The finished disc of cannabutter, which will be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in parchment. (Bruce Wolf, The Cannabist)

Judge throws out case against corrections officers busted for cannabutter

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Michigan judge has thrown out a case against two former corrections officers who lost their jobs after being arrested and charged with possession of marijuana-infused butter.

Michael Frederick and Todd VanDoorne were charged in 2014 following an early-morning, warrant-less search of their homes. Both were registered under the state’s medical marijuana law to use the butter to control pain. Police allege they didn’t comply with the law. They subsequently lost their jobs in Kent County.

The Michigan Court of Appeals said the tactics police used were legitimate. But the state Supreme Court ruled in June that the search of the men’s homes violated their constitutional rights, even though both consented to the searches.

Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber then ruled on Tuesday that Frederick and VanDoorne’s consent didn’t override the violation of their rights.

“Deputies clearly intended to go on the property without a warrant in the middle of the night, seeking to question Defendants about criminal conduct. No emergency circumstances existed to justify the search,” he wrote.

The case can’t move forward because the evidence gathered during the search can’t be used in trial, Leiber said.

“He’s ecstatic and exhausted, physically and mentally” said Bruce Block, VanDoorne’s attorney.

Block said Frederick and VanDoorne will likely try to get their jobs back.

“I think they should not have been fired,” Block said.

Prosecutor Chris Becker said he plans to appeal the decision and that his office is prepared to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.