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Woman charged with handing out pot to register voters

By Rachel Garrett, CNN
  • A woman who operates a medicinal marijuana clinic allegedly gave away marijuana
  • She was allegedly handing out pot to those who registered to vote
  • Shekina Pena says she was not trying to buy votes

(CNN) -- A woman who operates a medicinal marijuana clinic in Lansing, Michigan, has been charged with breaking the state's election law after allegedly doling out free marijuana to those who registered to vote, officials said Tuesday.

Shekina Pena, 34, was charged Monday with a misdemeanor after authorities said she tried to influence voters with pot, considered a "valuable consideration," according to a statement from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

"Voters did not intend for marijuana to be handed out as a door prize, especially when it undermines the integrity of our elections process," the statement said.

"It wasn't ever to lure patients or try to buy their votes or anything like that," Pena told CNN affiliate WILX on July 31.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson argued that Pena's intent was clear. "They offered their customers marijuana in exchange for voter registration. They also supplied a slate of their preferred candidates. This goes beyond election shenanigans."

Pena said she just wanted her patients to know who her clinic, the Your Healthy Choice Clinic, was supporting in the elections.

"We let them know how we feel," she told WILX. "We're not trying to tell anyone who to vote for. We definitely want to support the ones that are supporting us."

Pena was released on bond and a future court date has not yet been set.