stormed the Rolex store on Main St and evaded arrest!
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.
Prop 19 in California is on its way to approval allowing sales and taxation of cannabis. It also allows individuals to grow and use marijuana. The potential upsides for everyone in California? $1.4 billion in annual tax revenues and between $200 million and $1.9 billion in savings from prison budgets. Predicted 80% drop in marijuana prices cutting out the profit incentive of legal and illegal cartels. Among other businesses in California who are against Prop 19 besides pharma, alcohol and chemical companies? The California Cannabis Association, representing medical marijuana dispensaries, has come out against legalization, claiming it would be a direct assault on medical marijuana patients. http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP315/index.html http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/2010/RAND_OP315.pdf
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.
@Ed R Murrow....as far a eliminating rape in A2...instead of sending all the women [victims]to Saline, how about castrating all men?...Problem solved, and we [women]can still visit the coffee houses in town, shop and have lunch...
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 1:21 p.m.
@atticus F...how does my opinion bring pain and suffering to others? Seriously, unless you can say that you suffer the level of pain that I do on a daily basis, try not to judge me. I get no relief from conventional meds or pot...so I use ice packs to alleviate the pain as much as possible. But you cannot tell me that now, all of a sudden, all of the burn-outs I see going in and out all day of this clinic are suffering from debilitating illnesses. I have friends that have suffered through cancer and the treatments and have seen what the medical MJ has done to ease their conditions...so yes it can be helpful. But in all reality, anybody can get a script for it for $200...and a stubbed toe...if everyone is so pro-pot, then let's make it legal for everyone that wants to smoke weed to grow their own, not to sell, but for personal consumption ONLY. Take the big profits out of it and then follow the same laws as making your own beer or wine...and if someone is too stupid to grow a plant then they've probably smoked more than they ever should have...but I am glad none of the employees were hurt.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.
"...These "legal clinics"... if MJ demand drops, they will use their networks to import coke and heroin..." Or worse yet:&nbsp; Vodka!
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:49 a.m.
Yeah, it's about money. Profits for pharmaceutical, chemical, tobacco and oil companies. It's about more money for prisons and law enforcement. It's about money for international drug cartels. It's about billions of tax dollars down the drain for costly prohibition.
It's hard to hide from facts
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:23 a.m.
C'mon people and wake up, this is not about medical purposes or compassion or "caring for others in need" it's about MONEY. This whole business of medical marijuana is nothing more than a big money making enterprise. Someplace on this forum a person mentioned 1000 care givers = 7200 plants...well each plant can earn $72,000 dollars so do the math, a half a billion dollar business...yeah sure, it's all about compassion...what a joke!
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.
"More and more of these stories are going to get press time, marijuana is a drug, drugs are used by criminals,criminals commit crimes." This comment is nothing more than twisted reefer madness logic. And the "press time" they receive comes from a media willing to report anything controversial for a buck. Drugs are used by lots of people, every day. Some of those drugs are legal and easily available, like alcohol, pain killers, cough syrup and cigarettes. Some of these people are fine upstanding law abiding taxpayers with families. Some are cops and politicians. How many criminals started out drinking milk?
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 11:04 a.m.
"Legalizing marijuana and having distribution "Clinics" will not solve the crimes related to the use of drugs." That is your opinion and it is not backed up with any facts or data. Please provide evidence and explain how this will happen. The negative effects of Prohibition during the 30's are well documented. Today most folks use alcohol carefully and legally. Alcohol prohibition casued a lot of pain and misery while it contributed to the profits of illegal enterprise. Thug criminals steal and sell drugs because of the profit. Mexican cartels do it for the same reason while killing and kidnapping their business rivals. If pot was legal and individuals were able to grow and use their own (similar to the legal allowance for beer and wine), by not depending on the cartels and thugs would essentially put all of them out of business.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.
djm, you are entitled to your oppinion...the only problem is, your oppinion has the ability to bring great pain and suffering on others. But you dont seem to consider that. And my point in my earlier post, was to point out that this is a band of theives simply looking for an easy target. Some people still seem to believe this reefer madness, drug crazed lunatic stereotype which has been perpetuated by the media. Another thing to consider, is because of the stigma associated with cannabis, many people don't want to pay with credit card at these places. Which makes it a cash buisness. Which makes it an inviting target for theives.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:52 a.m.
More and more of these stories are going to get press time, marijuana is a drug, drugs are used by criminals,criminals commit crimes. Legalizing marijuana and having distribution "Clinics" will not solve the crimes related to the use of drugs. Many cities have denied opening of these "Clinics" because the fear of theses burglaries, but, Ann Arbor, being a liberal city, opened a "Clinic" and now, they got burglarized. WOW, Like they didn't know this would happen!
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.
I'm a licensed medical marijuana patient and have a recurring cancer and arthritic nerve damage. No other drug calms my nausea or allows me to relax pain free with no side effects more than cannabis and I've tried several chemical compounds. I don't need to go to a dispensary because I have a compassionate caregiver and am able to grow my own. Would someone please explain to me where the crime is in that? I'm not a fan of dispensaries and believe that communities should have the right to regulate dispensaries in their community, but do NOT, under any circumstances, restrict my right under the law to grow my own or enter into a patient caregiver relationship as the law allows. Prohibition has been a massive costly social economic failure and everyone knows it. The evidence is clear. The only groups who benefit are law enforcement (jobs) and criminals (profit and jobs) and the chemical and pharmaceutical companies (HUGE profits). Taxpayers and individual users are the clear losers by any measure. End prohibition and remove the profit motive and drug crime will virtually disappear.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.
Why am I not surprised? But it did last 7 months before this happened. The idiots who broke in loaded, oh, er.. with loaded guns... My opinion is, yes, legalize it. I've never thought that weed is the gateway to using harder drugs. It's the company you keep while yer using it that influences this. IMHO.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:55 a.m.
@BSEGALZ...FYI there is only one Authorized Rolex Dealer in Ann Arbor. And I find it amazing on how many people care more about the "laws" and "product" and not one comment showing concern about any of the people that work there and their well being...this town is so full of self-centered, arrogant, entitled idiots...it amazes me.
Woman in Ypsilanti
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:49 a.m.
@Mickey2u my thoughts exactly! This has nothing to do with MJ being legal or not. This is a situation where criminals decided to steal something. It happens all of the time and the only legitimate place to lay the blame is at the feet of the criminals. Having something worth stealing is not an invitation for it to be stolen.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:48 a.m.
from a business owners standpoint I wonder. Will the owner of the property have to pay for the broken door with his insurance or the tenant who had the break in. They both carry insurance but I imagine the landlords insurance wouldn't like it very much if they had a pot business leasing space from them. I agree with others, this won't be the first break in at MJ clinics. also, I will say as someone out in the dating world there are way too many men who are potheads. It's an undesirable turnoff.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:40 a.m.
It never fails; somebody on here will blame the victims and give a pass to the criminals. No wonder repeat offenders are free to walk the streets.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:39 a.m.
@Atticus F...as far as medical marijuana...it's a joke in this town. The number of people going in there have cards based on some of the most ridiculous ailments...I know someone that has a card because his feet hurt from standing on them all day cooking...seriously? Take a warm foot bath and get over it, no need to get stoned...and how exactly does this story relate to the robbery next door back on 8/11? And to quote you "After all we did just had a jewelry store robbed in the same area a couple months ago."...funny, I don't remember you being there during the robbery.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.
When you gut the drug laws and legalize bad behavior in the name of phony compassion I guess you get what you vote for eh? Welcome to the world of easy drugs.....from a former user
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.
I am so glad to know that smoking marijuana mellows one out and that pot is non violent-victimless crime.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.
The idea that legalizing MJ will stop problems is folly. @Tom Joad's post in interesting. These "legal clinics" in Ca are laundering the money. Imagine that. If MJ is legal, why would importers not continue? They still have networks, personnel and farms. Make it legal and its easier for them. You think they will pay taxes? Sure they will magically transform into legal businesses. Or if MJ demand drops, they will use their networks to import coke and heroin. Voter initiatives are bad and should not be allowed if they conflict with state and federal laws. I hope that when the federal govt is set straight federal funding to states will require compliance with federal law. Medical marijuana is a joke.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:29 a.m.
This is what happens when you go half way on anything, either legalize it or criminalize it, you can't have it both ways!
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.
So Liberty Clinic is not on Liberty. I doubt you'll see prices fall with legalization, which if happens at all won't be in our life time, not at the Federal level. Marijuana has always been about money. What kind of accountability does this clinic have and do the growers/sellers pay income tax earned on the substantial costs they charge for their medicine. Dispensaries in California on average pull in hundreds of thousands each week! That is why the DEA was raiding dispensaries before Obama put a halt to it. Owners there were laundering the money and buying $200,000 automobiles and luxury homes just to spend all the cash they were taking in. For the safety of its employees and innocent citizens these so-called clinics should be require to have armed security and perhaps even bullet proof glass like banks and drug stores.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:02 a.m.
"Where there are drugs, there will be criminals." Then decriminalize drugs and take the profit incentive out of the equation and there will be far less money for thugs to steal. When marijuana is no longer a valuable commodity and becomes a plant that any individual can grow for their own purposes, similar to beer and wine, there will be far less drug crime. As demand and the cost of prohibition pushes the price of drugs ever higher, the greater the incentive is for criminals to take advantage. Take the profit and the money out of the equation and drug crime will drop. Strengthening the relationship between medical marijuana patients and caregivers is one way to reduce crime. Legalization of growing for personal recreational use is another. When marijuana and other far more dangerous drugs are no longer profit driven commodities there will be far less crime associated with drugs. Who has an economic interest in drug crime and how it affects their jobs? Law enforcement! Reduced crime by legalization might help law enforcement use more of our resources fighting violent crime and keeping dangerous criminals off the street instead of spending millions putting pot heads behind bars. Spending fewer tax dollars on capturing, prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana users might mean fewer jobs for law enforcement and more money for treating addicts.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 9:02 a.m.
Eyeheart--Sorry to pick on you but I believe there are only a few Rolex shops in Ann Arbor at most, and one was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight during the summer right on Main St.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:57 a.m.
Who called the police, the store, or a witness? I wonder if the suspects thought this place would not call the police. That would be very interesting. Any info on how they were caught? I suppose the police won't give this out, but the store might.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:46 a.m.
We must take heed and learn from this leafy experience. Maybe now the city council will finally see the light and approve at their next meeting a long-term moratorium on jewelry stores, banks, and credit unions within the city limits. Security for citizens in our commercial districts is a must.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.
Just legalize the stuff. It's BENIGN, and the most useful plant on Earth.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:43 a.m.
I bet this was prompted by the upcoming ban on dispensaries in Chelsea. The thiefs must be from Chelsea and stocking up in lieu of this upcoming ban:)
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:39 a.m.
They should have blown the joint a little faster than they did.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.
eyeheart, it's also important to remember that criminals will rob anybody that they see as an easy target. And the people who did this are crimnals who could have just as easily robbed a bank or your home. But for some reason, they saw the clinic as an easier target.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:33 a.m.
"1200 members and 100 caregivers." that's more popular than the local boy scouts. do you realize that each 'caregiver" can raise up to 72 plants-that's 7200 pot plants that can be grown at this place. Wanna bet it gets robbed again. Where there are drugs, there will be criminals. I'm sure there are sincere patients involved,but I seriouly question whether all of these members are truly in need of 'medical' releif.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.
Easiest investigation ever. "Alright, guys, we're going to draw a 2 block circle around the clinic and investigate all cheetos purchases within the last hour" "oh, wait, call off the hounds. Let's go talk to these those four guys sitting on the curb across the street, eating chinese food from the carton."
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:19 a.m.
I think it was more a case of the theives going after money. Plain and simple. You'll notice that the place was robbed at around 8:00...Thats about the time that they close, and probably when they start counting money, and getting ready to make a deposit.
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 8:12 a.m.
I don't see why we don't legalize this stuff and let people grow their own. It'll prevent this type of thing from happening and drive the costs down drastically. Imagine reducing the cost of medical care!
Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 7:47 a.m.
Glad to hear the AAPD responded so quickly. I hope this doesn't give medical cannabis a black eye...After all we did just had a jewelry store robbed in the same area a couple months ago.