Muskegon Marijuana Advocate Charged
Derek Antol, former Executive Director of the Greater Michigan Compassion Club, is facing felony drug charges . Police allege he was growing marijuana and selling it from the Deuces Wild Smoke Shop on East Apple Ave. in Muskegon.
According to the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, eight other associates of Antol’s, are also facing charges of marijuana delivery/manufacture, which is a lesser drug felony. This includes Antol’s girlfriend, 24-year-old Samantha Conklin.
The arrests are the result of an ongoing joint investigation between the West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) and the Michigan State Police that began back in 2010. On July 9th, search warrants were issued allowing police to search Antol’s current and former home, and his place of business- the Deuces Wild Smoke Shop.
On July 24th, arrest warrants were signed that brought charges of conspiracy to deliver between 20 and 200 marijuana plants, and delivery/manufacture of between 20 and 200 marijuana plants against Antol, along with charges against his associates.
Kevin Wistrom, the attorney representing both Antol and Conklin, said that prior to their arrest and arraignment, they had broken no laws. “These people were legitimate cardholders,” Wistrom said, referring to their being licensed by the state as medical marijuana caregivers. “They were exercising their rights, and they were not engaging in any activity they shouldn’t.”
But the prosecutor alleges that marijuana was being grown and sold out of the Deuces Wild Smoke Shop, which is in violation of the state’s medical marijuana law. Although current Michigan law forbids medical marijuana to be sold from dispensaries, this may change in the near future. A Michigan Senate committee recently sent two bills on medical marijuana to the Senate floor. These same bills passed the House last year, winning wide bipartisan approval.
Greater Michigan Compassion Club, of which Antol was formerly the Executive Director, was a medical marijuana dispensary in Muskegon Township. It was shut down by 14th Circuit Judge Timothy G. Hicks in 2011 for being a “public nuisance”.
Under normal circumstances, the charges that Antol is facing would carry a prison sentence of up to 7 years. These could be increased up to a potential life sentence because Antol is also being charged as a fourth-time habitual offender.
A preliminary hearing for both Antol and Conklin has been scheduled for August 10th at 10 am.