Several people question recent marijuana raids

8:18 PM, Oct 18, 2013   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- "Operation High Mileage" is getting a lot of comments on the internet and social media sites. Many question the cost of such a large marijuana investigation.

There were 27 people arrested in the multi-county drug raid. It's considered a big win for the law enforcement teams that were involved.

For many others, like community activist Michael Tuffelmire, it's being called a waste of time. "I do believe there should be regulation; however, I believe this is another step in the wrong direction."

Tuffelmire says he does not use marijuana, but he does believe in de-criminalizing it to some extent. He was the director of DecriminalizeGR, the organization that helped make small amounts of marijuana a civil infraction in Grand Rapids. He's concerned about the recent raids.

"As I see in media reports, there were 160 police officers across 11 agencies involved. As a combat veteran of Iraq, this sounds like a military operation."

WZZM 13 News did reach out to most of the agencies involved to see why so many resources were used in the bust, but no one would comment.

On Facebook, the majority of the feedback was negative.

Patty says: "what a waste of time and money." Arty says: "take the 160 officers and go work on the meth problem."

There was some positive feedback. Becky says: "good job guys."

"I'm just wondering in this time of need, when we're looking at how to reduce our budgets, if this is the wisest use of our resources," says Tuffelmire.

In all, there were 500 pounds of marijuana, money, and other property seized in the raids. Investigators have warned that it's not over and there will likely be more arrests to come.

The Western branch of the ACLU is taking up the issue of smarter drug policies next month. Experts on the issue, including law enforcement officers, will be on hand for the discussion. It will be held November 11 at the UICA on Fulton Street at 7 p.m.

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