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Cops Testify That Marijuana Is “Excellent” Medicine


sour diesel marijuana strainLaw enforcement officers say the marijuana butter they used gave “excellent” results and cannabis “gave me my life back” during testimony in a twisted case that has already driven one officer to take his own life.

As chronicled in a series of articles published by the MLive Media Group, three corrections officers including Mike Frederick and Todd VanDoorne secured their medical marijuana physician’s certification from a pain management doctor. In 2011 or 2012 the officers began using butter infused with marijuana, which they purchased from licensed caregiver Timothy Scherzer, to alleviate pain.

In July of 2013 the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that concentrated forms of marijuana, such as the butter the officers consumed, were no longer included within the protections of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). According to attorneys, the officers had no idea the interpretation of law had changed and simply continued their successful treatment program using the medicated brownies. The officers were found out, their homes were raided in March of 2014 and drug charges were filed against several people.

The third officer, Timothy Bernhardt, plead guilty to maintaining a drug house and other charges. After facing the loss of his career and the potential of testifying against his fellow officers, Bernhardt committed suicide on November 16.

Frederick and VanDoorne were in court for an evidentiary hearing Jan. 21 when the testimony about marijuana’s beneficial effects was given.

“The medical marijuana was excellent, completely different from the narcotics. I could still do things, still carry on daily chores,” VanDoorne testified.

Both men began using brownies containing marijuana-infused butter in 2011 or 2012. According to their own sworn testimony the marijuana treatments were far superior to the prescription medications the officers had initially been prescribed.

Years ago, VanDoorne underwent surgery to fuse vertebrae together and suffers from chronic pain. He was put on a standard pain treatment program featuring prescription-strength pain killers. The side effects those medications had on the corrections officer left him sometimes lethargic, and sometimes angry.

When VanDoorne used the cannabis medicine he found a very different result.

“It gave me my life back. It was a good thing.”

His co-defendant Frederick also testified to the medicinal benefits of using brownies made with the medicated butter. Frederick has diabetes and neuropathy.

One of the men charged in the case was Brian Tennant, who had more than 20 years on the force in the Kent County Sheriff Department. His wife is a registered medical marijuana patient, and Tennant typically picked up the pre-made medicated butter for her and the other officers from Scherzer. ”I pick up prescriptions for my wife… I believed I was operating within the law,” he said during testimony in December.

At that time his attorney Jeffrey Crampton said, “We are extremely disappointed that the sheriff and prosecutor teamed up in a witch hunt to prosecute four distinguished corrections officers who had no idea that marijuana butter had been ruled illegal by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a twisted bit of logic.” Tennant plead guilty and received probation, a $10,000 fine and the loss of his job.

The charges against the officers stem from their possession of medicated butter and brownies made from it, and how much they weigh.

Bruce Block, attorney for VanDoorne, on January 22 introduced a recipe into evidence that explains two ounces of dry, usable marijuana are used to produce two pounds of marijuana butter, and under Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) each patient is allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces. VanDoorne had one pound of butter and one batch of brownies taken from his home by investigators. The prosecution argues that the entire weight of the butter and brownies be used as the measurement for determining legal compliance.

Judge Leiber will evaluate the Frederick/VanDoorne case and determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a jury trial. He is expected to issue a written opinion.

Source: TheCompassionChronicles.Com


About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.


  1. Dont knock until you tryed it.These aholes need to relax and burn a joint.

  2. They go ahead and legalize it and then go and trip you up on every connor.No let them go your weight measuring system is just the feds, fucking with us.These corrections officers did nothing wrong.The Feds need to be accountable for ruining this young corrections life,who’s only escape thanks to you was terminating his life. How do you sleep at night. I hope that young corrections offficers face haunts your every waking hour.

  3. I think what I find most infuriating is that the court actually allowed the defendants to give testimony regarding the medical benefits they received from cannabis while non cops are forbidden from even alluding to any medical use at all. The hypocrisy here is sickening.

  4. Courthouses are not where the problem lies, it’s the legislature that refused to resolve the issue promptly. We’ve been telling them to pass our Concentrates bill here, and this is the exact reason why they should have acted months ago!

  5. John, great point. Look at how the issue has evolved since it was first publicized. The cops are the heroes now and the prosecutor is the bad guy- and that’s the way it should be. I can’t think of a more harmless thing to do than to bake brownies.

  6. It won’t be long before we look back on this time and think, what the hell were the guys in power thinking? Today we look back at other civil rights issues and now the concept of racial segregation or voting rights for women or making buildings accessible to the disabled, and we ask, who the hell was standing in opposition to these advances? Answer: the same people that stand in opposition to our movement now, that’s who!

  7. That one dead law enforcement officer may make headlines but it’s the long list of other deaths that could have been avoided by embracing cannabis that haunt me. How many non-cops have died while waiting for sanity? How many lives were shortened by overzealous law enforcement stormtroopering their way into homes and businesses? PTSD, anyone?

  8. So true, Jordan! Sadness surrounds this story like snowdrifts against a broken building, but we alone can usher in the spring. Education and information will win the day, have to stay alive long enough to be a part of the positivity that’s coming.

  9. Dan, you are absolutely right. Let’s not allow this story of tragedy to become the norm. The world is a vampire.

  10. Kelly, the west side of Michigan is very unfriendly to marijuana users. These stories make the prohibitionists look like the bad guys, and that’s what they are. Thanks for your comment!

  11. Yeah, it’s hard to believe such insanity. Future generations are just going to shake their heads in disbelief at such cruelty and stupidity.

  12. people protesting at every courthouse in the country is another possibility. In accord with the ‘think globally, act locally’ mantra

  13. So what I hear this article saying is that these Law Enforcement officers found mobility in cannabis and was still able to perform the duties of a law enforcement officer without putting any innocent by-standers in harms way. How can this be, such a powerfully fear drug such as Marijuana. Because It is not as Dangerous as Society would have us believe. Let’s step out side this proverbial box for one second, so if these cops are prosecuted for possession and punished does this mean that all the arrested made by these cops during the time of their admitted use, will be up for reconsideration due to the fact that according to your laws marijuana is a crime. This could cause a wave of court issues, think about it. Just know Marijuana Is more helpful for mobility when recovering from trauma, and if these Law Enforcement Officers found relief without the over use of illicit drugs, like prescription pills, why make this a bad thing. Let’s make this an example to the courts that Marijuana is not dangerous and when used responsibly even cops can be under the influence of a greater pain management. Personally I would rather have a cops stop me who is not on pills.

  14. John Stegmeier on

    Thanks for the article Rick. I also have followed the case since the beginning and am appalled by the way these officers are being treated. First that the initial reports referred to them as a drug ring as if they were dealing drugs as opposed to using marijuana (even if it had been without medical cards the sheriff has stated that they were not selling) and the prosecutor has charged them with operating drug houses. If they weren’t supplying other people at their homes they weren’t operating drug houses.

  15. Its incredibly important to get Marijuana taken off of Schedule 1 immediately. Call the whitehouse comment line and sign the petitions on the whitehouse web site. If enough people call, email, and sign the petitions, we can get it done now, rather than waiting for the 2016 election. Cancer patients and others that benefit from Medical Marijuana shouldn’t be used as “political footballs” and that’s whats happening now. They’re real people in real pain. Every minute another American dies, in pain, of Cancer, and its a horrible way to die.

  16. Wrong. Typically the resin is extracted from the leaves and stems rather than from the flowers. While the concentration may be less, even much less, in the leaves, the extraction process increases the concentration to approach purity.

  17. This type of news is simply enraging. What is a sensible minded person to do. How long will the “powers that be” hide behind the curtain blowing smoke up our asses.

  18. how is the butter and brownies not medical? its a form of application not a new product….

  19. That is not right. You can’t use the weight of the brownies as evidence. As they only contain at most a lb of butter them selves. So he only had 2 lbs of butter that breaks down to 2oz of pot. Alot of people make brownies out of the waste cuttings from the plants so technically it no pot in it whatsoever.

  20. Billy Bob Merkowitz on

    >>>>>>>>Bruce Block, attorney for VanDoorne, on January 22 introduced a recipe
    into evidence that explains two ounces of dry, usable marijuana are used
    to produce two pounds of marijuana butter, and under Section 4 of the
    Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) each patient is allowed to possess
    up to 2.5 ounces. VanDoorne had one pound of butter and one batch of
    brownies taken from his home by investigators. The prosecution argues
    that the entire weight of the butter and brownies be used as the
    measurement for determining legal compliance.<<<<<<<<<

    This is fucking insane. If you take a shot of whiskey, put it in a gallon jug, and then fill the container with water, you do NOT have a gallon of whiskey. You have a gallon of very weak whiskey and water. If you take a one pound loaf of french bread, slice it down the middle, and spread a tablespoon of peanut butter across the inside of that loaf of french bread, you do NOT have a pound of peanut butter. You have a tablespoon of peanut butter smeared very thinly on the inside of a loaf of french bread. If you take a Michigan Prosecutor, wrap fifty pounds of rusty chain around his waist, lock it in place, and toss him off a boat into the middle of Lake Michigan, you don't have a Prosecutor at the bottom of Lake Michigan… you have a good start.

  21. thank you for reporting some of the actual facts of the story. these officers were already tried in the public court~ thanks to the local news stations trying to get a headline. very sad situation for the officers and their families.

  22. its really sad when they let all these people in the law get away with murder and then charge them for the use of a plant put here by God himself. the system is broken and needs a reboot seriously.

  23. National Naturalist List.com on

    There are many ways to approach legalization of marijuana/hemp.. We are using the Religious Freedom Clause of the First Amend. and the 14th Amend. Equal Protections, both are better defined and developed in each state’s Constitution, “Citizen’s Bill of Rights”; this we base on the US being a majority Christian Nation, King James BIBLE, Genesis 1:29; we support this with GUAM v. GUERRERO, #OO-71247, 5-28-02, STATING MARIJUANA IS A RELIGIOUS HERB, and MARBURY v. MADISON, 5 Crans 132, 1803, stating all Constitutional protections trump federal statute and any law violating this is VOID.. We have a draft for a Constitutional Amendment for South Dakota and a Statute we have submitted to SD Attorney General and Sec. of State..
    We offer a “Statement of Disposition” online that is open to law enforcement and a membership card advising law enforcement of a members assertion of his religious rights and Miranda with advice of silence and no interaction prior to counsel.
    If any of this is interesting contact “JT” Thompson, National Naturalist List.com

  24. This is such a shocking story, highlighting the hypocrisy and denial of truth of the authorities. Unfortunately we have similar dinosaurs in Britain who state “the drugs laws are working” against all the evidence. When will they realise that people are now aware of their deception and downright lies and ties to Big Pharma and alchohol. # freetheweed.

  25. No problem I would like to say I wish the best for these families, but when your loved ones feel the need to die because of shame there is nothing that can make things better. So if you speak to them please tell the how sorry all of us believers (marijuana legalization) are, and that we are thinking of them.

  26. Those who have not worked more than 2 terms can stay I meant to add. The rest, take a hike…old stubborn fools

  27. It is clearly more evident now than ever that political parties and lawmakers should be forced into early retirement. At that point, the life-long salaries and benefits should be restructured, and those seats replaced by younger open minds that actually care about laws and rulings that make sense and were not just handed jobs because of their families name, the yacht clubs they’re a part of and how many fortune 500 companies they have worked at or are friends with cash cow CEO’s that pile money into whatever direction will ultimately increase their larger than life bank accounts. It’s time people who actually gave a shit were given a chance

  28. This kind of news is just infuriating. The time is coming to where all the norml chapters and all the pot lobbying organizations need to coordinate a millions strong march on DC to get our point across. Fill the capital with pro-pot people for a few days. Get the news coverage showing the massive support. I would attend for a few days. Doesn’t have to be an occupy type movement. Just a short duration statement that gets mass news coverage.

  29. Nothing that is happening in Michigan can be looked upon as Domocracy. The people in your state have been taken overby a Facist form of non-democrat. No Fing place in the country can a governor disavow an ELECTED OFFICAL( key word here ELECTED) appointed emergency managers who VOTED. For that exactly. No Michigan has a F-ing DICTATORS in the Govenors mansion and this asshole needs to go. Stand up Michigan and take your state back. PLEASE IT SETS ABAD EXAMPLE FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY TO SHOW THAT WE THE PEOPLE CAN BE SO EASLY TAKEN OVER BY A BUNCH OF CHEAP SUITS.
    TIME TO RISE UP AND KICK ASS IN Detroit and anywhere that this abuse of power is taking place.

  30. I read the beginning of the arrests when they occurred. This is how messed up our (Michigan) medical laws are. It’s so sad and messed up that these people chose to die instead of being persecuted. It’s only Marijuana butter It is not meth,cocain, crack. I fell so bad for these and all families that have to go through this cruel persecution. I pray that all of the arresting officers, the prosecution, the judges never get a good night’s sleep again And that every time they close their eyes they see their evil Work and it haunts them. It really messed up when cops go after people for Marijuana use they spend all that energy to get a drug bust and no time going after real criminals.

  31. A dead cop, and no benefit from prohibition , the law is “great ” how stupid all supporters of prohibition are? People still and will continue using marijuana legal or not. I do believe collecting the taxes and undercutting the drug dealers and cartels is the best choice .

  32. The repug government here in Michigan is enraged that medicinal cannabis is legal. They have done everything possible to hinder obtaining medication. That is why the black market here still flourishes as if medicinal laws never happened. They just don’t get the idea that safe access would take away their fears of gang and cartel involvement. Complete old fogey morons…wish they’d crawl into their graves already. Terrible to say I know but I don’t think they will ever listen to the truth….too set in their ways….redundant…obsolete.

  33. Jordan Shorette on

    wow more victims of the drug war what does that say when they even send their own to slaughter.

  34. The more absurd these stories get, the more people become disillusioned by the drug war.

    These were family and career guys. Now one is dead and the others’ lives are forever changed, for very much the worse.

    All this due to irrational Reefer Madness… which appears to be finally coming (thankfully) to a close.

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