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Grand Rapids – A Lansing man who owned medical marijuana shops around Michigan has been sentenced to nearly 16 years in federal prison.

For years, marijuana has been legal in Michigan to ease the effects of certain illnesses, long before recreational marijuana was approved in 2018. But federal investigators said Danny Trevino operated outside the medical marijuana law.

Trevino could possess small amounts of marijuana with his own medical marijuana card, but his criminal record prevented him from being a registered caregiver who could grow pot for others, the government said. Nonetheless, he had a thriving business.

“Individuals that went to Hydroworld to purchase marijuana would receive marijuana grown by one of Hydroworld’s suppliers, not necessarily marijuana grown by that individual’s registered caregiver as required by state law,” prosecutors said in a court filing.

Trevino was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana and maintaining a drug-involved premises.

“States are changing marijuana laws across the country. Certainly that’s true. But federal law has not changed,” U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney said.

The government said Trevino grossed nearly $3 million at his Hydroworld shops, according to records. He operated in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Flint and Mount Pleasant.

“He thought he was legal,” defense attorney Nicholas Bostic said.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel McGraw said Trevino was “defiant, unrepentant and undeterred.”

Supporters at the courthouse were upset by the sentence.

“It’s just not fair,” Sydney Krey told The Grand Rapids Press.

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