GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- More than a dozen Kent County corrections officers were interviewed about using marijuana butter made by a Belmont couple, but no additional arrests are expected beyond the four officers already charged.
Based on the interviews, four corrections officers were asked to submit to drug tests, Sheriff Larry Stelma said. Results of those tests showed no presence of controlled substances.
"The four who consented to testing have returned to active duty,'' Stelma said. "With a negative drug test. it kind of ends the speculation that this was so widespread.''
Today's announcement comes on the heels of criminal charges filed Friday against four corrections officers related to the use of marijuana butter. Three of the corrections officers have medical marijuana cards.
Kent County does not ban employees from using medical marijuana, but they cannot be under the influence of the drug when they report to work.
Meanwhile, Tim and Alyssa Scherzer, the Belmont couple accused of growing marijuana and making marijuana butter, will be arraigned in 63rd District Court Wednesday on several felony charges, including delivery of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana, and maintaining a drug house.
During a raid of at their Plainfield Township home last week, officers seized 31 suspected marijuana plants, 1,132 grams of suspected marijuana and 170 grams of suspected marijuana butter, court records show.
Alyssa Scherzer, 42, is licensed as a Michigan marijuana caregiver and Tim Scherzer, 47, tends to the medical marijuana plants and delivers marijuana butter to clients, court records show.
The four officers charged in the case have been suspended without pay.
"When people try to exploit or manipulate the law, they run into trouble,'' Stelma said. "And those people, whether I like the law or not, if they are complying with the law, I have no problem with it.''
Attorney Bruce A. Block, who represents one of the deputies charged, says the investigation sends a message to jail employees that medical marijuana is frowned upon by county administrators.
"The administration is basically saying we don't want the jail staff using marijuana – even for medical reasons,'' Block said. "You have a government that is white-knuckled and clinging to failed marijuana policies.''
Under Michigan's 2008 medical marijuana law, caregivers are allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants per patient, with the cap at five patients. It also places restrictions on using marijuana as an ingredient in other products, be it butter or brownies.
The way the law currently stands, having 11 pounds of marijuana butter (the equivalent of 5 kilos) is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, even if it only contains 11 ounces of marijuana.
But that could change. Legislation pending in Lansing would allow patients and caregivers to make marijuana-infused products in specific quantities. Under the bill, one ounce of usable marijuana would be permitted in 16 ounces of food.
The measure was overwhelmingly approved by the state House in December and is now before a state Senate committee.
Michigan voters approved the medical marijuana law in 2008 by a 63 percent to 37 percent margin. Since then, more than 100,000 people have been certified to use medical marijuana. There were more than 27,000 licensed caregivers as of last year.
A second bill pending in Lansing would permit medical marijuana to be offered through licensed dispensaries. Under current law, medical marijuana users or caregivers have to grow their own plants. The bill allows individual communities to decide whether they want medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled dispensaries are not allowed under Michigan's Medical Marijuana Law.