The Michigan House Judiciary Committee is to begin new hearings today for two medical-marijuana bills. Both passed the House overwhelmingly last year, then hit roadblocks in the lame-duck session of the state Senate last fall, when statewide police groups lobbied hard against them.
The bills would allow two big additions to Michigan’s medical-marijuana landscape:
■ Dispensaries, the shops that claim to sell tested medical marijuana in secure settings, so that users aren’t forced to buy whatever the local street-corner dealer is selling.
■ Medibles, the slang word for marijuana that is edible or consumed in various ways other than smoking, an option that many users say is vital to their health because they can’t or won’t smoke the drug.
On one side of the renewed debate are those who say that state voters declared marijuana was medicine in the 2008 election, passing Michigan’s medical marijuana act with 63% of the vote. On the other side are those who say that many of Michigan’s approximately 100,000 state-approved users of medical marijuana just want to get high and that dispensaries amount to legalized drug dealing.
State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, a chiropractor from southwest Michigan, is the chief sponsor of the dispensaries bill — House Bill 4209 — and he co-wrote the medibles bill, House Bill 4210. Although dispensaries are illegal, hundreds are said to be open across the state and Callton has visited several.
“You have some very good ones, very concerned about product quality,” he said.
“And you have some others that are just slinging dope. I’ve been to a place in Flint where a circle of men were passing a joint around, and they all said they all had medical marijuana cards. That’s recreational use operating under the guise of medical use,” Callton said.
After law-enforcement objections stymied the bills last year, new versions have been tweaked to please not only the police groups but Gov. Rick Snyder as well, Callton said.
Snyder’s staff and some state lawmakers wanted the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to have a strong hand in regulating dispensaries, said Robin Schneider, legal liaison of the Detroit-based National Patients Rights Association.
After Michigan voters approved the state’s medical marijuana act, both dispensaries and medibles surfaced in every county, proliferating until court cases and law-enforcement officials clamped down, Schneider said. The state once had an estimated 400 dispensaries but now has about half that many, and they must operate in the shadows out of fear of police raids, she said.
Likewise, medible forms of cannabis also are law-enforcement targets after a state Court of Appeals ruling in 2013 said that all forms of nonsmokable marijuana were illegal — from tinctures and lotions to marijuana brownies.
“Michigan is definitely at the back of the train on both dispensaries and edibles,” said Karen O’Keefe, a lawyer in charge of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C., that favors legalizing cannabis.
Only three of the 23 medical-marijuana states — Hawaii, Montana and Michigan — fail to allow some form of stores for adult users, said O’Keefe, a Grosse Pointe Farms native. Of those, Hawaii is “very likely” to approve dispensaries this year, she said.
Numerous other states allow medibles, so that children with epilepsy or seniors with lung disorders can use medical marijuana without needing to smoke it, O’Keefe added.
The House Judiciary Committee hearings are to begin at 9 a.m. today at the House Office Building, 124 N. Capitol, Room 307.
Michigan’s prospects for adopting a marijuana legalization program in 2016 are brighter as the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee (MCCLRIC) announces their intention to launch a petition drive and collect signatures in 2015.
“The time is right and people are demanding a comprehensive petition that protects medical marijuana, creates a responsible tax and regulation system for adult use age 21 and over, and permits the farming of hemp for Michigan agriculture, food and industry,” said MCCLRIC chairman Jeffrey Hank, an attorney from Lansing.
“The proposal could bring 25,000 jobs and net $200 million in revenue, while slashing $300 million from expenses,” explained Detroit attorney Matthew Abel, a MCCLRIC Board member.
Proposed language for the petition would include a strengthening of protections for registered medical marijuana patients, a legalized marijuana program and an advancement of the industrial hemp initiative established under legislation signed into law by Gov. Snyder earlier this year.
Some of the highlights of the proposal include: allowing citizens to cultivate 12 plants each, which mimics the medical marijuana possession limit; adding protections for medicinal marijuana patients and ensuring access for pediatric and elderly patients; and dedicating tax revenues toward public interest projects such as road repair and school funding.
“The organization’s Board of Directors is a stellar list of accomplished activists from Michigan,” said Rick Thompson, journalist and Board member of several other statewide patient advocacy organizations.
“We are open, transparent, democratic, indigenous Michigan activists, not shadowy outsiders,” Hank said. “This is a unique opportunity for Michigan to create the gold standard for cannabis law reform.”
Leadership for the MCCLRIC consists of eleven Board members, including several attorneys and noted media personalities. (See attached Board Membership Directory) All were elected at a gathering of statewide marijuana law reform advocates. The final language of the petition is being drafted.
As of 12:01am a New Law goes into effect and it has the Hill Hopping Mad.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, told Bowser that if she continued with her plan to implement marijuana legalization she would face “very serious consequences,” The Washington Post reported.
“You can go to prison for this,” The Post quoted Chaffetz as saying. “We’re not playing a little game here.”
Bowser was undeterred by the threat of prison time. “We are acting lawfully,” she told reporters. “I have a lot of things to do, being in jail wouldn’t be a good thing.”
Rep. Andy Harris, D-Md., who has been one of the most vocal opponents of marijuana legalization in D.C., says implementation of the law would be a violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits the spending of federal funds that have not been appropriated.
“The Anti-Deficiency Act doesn’t say everybody except the mayor,” Harris said, according to The Hill. “The Anti-Deficiency Act is clear. It has two years’ jail time and loss of a job, as well as penalties.”
Nearly two thirds of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 in November. Under Initiative 71, people ages 21 or older will be allowed to possess two ounces or less of marijuana, use marijuana on private property and give one ounce or less to another person as long as no money, goods or services are exchanged.
Residents will also be permitted to cultivate up to six marijuana plants — although no more than three mature plants— in their primary home.
Congress has final say over the laws in the District of Columbia, and the two sides disagree about whether Congress acted quickly enough to block an initiative legalizing pot.
Congress passed legislation in December that aimed to block Initiative 71 by banning the use of appropriated funds to “enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize” marijuana.
District officials argue that the law was enacted when voters approved the initiative in November and that it merely takes effect Thursday. Chaffetz disagrees with that interpretation and says the mayor and other District employees who move forward with legalization could face criminal penalties.
Chaffetz and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., sent Bowser a letter Tuesday “strongly urging” her to reconsider implementing marijuana legalization. They argue D.C. bills do not become law and are not enacted until the 30-day review period called for in the Home Rule Act has expired.
According to City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, “The initiative was enacted at the point that the voters voted and the board certified the results,” The Post reported. “I sent the initiative to Congress for the required congressional review as required by law. This is not a matter that I had a choice about. The legal opinions are consistent.”
The letter from Chaffetz and Meadows says if money is spent to change the D.C. law it would violate the Anti-Deficiency Act. To that end, the Oversight Committee has begun an investigation and demanded the District turn over all documents that would reveal how much time and money city employees have spent on the marijuana legalization law.
No one has ever been convicted of violating the Anti-Deficiency Act, although government employees have been punished administratively for violations.
Jamie Raskin, a constitutional law professor at American University, characterized the threat of criminal prosecution as “a lot of huffing and puffing on Capitol Hill.”
Contributing: WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.; The Associated Press
New Medical Marijuana Rules – In Effect Now
On January 15, 2015, new medical marijuana rules will take effect and be implemented. The new rules
do all of the following:
Establish a $60 application fee for all qualifying patients (reduced from $100).
Eliminate the reduced $25 application fee.
Require that caregivers pay a $25 processing fee for each required criminal background check.
Due to the rule changes, applicants who apply for registry cards on or after January 15, 2015 must use
the new forms that will be available below.
Please use the applications below if you are applying for or renewing your registration: (PLEASE NOTE THE ORIGINAL AND RENEWAL APPLICATIONS ARE NOW COMBINED.)
LANSING — The last day of the lame-duck legislative session went into the wee hours of Friday morning as legislators finished up work for the year.
A pair of bills expanding access to medical marijuana gained a great deal of attention throughout the year and passed the House with bipartisan support, but they couldn’t get enough support to get a vote in the Senate on the last day of session.
The bills would have made it easier for medical marijuana users to purchase their pot and use different forms of marijuana. One bill would have allowed communities to decide if they would let medical marijuana dispensaries in their towns and regulate those facilities. Another would have legalized marijuana-infused products, such as brownies and oils, for use by people who have a hard time smoking the product.
The dispensaries were a key for medical marijuana supporters and caregivers, who after a state Supreme Court ruling last year are left with one option: growing their own marijuana or buying it from a licensed caregiver, who is limited in the amount he or she can grow.
Hearings on the bills this year attracted standing-room-only crowds of people, mostly supporting the legislation. But law enforcement and some health professionals put on a full-court press against the legislation last week, and the Senate decided not to take up the bills.
They could be reintroduced next year.
Dozens of bills received final passage on the last day of the 2014 legislative year.
Easing the process of getting a nonviolent criminal record expunged passed the Senate on a 38-0 vote and is on its way to the governor. Under the bill, people with one felony and two misdemeanor convictions can apply to get either the felony or the misdemeanors expunged from their record. The final decision on whether to clear the record will be made by a judge.
A bill makes it more expensive to get a recount of election results. Currently, a candidate requesting a recount must pay $10 per precinct to get a recount underway. Under the bill that received final passage in the Senate on a 28-10 vote, that amount would increase to $25 per precinct. And for candidates who lost by more than 50 votes, it would cost them $125 per precinct if they asked for a recount.
A bill finalized the transfer of 126 acres and 15 buildings that used to be the Detroit House of Corrections and the Western Wayne County Correctional Facility in Plymouth to the Land Bank Fast Track Authority, which hopes to sell the land quickly. The property has been vacant since 2005 and may be a tough sell for the land bank. It also used to be an open dump for the city of Detroit for 30 years, from the 1920s to 1950s. Cleanup costs have been estimated between $4 million to $20 million.
Three bills make it easier for homeowners to restructure their property tax debt to avoid foreclosure. One bill would reduce interest rates from 18 percent to 6 percent, allow homeowners to enter into a payment plan for up to five years and set up a debt-forgiveness component to make sure any homeowner’s tax bill is no more than 25 percent of the home’s market value. Officials in Detroit, which has embarked on an aggressive campaign to keep people in their homes and sell abandoned property to buyers willing to rehab the homes, praised the bills’ passage as another sign of the city’s resurgence.
“State lawmakers today passed three important pieces of legislation that will significantly improve the quality of life for the residents of our city,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said. “Individually, these bills help Detroiters avoid tax foreclosure, allow the city to more quickly remove blight and help attract thousands of new jobs to Detroit.”
A bill creates protocols for law enforcement to carry Narcan, a drug that can successfully reverse the deadly effects of a heroin overdose, when answering overdose calls. The bill also provides for training for law enforcement and other first responders. More than two dozen states have passed laws expanding access to Narcan.
People who circulate petitions for candidates or ballot issues would not have to be registered voters or residents of the district where a candidate is running under a bill that received final passage in the House on Thursday night. The bill was brought up to address a federal court ruling this year in a case dealing with petitions submitted by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit. He was initially kicked off the ballot, not because he lacked sufficient valid signatures, but because the circulators weren’t properly registered to vote. A federal judge said the requirement was unconstitutional and put Conyers back on the ballot.
A package of bills to set up a commission to review the state’s sentencing guidelines and tweak the state’s Community Corrections Act passed unanimously in the Senate. But separate bills that would have reformed parole and probation policies in the state faced fierce resistance from law enforcement and Attorney General Bill Schuette. Those two bills failed on mostly party-line votes.
The bills are headed to Gov. Rick Snyder to review and possibly sign into law.
Anyone 21 years and older now can use,posses or transfer up to one ounce of marijuana on private property !
where the laws passed
a victory for sure but let us not be complacent…………
Huntington Woods,Pleasant Ridge,Berkley,Port Huron & Lapeer all had decriminalization on the ballot,..
Lapeer was our only loss by 6 votes which should prompt a recount.
Unfortunately …We still have Bill Schutte in power dispite all of our efforts he is a crafty force of evil,in the end,his ads worked for -:> him.
We still have to change our government before marijuana users can come out of the shadows.Marijuana is s schedule 1 narcotic which means it has ” NO MEDICAL USE & IS HIGHLY ADDICTIVE” -:> Yet the “REAL KILLER” drugs have made it to sch 2 & schedule 3 respectively.
On the one hand, United States federal government officials have consistently denied that marijuana has any medical benefits. On the other, the government actually holds patents for the medical use of the plant( U.S.patent was obtained in October of 2003).
Just check out US Patent 6630507 titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism.
This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune
cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”
The US government may hold this patent, but that will not stop their officials from consistently denying the benefits of medical marijuana. An FDA spokesperson, for instance, has claimed that “smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment.”I guess she didn’t get the memo.
Since one part of the government applied for the patent of medical marijuana, and another part of the government approved that patent, it seems logical to conclude that the federal government knows that marijuana has some valid medical properties.
Now the hard part. How do we get them to admit it? Together we will see change.Keep the faith
Stop Schuette Before it’s Too Late
The video highlights several groups impacted by Bill Schuette’s radical agenda:
WOMEN – By denying women coverage for contraceptives.
VICTIMS – By passing Michigan’s outrageous drug immunity law and losing millions as Attorney General.
KIDS – By denying some of Michigan’s most vulnerable children loving homes.
FAMILIES – By raising taxes on families with health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Along with the video, Totten released this statement:
This race is about giving Michigan families an advocate who keeps them safe and never lets politics get in the way.
But it’s also about stopping a politician who is the most extreme, far-right Attorney General in the nation – a crusader who needs to be stopped now, before he does even more harm later.
In conjunction with the video,Totten also unveiled a new website, StopSchuette.com, where he details some of Schuette’s more egregious actions, all funded by Michigantaxpayers.
Schuette is Michigan’s version of former Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli, an outrageous conservative ideologue who was sent packing by Virginia voters during the last election:
Cuccinelli fought to overturn Obamacare in the courts and lost – So did Bill Schuette.
Cuccinelli signed on to an amicus brief opposing the federal government’s lawsuit challenging Arizona’s racist immigration law – So did Bill Schuette.
Cuccinelli is a raging homophobe who used his office to fight marriage equality and adoption rights for LGBT couples every step of the way – So did Bill Schuette.
Cuccinelli sided with Big Business to fight regulations to protect our environment – So did Bill Schuette.
The similarities are actually a bit creepy. Schuette is so extreme that he even thinks marriage has one purpose: to “regulate sexual relationships” so that people make babies.
Medical Marijuana Patients legal woes
He also decided to throw Medical Marijuana patients under the bus,every chance her could !
Hazel Park Marijuana Ordinance
YES 763 (62%)
NO 469 (38%)
100 percent of precincts reporting
Oak Park Marijuana Ordinance
YES 2,161 (53%)
NO 1,913 (47%)
100 percent of precincts reporting
Hazel Park,Oak Park voters approve pot proposals
HAZEL PARK, Mich. (AP) — Voters in two Detroit-area communities have approved ballot proposals legalizing marijuana for personal use.
Unofficial results posted by the Oakland County Elections Division show the measures passing Tuesday in Hazel Park and Oak Park.
The two were among at least 11 cities across Michigan and one county targeted by pro-marijuana activists seeking ballot initiatives to legalize or decriminalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
Last year, voters in Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing approved proposals that call on local police not to arrest people for marijuana possession if they are found with an ounce or less of the drug, are at least 21 years old and are on private property.
Marijuana users in those communities still face risks because state law bars marijuana use and possession unless it’s medical marijuana.
Voters said yes to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana in Hazel Park and Oak Park, according to unofficial election results.
The measure would allow the use, possession or transfer of less than 1 ounce of marijuana on private property not used by the public by a person who is at least 21 years old.
It passed 62% to 38% with all precincts reporting in Hazel Park. The unofficial win was more narrow in Oak Park with 53% to 47% passage with all precincts reporting.