Michigan medical marijuana operator faces prison time

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A Michigan medical cannabis operator was convicted on 10 federal marijuana trafficking-related charges and faces a minimum of five years behind bars, in another cautionary tale about the importance of MJ operators strictly adhering to the law.

Danny Trevino, owner of Hydro World, which had five storefronts across Michigan from 2010 to 2017, violated federal law and the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Michigan.

Trevino had prior felony drug convictions involving cocaine and marijuana, so he was qualified only to be an MMJ patient and, under state law, to cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants for his own use.

Prosecutors said Trevino instead cultivated thousands of marijuana plants, sold hundreds of kilograms of cannabis and generated sales of at least $2.9 million.

He also allegedly provided illegal delivery services and leased space at his storefronts for other growers to sell cannabis, effectively creating a marijuana farmers’ market.

Trevino asserted to MLive.com that it was employees, not him, who sold the marijuana, and each time he was charged in state court for alleged violations, the charges were dismissed.

“How could I not have been in compliance if I was acquitted and found not guilty?” Trevino said.

But prosecutors said Trevino was given “ample notice” that he was involved in an illegal activity.

They said his storefronts and cultivation facilities were searched by law enforcement at least 16 times over the years, but he resumed operations shortly after each search.

“Although Trevino has long claimed that what he was doing was legal . . . he was not even close to being legal and made a mockery of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act in the process,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a statement.

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