Michigan Police Officer Commits Suicide After Marijuana Conviction

Michigan Police Officer Commits Suicide After Marijuana Conviction

Nearly a month after pleading guilty to drug charges over possession of medical marijuana butter, a Michigan police officer’s abrupt death has officially been ruled a suicide. A 22 year police officer veteran, Sergeant Timothy Bernhardt’s life dramatically changed when a call from US postal worked tipped officers off to suspicious packages. A closer look at the destination of the packages eventually lead investigating officers to search the homes of Sergeant Tim Bernhardt, Deputy Michael Frederick, and Deputy Todd VanDoorne, and Christine Tennant, the wife of Deputy Brian Tennant.

Unknowingly breaking the law, all believed at the time that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act protected their possession and use of medical marijuana butter, according to the Huffington Post.

Sergeant Bernhardt quit his post and plead guilty to his charges, though the Kent County Sheriff, Larry Stelma, told the press that there was never any indication that the marijuana was ever provided to anyone without a medical marijuana card.

Bernhardt was facing two years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine, regardless of the sergeant previous squeeky clean record and years of service.

The officers’ lawyers articulated that the only drug activity involved in the case involved medical marijuana, and the officers had legally obtained medical marijuana cards.

The issue at the center of the arrests is a technicality in the law: Marijuana infused butter is not officially deemed as “usable” marijuana under the 2008 law.

After lengthy debate, a Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that marijuana butter was not considered medical marijuana, in July of last year. In response to that ruling, in December of last year, the Michigan House voted 100-9 to include products made with resin, including marijuana butter, in the definition of legal, usable medical marijuana. That bill was still in the Michigan Senate at the time of the arrests.

Photo Credit: RawStory

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