Friday, April 16, 2010

Cass County Medical Marijuana Card Holder Speaks Out

My name is Sylvester Vanderbutts.  I am a resident of Howard Township, Cass County, Michigan.  I began chemotherapy in 2005 for Stage 4 lymphoma cancer.  I began a second chemotherapy treatment for chronic hepatitis C.  I have Type 1 diabetes due to surgeries to remove tumors, and I take insulin shots daily.  I have been diagnosed as having bipolar depression.  I am very ill and also have an ulcer in my stomach.  I have suffered a great deal of stress from the ordeal with the authorities in Cass County.  I will have to go through more chemotherapy in the future.
When I found out that Proposal 1 to legalize medical marijuana passed in the state of Michigan, I began growing my own plants and at the same time notified my physician about what I would like to do in order to counteract the effects of chemotherapy.  The doctor agreed with the treatment and said that he would be glad to sign documentation, but he couldn’t prescribe as there were no prescriptions for it.  Once the Proposal passed, I began using the marijuana treatment.  It alleviated my pain without pain medication.  It also relieved my nausea without further medication.  The medications bothered me.  I don’t take medication well.  It was causing stomach upset and that is why I think I have this ulcer. 
Everything was ok; my plants were growing.  Plants take about four months to grow.  On August 8, 2009 I went to the Medical Marijuana Expo in Detroit, and when I returned home, a neighbor said he saw two strangers in the middle of the night trying to jump my fence. I believe they were looking for marijuana.  It may have been the Michigan SWET team.

They put out a warrant for my electric bill, and at a later date, they had another warrant for a helicopter to hover over my house using infrared. 
I never sold any marijuana to anybody.  I never gave it to anybody.  I was growing it for my use and to be a caregiver for five other patients.   I had 42 plants total, two mothers, 15 clones.  I wasn’t able to provide anyone else with the marijuana because the plants weren’t ready.  I had just enough for my own continuous use.  At that time, that is when the police raided my home.  My card was issued on August 29, 2009 and the police raided my home on September 14, 2009.  I was arrested and placed in the Cass County Jail.  I had to pay a bonds lady $2,500 to get out of jail.  I went back home.  I had to get a ride from the bonds lady because the police confiscated my 1997 S-10 step side pick up.  They also took $2,750 cash from under my bed in my safe, which was my social security money.  They also took all my tax records and my computer, and my cell phone, my checkbooks and all other documentation.  I have not been able to file my taxes because of it.  They are attempting to get my home.  This house has been in my family for over 40 years. 
I feel that they are attempting to try me as a drug dealer, when, in fact, I am a patient using medical marijuana for my illness to alleviate all the pain and nausea.  
After I hired an attorney, this went to District Court to Judge Stacey Rentfrow and she ended up sending this case to Circuit Court in front of Judge Dodge.  I refused to plead guilty as I am not guilty of anything illegal.  They have charged me with 4 felony counts, which would give me 8 years each.  After that, they decided they would just charge me with having too many plants. 
Judge Dodge said that he will not allow the information regarding my medical condition to be used in court, neither will he allow the fact that I have this documentation to be able to use medical marijuana. 
I do not understand why the jury will not be allowed to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
 Next Tuesday I will win, or they will lock me up and throw away the key.  63% of the Michigan voters voted so that people like me could use this Medical Marijuana Act without prosecution, seizure or arrest.   
I did not do anything wrong.  I am a victim of the Cass County Court system.

Why do they have to throw a sick man in jail?  I am only 52, and I do not believe I will live long.  I know I will have to go through 12 more weeks of chemotherapy and suffer tremendously just to live a little longer.  Where did we lose our compassion?  What is wrong with this county?  Why do they have to do this to me?  Why do they have to do this to anyone?  Whatever time I have left, I just want to be left in peace to fight my fight to live each day.  Isn’t that what everyone wants?  No matter how much pain and suffering is involved, we try to survive one more day.
I truly believe the truth will set me free.  This is the truth. 
If anyone wants to help, just come down to the Cass County Courthouse on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 8 a.m. and hold a sign in support of  people like me who are sick, who are not criminals, who use medical marijuana to relieve terrible pain and suffering.
Sylvester Vanderbutts
(Please send in your comments about medical marijuana to our forum.)


  1. If you people really knew the truth about this man, you might have second thoughts.His cancer has been in remission for over three years.He has been into marijuana for many years.Ask how he go hepititas C. could it have been dirty needles. You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. Bud the truth will set you free. Your letter is not the truth and you and I know it. Shame on you. I hope this informer will get to the real truth.

    1. People like you are the reason this country is so screwed up,the kind of people that have no compassion for others and have no clue the hell some people go through. Marijuana helps many people. Have you had cancer? Have you gone through the brutal hepatitis c treatments? I doubt it, shame on you. Maybe one day you will be in this mans shoes, then I bet you would be complaing about the lack of compassion this country has. Ignorant judgemental people like you are horrible!!! Until you walk a mile in someones shoes you have no right to judge!!! Shame on you!!!! May God have mercy on your heartless soul!!

    2. This man who made the first comment is obviously a piece of shit with nothing better to do than harp on people that you know nothing about!!! Who cares how he got the hepatitis?? Is that any of your conecern or your place to judge?? I don't think so only God can judge and your obviously a godless man, you have bad karma coming your way asshole!!!

  2. Hmmmm, so if I understand the facts as Mr Vanderbutts has presented them; He started growing the Marijuana before even talking to his Doctor and before the "Medical marijuana" law had been passed? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that that is ILLEGAL!
    Further, he freely admitted here that his intent was to supply marijuana to 5 people, also ILLEGAL.
    Why throw a sick man in jail? Because the sick man is required to live by the same laws that everyone else live by!
    Where did we lose our compassion? We lost it in your back yard when you started growing marijuana without a license with intent to distribute it!
    Whats wrong with this country? People like you!
    As a person who has lost several members of my family to cancer as well as several of my friends, I feel for you and your family because of your illness, I honestly do. However I have no sympathy for you for the crimes you have committed and I hope you receive the maximum sentence allowable by law!

  3. I understand where both of you are comming from on the issue but to be a "caregiver" for somone is not illegal.. That's actually how it works in Michigan you get a liscence to grow and locals with medical cards would have to make the decision whether to grow their own or buy from a "caregiver". Also The medical Marijuana proposal had already been passed prior to him growing. The Growing situation is a little suspicious to me as well although since the proposal had just passed and his doctor was willing to sign any documentation the state may have had documentation which allowed people to begin growing/smoking the plant while the cards are not in availability to them yet (it seems quite obvious to me that he must have done something similar to this because the seeds used in Medical Marijuana are aquired from the government). And yes I am with you on the number of plants situation this is definately more than an ample amount for one grower and 42 is obviously over the 12 plant limit although laws on growing are very debatable because the law also says that additional plants can be grown if necessary for personal or caregiving needs but this must be approved bay the city which it was obviously not. So since the any evidence they confiscated from this man was done on september 14th, 2009 and his card was issued on August 29th, 2009 even if he did use this medication without authorization the only evidence they have is from september 14th after the card was issued so the only thing that they could get him for is having too many plants but I guess you can't fight the system after all and he is "guilty," evidentally the defense will now appeal this to a higher court.... Once again I do believe this man was wrong and there is suspistion foul play but this is a prime example of the U.S. Judicial and law inforcement system doing what they want when they want...

    And one last thing why is it that a Medical Marijuana patient is automatically presumed to have recieved hepatitus C from a dirty needle? Did you ever think of any other diseases or circumstances that could have caused this problem? Well if you did not know Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver.. Hmmm what things can effect the liver? for starters diabetes causes inflamation, tearing, scaring, and cirrhosis which are all succeptable to hepatitis c combine that with fatty tumors and swelling from the cancer as well as hepatotoxicity (Chemical driven liver damage) from chemotherapy you have a man with one horrible liver which is very succeptable to disease. With almost all people in the united states carrying some way or another hep c can be easily transmitted through airborne bacteria.. Some of the symptoms of hep c are very similar to those of chemotherapy which would make it hard for this man to know whther he had cought the disease or not eventually leading to chronic hepatitus and it is shown that most chronic hepatitus is caused by a lack of knowledge of the disase because most cases can be controlled and cured within about a year although if your system is not strong enough (due to chemo, cancer, diabetes makes him succepatable to disease) you may not be able to fight off the disease at all which could be the case of this man... Just because somone is a patient of Medical Marijuana does not mean they are advocates, dealers, distributors (unless caregiving), or bad people. Just because we aren't advocates or ok with marijuana use does not mean that we should judge this man based on the fact that he smokes it just based on the facts, laws, and evidence proposed to us at the time.
    By the way a 17 year old just tought you a lesson in equality

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  5. Oh, wow. I actually was stupid enough to feel sort of bad for this fellow at first, but anyone can write a sob story like this. Sorry for the illness but from the other comments that are just as ligit as this post this man had it a long time coming.

    Gosh, how some people ABUSE the system. And some on! Would you really have authorities crawling all over you and sending helicopters in if you were so innocent?? Ha-ha, ugh! Some people piss me off.

  6. People need to stop over reacting about weed. You people act like he's cooking meth in his basement or something.

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