Hours after his story went public, Wally Kowalski was arrested. He was awakened in the early morning and taken from his home in handcuffs by the Michigan State Police. He then spent the rest of the night in a freezing cell, with no blanket or pillow.
Although Kowalski was released the following morning on bond, he is facing substantial charges. These include delivery and manufacture of 5 to 45 kilograms of marijuana (a felony under Michigan law), and distribution without remuneration (a misdemeanor).
But what makes this situation different from any other drug related arrest these days? One big thing. Kowalski was featured in a Michigan Capitol Confidential article published on December 3rd, in which he discussed being a regular medical marijuana user. He also discussed the fact that both his money and property had been seized by the police in a civil forfeiture action although he hadn’t been charged with any crime.
Another thing that made this situation odd was that Kowalski’s attorney, Daniel Grow, had been told that if an arrest warrant was issued at all, he would be contacted so that Kowalski could turn himself in voluntarily.
The law clearly states it’s legal to have only 12 plants per person
According to the warrant, Kowalski was arrested for having 55 marijuana plants. The law clearly states that it is legal to have only 12 plants per person. In Kowalski’s case, the discrepancy came about because, along with being a legal medical marijuana card carrier, he is also registered as the caregiver for 4 other legal cardholders. During a September 2nd search of his property, police were unable to find proof of this.
When confronted, Kowalski told police that he had lost 2 of the caregiver cards. He applied for and received replacements within days, and gave these to the police as evidence of his complicity with the law.
Kowalski asked the arresting officers if his arrest was tied in any way to the Michigan Capitol Confidential article. He was told that the officers had never read the article or even heard of the publication.
Kowalski’s next court dates are scheduled for December 15th and December 17th. It remains to be seen how this case will pan out. This is a difficult time in our legal history, where state and federal laws are at odds. Government and authorities are reforming legalities in an unstructured and piecemeal manner.