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Police allege duo planned to donate proceeds from illegal cannabis to hate group

Dec 21, 2021 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Woman and man in Michigan arrested for illegally manufacturing marijuana with intent to distribute.

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Two members of the Brotherhood Forever in Michigan are alleged to have grown illegal cannabis in the state so they could provide at least some of the proceeds to fund another chapter of the group in Tennessee.

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It is alleged the woman and man, both in their early 30s, “are associated with a federally classified hate group known as Brotherhood Forever, a group closely associated with the Aryan Nation,” notes a statement from the Huron Undercover Narcotics Team (HUNT).

“Preliminary investigation indicates that mature marijuana product and/or the proceeds of its sale were destined for Tennessee in support of the Brotherhood Forever,” the press release adds.

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The two people were arrested last week as part of a HUNT probe into illegal marijuana production. The woman and man, aged 34 and 33, respectively, were cited for manufacturing marijuana with the intent to distribute and associated crimes, the team reports.

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Medicinal and recreational cannabis legal in Michigan

Both medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis are legal in Michigan, although there are limits. While recreational cannabis users 21 and older can legally buy and carry as much as 2.5 ounces (70 grams) of weed or 15 grams of concentrates, consumption should occur in a person’s own residence and away from the public, according to Detroit Metro Times.

With regard to marijuana possession with the intent to sell, give away, manufacture or otherwise distribute to others is a felony offence, per information from Grabel & Associates.

HUNT does not state exactly how many plants were involved in the alleged scheme. The Michigan Legislature reports that if the amount of weed involved is 45 kilograms or more, or 200 plants or more, a person found guilty of manufacturing cannabis with the intent to distribute can be handed a top sentence of 15 years in prison, a US$10 million ($13 million) fine or both.

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HUNT reports both people are formerly of communities in Tennessee.

Recreational cannabis is not legal in the state, with selling or growing any amount being a felony charge, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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Held at the Alpena County jail, the woman faces marijuana manufacturing and felony firearms charges, with her bond being set at US$100,000 ($129,000). The man faces a charge of aiding and abetting (marijuana manufacturing), with his bond set at the same amount. Both are scheduled to make their next court appearance on Jan. 4, 2022.

HUNT reports “the investigation remains open, and more charges may follow.”

Citing prison officials, the Anti-Defamation League reports “Brotherhood Forever is a racist prison gang based in Tennessee that is also known as the Tennessee Aryan Brotherhood.”

Beyond keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and protecting public health and safety, the Canadian government noted that one of its goals in legalizing adult-use cannabis was to keep profits out of the pockets of criminals.

There are still issues with the existing cannabis system, particularly for medical marijuana, being manipulated.

As part of a recent seizure near Hamilton, Ont., police there cautioned that organized crime exploiting “legal medical cannabis regulations for their own criminal purpose” continues to be an issue. “Proceeds from illicit cannabis sales are used by criminal organizations to purchase weapons and other drugs.”

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