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Lansing medical marijuana clinic owner found not guilty of trying to influence voters

ALansing medical marijuana clinic owner was found not guilty today oftrying to influence voters in last year’s city council elections.   

Shekina Pena offered a free half gram or edible marijuana product to patients who used her Lansing marijuana clinic if they registered to vote. Pena backed a slate of city council candidates who supported medical marijuana clinics.  

Prosecutors charged Pena with attempting to influence voters. She could have faced up to 90 days in jail.   

Matt Newburg is Pena’s attorney. He said the jury agreed with his defense that Pena’s offer was no different from other voter registration drives which give pencils or yard signs to people who register to vote.  

“There was nothing that could be produced to show that this was anything more than a voter registration drive.    No evidence that she was trying to influence any person’s vote," said Newburg.  

The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before returning its verdict.    

The Attorney General's office issued a statement late today saying they pursued this case because it "didn't pass the smell test."   They remain concerned what this case may mean for the holding of free and fair elections in Michigan in the future.   The AG's office says it is considering its options in this case.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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