I can’t come up with a better headline that. Even Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney appears to agree that the Traverse Narcotics Team went after John Hedden’s operation and not other illegal marijuana sales operations. Cooney speculated that TNT busted Hedden’s operation and not others because Hedden was apparently in it for the wrong reasons:
They were clearly in it for the money, Cooney said of Hedden.
So that begs the question, is there ever a “right” reason to break the law? Is it only wrong if you make too much money doing it according to the judgment of a public official?
Okay, so here’s what the Record Eagle article didn’t report – In Michigan, we have civil forfeiture laws. When the police bust up a drug operation, they get to keep anything related to the illegal drug operation. We’re talking real property, vehicles, cash. They find it, they get to keep it. Finders keepers, law breakers, weepers. Law enforcement makes a lot of money this way, and the police think it’s great. And sometimes police allegedly steal from evidence lockers, too.
It makes no sense that law enforcement is trying to throw down the hammer down on stuff that used to be illegal that isn’t really illegal anymore now that commercial marijuana sales in Michigan are allowed. Also, the attorney has a point — why did law enforcement target this one operation? I don’t smoke marijuana and even I know that there were/are several grow/sell operations of varying size active in the area. I think many people in Northern Michigan are likely aware of it. Hedden’s is far from the only one. So why did law enforcement choose this one over others?
Legalized marijuana sales in Michigan at the moment are a business of winners and losers. Local authorities get to choose how many licenses to approve and who they go to. Convicting Hedden at this stage likely knocks him out of competing for those licenses. TNT is picking winners and losers when potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions are on the line. So if they want Hedden to lose, who do they want to win?
Michigan law enforcement seized more than $15 million through forfeiture proceedings in the 2016 calendar year, according to Mlive.
They were clearly in it for the money. — Wait, are we still talking about Hedden, or are we talking about TNT?