Marijuana pioneer ready to give up the farm

Montcalm County

SHERIDAN, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who has faced off against the courts over medical marijuana for years is ready to sell the Montcalm County farm where he has grown his controversial crop.

He believes the time is ripe for someone looking to get in on the ground floor of an emerging industry, but it will not be cheap.

David Overholt has been at the forefront of the fight for medical marijuana, and while he has lost all of the cases that have gone to the Court of Appeals, he has remained a true believer.

Overholt was running a medical marijuana dispensary on Leonard Street in Grand Rapids when it was raided in 2013.

It was clear that law enforcement in West Michigan was to narrow enforcement of the voter-approved Medical Marijuana act.

“The law was written poorly in some ways, in some ways it was also managed by law enforcement and the court systems in a poor manner, too,” Overholt said.

Overholt takes credit for running the second dispensary in the state and organizing the Mid-Michigan Compassion Club with more than 1,500 members at its height.

“I’ve been the good guy here, I’ve never really caused any trouble for anybody, I’ve always worked with authorities and tried to explain what we’ve done,” Overholt said. “But law and order just doesn’t want to work with us, as you can see.”

West Michigan counties such as Kent and Montcalm have not allowed the kind of access to medical marijuana that counties on the east side of the state have.

“Some of the things that’s confusing to us is that we’re being punished for things that other communities are doing freely,” Overholt said.

So, even though Overholt donated profits to charities and even purchased a truck for the Sheridan Fire Department, he found himself having to plead guilty to charges in Grand Rapids in 2013 and agree to close his dispensary to avoid jail time.

He has brought three cases to the Court of Appeals, one which was just filled in September.

But he continues to run a business on his 82-acre farm near Sheridan that provides caregivers with area to grow marijuana for their approved patients, eight of which he leases for $10,000 per year.

He also has areas for processing the marijuana and helps turn it into oil which does not get people high and advocates say helps with PTSD, seizure disorders and a variety of other ailments.

Overholt credits marijuana with helping him kick an opioid addiction he developed after being prescribed pain killers for injuries her received while serving in the Army National Guard during Desert Storm.

He says the tide is turning.

“Law enforcement are losing in this battle so they’re just coming up with new ways to get even,” Overholt said

Now, he wants to sell his farm and everything that goes with it.

The asking price: $2 million — more than four times what land usually goes for nearby, according to sale records.

But Overholt says the state’s loosening of the rules regarding dispensaries and the proposed ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana means there is opportunity here.

“I mean it’s gonna be a mini-General Motors just in the field and that will be my local residents that wages,” Overholt said.

He says he will remain to consult whomever takes over the operation and plans to keep in other areas of the marijuana business, but he is semi-retiring.

Asked if law enforcement should be looking at the sale as a victory, driving him out of the business,” Overholt is philosophical.

“I’ve never really run from a fight in my life, but at the end of the day, if that’s the way they want to look at it, I’m still smiling,” he said.

The township where Overholt lives has not opted into the new state program for medical marijuana dispensaries, so that could hamper any immediate plans.

Overholt says he has already seen some interest, but says he is also content to keep the land if it doesn’t sell.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links