Category Archives: Ambrose Law Group In the News

Samantha Moffett Quoted In The Oakland Press Regarding Yesterday’s Medical Marijuana Raids

From theoaklandpress.com

In a scene that has played out twice in the past eight months, raids were conducted Tuesday at Oakland County medical marijuana dispensaries.

This time the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency led the operation, and they included homes and a bar in their searches.

“Multiple search warrants were executed as part of an ongoing investigation,” said Rich Issacson of the DEA.

One of the search warrants was executed at the Commerce Township home of Romel and Ban Casab, a couple that a reporter for The Oakland Press met recently at the Caregivers of America dispensary in Walled Lake — another of the locations raided on Tuesday.

This raid appears to be the first conducted by the DEA in the county. The other two raids — one Aug. 25, 2010, in Ferndale and Waterford Township, and another Jan. 12 in Oak Park — were led by a county drug enforcement task force.

The Oakland Press staffer was invited to the dispensary by Ban Casab for a story about medical marijuana ordinances and dispensaries within the county. After speaking with a man in another room, Ban abruptly canceled the interview and kicked the reporter out of the building.

The operation at 1020 Decker Road — which was issued a certificate of occupancy by the city of Walled Lake — resembled a candy store with a counter full of edible candies and walls lined with marijuana merchandise, including bongs and other paraphernalia.

The Casabs are a prominent couple in the Metro Detroit area’s business community. Romel Casab is listed as the owner of Caregivers of America on LinkedIn.

A call placed to a phone number The Oakland Press had on file for Ban Casab was answered by a woman who said, “Have a great day” before hanging up.

DEA officials were able confirm that raids took place at several locations, including the Casab’s home, the Walled Lake dispensary, a second Caregivers of America location at 45700 W. 12 Mile Road in Novi, and the Bayside Sports Grill at 142 E. Walled Lake Drive in Walled Lake.

Messages left for Caregivers of America were not returned by press time Tuesday.

A man answering the phone at the Bayside Sports Grill said, “We have no comment at this time.”

Other media outlets have reported that as many as eight raids took place throughout Metro Detroit on Tuesday, including at other homes, a location in Romulus and a strip club in the city of Detroit.

The address of 11300 E. 8 Mile Road in Detroit, listed online as the Coliseum Adult Entertainment, was confirmed as a searched location by the DEA, though a person answering the phone there said no raid had taken place.

The DEA confirmed that multiple warrants were issued, including several in Oakland County, but released few other details.

“This is a brand new investigation; we can’t say anything at this point,” said Andrew Eiseman, group supervisor for the DEA’s Detroit field division.

No information on arrests or confiscated items was released Tuesday, though a U-Haul truck driven by police arrived at the Decker Road dispensary around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“I have been in this facility within the last few days and I didn’t really see them doing anything out of compliance,” said Michael Grant, an industry liaison for medical marijuana in Michigan who showed up at the Decker location to speak with reporters. “I was carded properly when I walked in, IDs were checked, so it seems to me they were following the law as far as me entering the building.”

Grant said the Walled Lake dispensary had a grow-room facility as well as “what we call a head shop or distribution device dealership.”

He noted that there are several dispensaries in the area that have not been raided.

“What was going on behind the doors could be the reason for what’s happening,” Grant said of the Walled Lake raid.

Grant added that the building may be as large as 55,000 square feet and previously housed an indoor motorcycle track.

Employees of businesses located near the Walled Lake facility reported seeing activity about 7:25 a.m. Tuesday.

“We just saw somebody banging on the building trying to get in,” said Tom West of Fastdecks, a concrete company located across the street from the Walled Lake dispensary.

Another employee of a nearby business, Joe, who asked his last name not be used, said the officers he saw had no weapons drawn but were wearing bulletproof vests.

“When I came in, (police officers) were standing shoulder-to-shoulder across the entire front of the building,” Joe said.

DEA officials did confirm that they are the lead agency conducting the raids and said assistance from other local agencies is being provided as well.

In Novi, a police officer sitting in his patrol car about 11 a.m. at the dispensary on 12 Mile Road said he’d been posted at the building’s driveway since 7 a.m.

DEA agents were moving in and out of the brown brick office building that houses the Caregivers of America Novi location.

Rick Thompson, editor of Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, questioned some individuals who were raided.

“They’re not part of the medical marijuana community … When a shady business element uses a righteous group of individuals as a front for illegal business, it casts a dark cloud on the patients and people who are really using the act legally.”

Staff with the Walled Lake-based Ambrose Law Group, which represents medical marijuana dispensary clients, said their dispensary clients began calling the office at 9 a.m. today concerned about the DEA’s activities.

Walled Lake has five other dispensaries and none of those were raided, said Samantha Moffett, a business consultant.

“Obviously their concern is for their patients and their fears about wondering if (the dispensaries) would be open today,” Moffett said.

Moffett said Ambrose Law has no connections with Caregivers of America or the Casab family.

“People who are in this medical marijuana industry are taking a risk, putting themselves out there,” she said.

Someone had told her U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were also involved in the raids.

“I hope it turns out that there was a mistake and that there wasn’t illegal activity,” Moffett said.

Read the actual article here

 

If you have questions about medical marijuana contact Samantha Moffett at (248) 624-5500 or visit our website www.ambroselawgroup.com

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In The News: Samantha Teaches At Medical Marijuana Academy In Grand Rapids

Samantha shares her knowledge teaching courses for the Medical Marijuana Academy and taught over the weekend in Grand Rapids. Check her out on Fox 17 News

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Read the full article here
If you have questions about Medical Marijuana please contact  Samantha Moffett at Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500

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Space To Grow Is Hard To Find (Crain’s Detroit Business)

Samantha made it on the front page of Crain’s Detroit discussing her work with Medical Marijuana Business Owners. Click the link here or read the full article below

After David Greene came up with an idea for his manufacturing company, he set up a 23,000-square-foot lease at a building on the brink of foreclosure.
Was it a perfect real estate deal?

Not so much.

The term “manufacture” is loosely used to describe the business, which grows medical marijuana. And after a 12-month effort, culminating with a public hearing in Royal Oak, Greene’s company, Your Comfort Care LLC, was not approved to use the warehouse.

“This is the perfect use for a building that’s one of thousands that will never get leased unless we find an alternative use for it,” said Greene, who is also the director of brokerage services for Southfield-based real estate company First Commercial Realty and Development Co.

“I have a perfect business model. Michigan created a $1 billion industry and it’s missing out on $950 million of it when medical marijuana is not grown here.”

Greene is one of many in Michigan’s new medical marijuana industry running into roadblocks trying to find real estate for growing operations and dispensaries where medical marijuana is distributed.

Landlords in some areas have shied away from taking on tenants in the industry and local government regulations have added layers of complication.

So those landlords accepting marijuana-oriented tenants not only have to be tolerant, they need to be flexible, said Samantha Moffett, a recent law school graduate waiting to be sworn in as an attorney.

She works for the Walled Lake-based Ambrose Law Group, and has been dedicating most of her time to medical marijuana businesses.

“Cities are requiring a lease as part of the application,” she said. “So we have to go to the landlord and negotiate the terms, but then ask them to hold the space for a period of time while the application is being considered.”

She said the rules vary from one city to another — including outright bans in Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Livonia. Ferndale, Roseville and Walled Lake have been receptive, Moffett said.

David Price recently opened a retail space for his business, Cannabis Connection, in Warren to distribute medical marijuana to people certified to acquire it. He opened the business in Warren after being turned down by roughly 70 landlords in Sterling Heights.

“I covered that city and talked to so many landlords, and nobody was willing to work with a medical-marijuana business,” he said. “They wouldn’t take that chance, even with most of the rent up-front.

“They said they were worried about the stigma, worried about giving the other tenants a bad name.”

For Dominic Comer, the challenge was finding his way through the regulations in Walled Lake.

This week, he will open his dispensary, Bazonzoes, a 1,000-square-foot retail space in a strip center. Opening of Bazonzoes marks the end of a four-month effort to get an application approved by the City of Walled Lake under its newly approved ordinance.

The trick: Comer had to have a signed lease in place before the city would consider his request.

“It was a gamble and it was stressful to be paying for rent on a building but not knowing if there was going to be an approval,” Comer said.

Even before getting to the point of a government application, Comer had to find a location.

“There were people who wouldn’t even call us back once they knew what we were doing with the space,” Comer said.

Michael Ziecik, a principal with Southfield-based real estate brokerage Principal Associates-GVA, said landlords who are receptive to medical marijuana uses tend to be those who have investments in one or two buildings as opposed to the institutional landlords with large portfolios and higher rent.

“If you’re a well-financed institutional investor, you probably won’t be interested,” he said. “The thought is, this will attract law enforcement and criminals, so why do it?

“The more mom-and-pop owner, the smaller investors who are having a hard time leasing their buildings in places where this is accepted, like Hazel Park and Ferndale, they’re more than happy to take the lease.”

Ziecik found real estate for a dispensary in Ferndale and said he knows of several landlords willing to do such deals.

The idea of leasing space to a marijuana grower is fine, so long as it is legal and the local government has completely agreed to the idea along with the local community, said Gary Roberts, CEO of the Plymouth-based DeMattia Group, a real estate ownership company with 2.5 million square feet of space under ownership and management.

“But I’d put them in a single-tenant building, not a multi-tenant building,” Roberts said. “I wouldn’t want to add a special tenancy like that where it could be disruptive to other businesses in the mix. A situation with picketers, for example, would be a disruption other businesses shouldn’t have to deal with.”

In Greene’s case, the landlord was more than happy to do the deal, but the city wasn’t.

He proposed to lease a 23,000-square-foot warehouse at 2521 Torquay in Royal Oak, a property delinquent on its loan and at risk of foreclosure.

Greene planned to grow medical marijuana in the warehouse and then create a series of sub-divided spaces in the warehouse to sublease out to other growers.

Royal Oak was one of many local governments that filed a moratorium on medical marijuana uses shortly after the measure passed in November 2008.

After a public hearing packed with residents Aug. 9, the city commission Aug. 12 decided not to give Greene a variance from the moratorium, opting to continue studying the issue.

Despite recent raids of dispensaries in Oakland County, Comer said he’s not afraid of any legal repercussions.

“I’m not nervous at all,” he said. “I’m doing this the right way, doing it by the rules, and it’s going to pay off in the future.”

Daniel Duggan: (313) 446-0414, dduggan@crain.com

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Medical Marijuana Shop Opens Amid Debate (WWJ 950)

Samantha made it on WWJ last week. You can find the link here and full article below

Another Oakland County business has claimed has received approval for a medical marijuana clinic and is open for business. This comes just days  after a raid of several clinics and private homes last week.

he business is called “Bazonzoes,” and their lawyer, Samatha Moffett, said they got the okay from the city of Walled Lake for the clinic.

“We submitted this application the day after it was released, which was August 5th. And, just this morning, did we get the notification that they were approved and they can open their doors for business,” Moffet said.

But, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard tells WWJ it’s still illegal unless the state granted them an exception.

“Which is for individuals and caregivers with five or less patients — period,” Sheriff Bouchard said.

“Anything else that goes on outside that law is not permissable and can’t be approved by anyone other than a change in state law,” he said.

Three clinics and several private homes were raided last week and seventeen arrests were made during a bust by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department.

Meantime, the Lapeer County sheriff’s department searched a medical marijuana dispensary in the village of Dryden as part of an investigation into possible illegal drug sales.

Sheriff Ron Kalanquin said the Compassionate Care Center of Michigan was searched Tuesday. Kalanquin said authorities confiscated marijuana and about $3,500 in cash. No arrests were made or charges brought.

Kalanquin said legal patients aren’t being targeted.

Center employee Mark Carter tells The Flint Journal the dispensary, about 40 miles north of Detroit, only serves patients with valid state documentation.

Michigan voters approved medical marijuana use in 2008.

(Copyright 2010 by WWJ Radio.  All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Real Detroit Weekly: City Beat (July 21, 2010)

Busted?!

Beating the Rap with Defense Attorney Daniel Ambrose

While some may look at criminal law with judging eyes, picture yourself at the receiving end — needing help with no one to turn to.

While not all cases end up going to trial, Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel Ambrose feels that he and his firm are always prepared. Sometimes his attorneys will assume different positions to best try and predict a variety of outcomes, which Ambrose claims is at least partially the key to their success.

“I’ve got all these attorneys working with me now,” he says. “And they’re developing what took me, skills-wise, 14 years to get.”

Ambrose stresses the importance of having a good trial lawyer with the proper experience in developing a strong defense. To him, trial defense is about saving lives.

“I cannot live with the blood of an innocent man on my hands unless I know I did everything I could to prevent it,” Ambrose says. “If I still wasn’t successful, I’d have to live with my own personal shortcomings. That’s why we constantly train every week —even when we don’t have trials — because we have to get ready. There’s always these battles.”

And just how many battles are we talking here? Well, in 2009 alone, 45,893 alcohol and drug-related driving arrests were made in Michigan, according to the Michigan State Police’s 2009 Michigan Drunk Driving Audit.

Recently, Ambrose and his associates coordinated with local advocate Stacey Chamberlin to produce the booklet Street Smart Law, intended on dispelling myths and spreading information regarding topics ranging from drunk driving, narcotics possession, personal injury, business law and contracts.

“There are just so many things people don’t know that can hurt them,” says Ambrose.

“If a person’s accused of a crime and they’re innocent, I know for a fact that there is nobody better than us to be by their side. We will take the time to listen to the story, to figure out the truth of the story and communicate the truth to a jury so that no matter what odds they’re facing, the strong likelihood is that they will prevail, because the truth, I believe — if it can be revealed — will prevail.” | RDW

Contact Ambrose Law Group at 1-800-NOT-GUILTY or ambroselawgroup.com

Excerpts from Street Smart Law issue #2:

• We all know the legal limit — .08%. Our bodies process alcohol at roughly .015% per hour. The issue contains a chart that will help calculate when you’re safe to drive. A 120-pound woman who consumes four drinks in two hours will likely blow a .095%, while a 180-pound male who consumes five drinks in two hours will blow around a .075%.

• When in doubt, take the breathalyzer. Breath tests are easier to defend than blood tests as their results are not admissible in court, plus refusing a breathalyzer at the station automatically results in loss of a license for one year. Ambrose offers to loan breathalyzers to party hosts for peace of mind. Contact Stacey@streetsmartlaw.com for inquiry.

• The legal limit for operating a boat or jet-ski is .10%. While many of the penalties for first-time offenses are similar (6-18 months probation, 20-50 hours community service, counseling and fines), convictions will not lead to restrictions or suspension of a driver’s license.

• You have the right to remain silent! And if you do see those red and blue lights in your rearview mirror, RDW suggests calling an attorney for advice, ASAP.

For more tips and info visit streetsmartlaw.com

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Trial Opens For Teen Accused Of Assault (Oakland Press)

The Oakland Press Article

By Ann Zaniewski

of the Oakland Press

A trial opened Thursday for a 16-year-old from Wixom accused of assaulting a peer and charged with crimes that could land him in prison upon conviction.

Joseph Younger’s attorney says the allegations simply aren’t true.  On Sept. 22, 2009, the alleged victim and another teenage boy went to Younger’s apartment in Wixom to play video games.  They then started playing a prisoner-of-war-role playing game, said defense attorney Dan Ambrose.  The alleged victim told police he was choked, spit on, beaten and threatened with a knife.

Assistant Prosector Betsy Hage said the evidence will show that Younger is guilty of unlawful imprisonment, second-degree sexual conduct, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Ambrose says the physical evidence does not match the alleged victim’s account of what happened.  He said the teen was worried he’d get in trouble with his parents for being late and made up a story about what happened.

Ambrose also said the teen’s description of the details of the alleged crimes has changed multiple times.

The first victim to take the stand was the victim’s mother.  She said on Sept. 22 her son came home late and was missing his shoes and glasses.

“He looked as though he’d been beat up,” the mother said.

The trial will continue today before Oakland Probate Judge Linda Hallmark.

Ambrose said the third teen who was present that night entered guilty pleas to three charges and was given a blended juvenile adult sentence.

You can locate the actual article on page A-9 of The Oakland Press

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