Wally Kowalski: Man Who Spoke Out Against Police Seizing His Property Without Charges Arrested Hours After Story Is Broadcast

Nathan Francis

Wally Kowalski appeared in a news story about how police had seized his property and money without charging him with a single crime. Within hours of the broadcast, the Michigan State Police showed up at his door, dragging him out of bed and into a jail cell at 2 a.m.

Kowalski is a medical marijuana user and design engineer who came home one day in September to find police armed with a warrant. Officers searched the home and took a power generator along with several expensive tools, and also froze Kowalski's bank accounts.

Kowalski told the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that be believes police took anything they believe they could sell at auction.

"When they found my bank accounts here in my office, they let out a yell," he said. "They said, 'Here's the bank accounts, we got him.' It's like the happiest thing for them, to find my bank accounts."

Wally Kowalski, who has written several manuals and textbooks on using ultraviolet light to control airborne disease, believes he was targeted because of his marijuana use.

Kowalski said he uses marijuana to help him sleep after his heart medication left him with insomnia, but said he doesn't particularly enjoy it.

"I never really liked it," Kowalski said. "It made me foggy headed. I'm focused on research, science, books, writing. I didn't find it conducive to that lifestyle."

Kowalski started to grow his own marijuana in his home, and agreed to be a licensed caregiver to four other patients.

The original story from Michigan Capitol Confidential detailed the allegations against Kowalski:

According to the seizure petition, police spotted his plants by helicopter and could see them from the road. Kowalski lives in a rural area and said it is not possible to see exactly what is growing inside his fence about 400 feet away.

Other allegations in the complaint state that Kowalski was growing his plants inside an area that did not have a roof or cover and that he was unable to produce two of the four caregiver cards. Kowalski says he didn't have the documentation in his house at the time but did get it from the State of Michigan registry a few days later and provided it to police within a few days.

Other allegations in the complaint state that Kowalski was growing his plants inside an area that did not have a roof or cover and that he was unable to produce two of the four caregiver cards. Kowalski says he didn't have the documentation in his house at the time but did get it from the State of Michigan registry a few days later and provided it to police within a few days.

"I don't think what I did, growing medical marijuana for myself and my clients, was such a terrible thing but the treatment I'm getting from the state police is extremely harsh," Kowalski said.

Within hours of the story's broadcast, police moved in. They woke Kowalski in the early morning hours on Wednesday with a felony warrant, taking him to spend the night inside a jail cell without a blanket or pillow. He was arraigned in the morning and released on bond.

Police charged Kowalski with "delivery and manufacture of 5 to 45 kilograms of marijuana, between 20 and 200 plants." Kowalski claims that because he was a caregiver for four medical marijuana cardholders, he was authorized to grow 12 plants per person.

The story led to outrage online, with many decrying the process of civil forfeiture in which police can seize property and money without ever charging a person with a crime. They also believe Kowalski's arrest was vindictive for his speaking out against the practice.

Wally Kowalski could face 7 years in prison if convicted of his crime.

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