Montcalm County marijuana advocate arrested in Kent County

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 3:20 pm on Monday, April 08, 2013

David Overholt

GRAND RAPIDS — The founder of a now-defunct marijuana club in Montcalm County was arrested Friday on drug charges in Kent County

David Overholt, 55, of Sidney, is charged with delivery or manufacturing narcotics/cocaine less than 50 grams, delivery or manufacturing marijuana and maintaining or frequenting a drug house. He is out of jail on bond.

The alleged offenses date back to a March 6 police raid at the West Michigan Compassion Club on Leonard Street in Grand Rapids, according to Overholt’s attorney, Richard Gould of Grand Rapids.

“There was no cocaine involved,” Gould said. “It’s all in reference to marijuana or marijuana-related. That was a poorly worded press release that the Grand Rapids police put out. The misrepresentation of cocaine being involved is purely a misrepresentation. There was no cocaine in this matter.”

Overholt is scheduled to appear in 61st District Court in Grand Rapids on April 18 for a preliminary examination.

“We’re going to fight the charges,” Gould said. “He doesn’t believe that there’s any substance to the charges.”

Gould said he doesn’t know if the Grand Rapids club is still open.

Overholt did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Overholt, a Montcalm County farmer, helped found the Mid-Michigan Compassion Club in August 2009 after Michigan voters approved a referendum in 2008 allowing medical marijuana in the state. Compassion Club members had regular meetings at 1042 E. Sidney Road in Evergreen Township near Stanton.

The club closed for a short time in August 2011 after Overholt had a discussion with Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause about her interpretation of a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling of the state’s medical marijuana law. Krause then clarified her interpretation and Overholt decided the club could remain open.

However, the Compassion Club ended its service of providing marijuana plants and materials to caregivers in September 2011, after police officers visited marijuana groups throughout Montcalm County, warning them to cease illegal transactions per the Court of Appeals ruling which stated that caregivers, or growers, are only allowed to sell marijuana to five registered patients under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

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