When the state of Michigan legalized marijuana, it was for the express purpose of getting a highly effective medicine into the hands of those who needed it most. But the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) was also very specific about how this process was to take place. And in these turbulent times, when the state and federal laws don’t line up, people who overstep the legal boundaries are likely to face very severe penalties.
30-year-old Shawn Andrew Taylor is one of them. He was the head of a major, multi-county marijuana production operation. Taylor, and the other people involved in his pot operation, bought and sold marijuana in very large quantities. Also, marijuana related products like hashish.
According to authorities, Taylor’s organization used the MMMA as a cover for large scale production of marijuana. It actively recruited patients and caregivers. Sometimes even paying for their state licensing fees. Federal agents also revealed that during one of many recorded phone conversations, Taylor talks about having a doctor on his payroll.
Taylor thought he could profit from marijuana manufacturing operations
The recent plea agreement entered in the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids states, “Taylor believed he could profit by having an interest in numerous marijuana manufacturing operations maintained by other people who maintained Michigan Medical Marijuana Act caregiver and patient cards. Under the plan, a large number of marijuana plants could be in near constant production and each production facility would appear to be in compliance with the MMMA.”
As part of the plea agreement, Taylor pled guilty to conspiring to distribute upwards of 132 pounds of premium marijuana between January 2009 and October 2013. In return, the federal government agreed to dismiss charges against his wife Molly Taylor. They also agreed not to pursue forfeiture proceedings against their home.
His sentencing is scheduled for April 14th next year. Taylor is facing between 5 and 40 years in prison.