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Monday, December 5, 2016

Keeping Cannabis Separate from ‘Big Pharma’ - by Rebecca Veenstra

Keeping Cannabis Separate from 
‘Big Pharma’

     Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura recently released his new book Marijuana Manifesto, arguing for complete legalization of marijuana in the U.S.  He makes his case by explaining that “controversial pharmaceutical company INsys Therapeutics contributed $500,000 to fight the Arizona ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana just this September.”

     This illustrates the major obstacle to legalization presented by ‘Big Pharma’ who have seen a decline in their huge profits in states that have passed measures allowing for marijuana use and cultivation.

     Ventura states that “in the case of marijuana you could grow it in your own back yard. Poor people would have access to it.”  That, I think is the key reason we need to organize and successfully enact a ballot measure in Michigan for full legalization to be on the ballot in 2018. 

     Michigan is one of only 15 states that does not prohibit home cultivation for registered cannabis patients. We have a sacred right that will quickly dissolve if we do not shout loudly and organize effectively.  Although 29 states allow for cannabis use, only 15 allow for cultivation. So, in the 14 states allowing possession and usage, poor people likely find affording quality cannabis to be a challenge. 

     The government and big business makes out grandly with huge revenues by selling cannabis, while the person trying to manage his/her PTSD or cancer symptoms on a budget in an eco-friendly way is risking prosecution from his/her state as well as the Federal government.

     Despite widespread enthusiasm for nationwide legalization in Canada, rumors abound about the current government drastically limiting or altogether eliminating the rights to personal cultivation. 

     Here, in the U.S., with 8 years of Obama, we have existed under less duress than any previous time in history.  However, President-elect Donald Trump, if he is successful in appointing Republican Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama to his team, things could take a very different tone. Mr. Sessions has made no secret about his disapproval of cannabis use. Yet, I assume, he is in full support of ‘Big Pharma’. 

     With 29 States having active legislation allowing for cannabis use, the possibility exists for the participating states to unify and declare nullification. Under the U.S. law, nullification is a rarely used action. Best explained it means that states “have a unilateral power to determine the unconstitutionality of federal laws. Thus, nullification involves declaration by a state that a federal law is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced within a state. Such a declaration by a state is final and binding and cannot be overruled by the courts.” 

     The long and short of it is, even though many states have enacted pro-marijuana legislation, Federal marijuana laws are still valid and enforceable within those jurisdictions. That being said, former New York governor Rudy Giuliani signed legislation measures that allow for possession and use of marijuana, but prohibit cultivation in the state of New York.

     Mr. Trump is toying with the idea of including Mr. Giuliani in his administration. So, with Mr. Sessions and Mr. Giuliani at the helm, here in Michigan our activism to preserve our cultivation rights despite current trends is imperative. 

     2018 is just two short years away. If Michigan citizens unite for this cause and chose to declare nullification by challenging the constitutionality of federal law prohibiting personal cultivation and use of marijuana (which can be interpreted as a valid attempt to prevent enforcement of Federal anti-marijuana laws in our state) in conjunction with recreational legalization measures that preserve personal cultivation rights, we may be able to prevail against the forces of ‘Big Pharma’ and big money taking over the distribution of marijuana in our state. 


     This can only happen if we organize and mobilize. Otherwise, we will watch our right to grow marijuana for ourselves slip from our grasp.  The end result of which will be making criminals out of decent hard-working people who choose the economical option of growing their own cannabis instead of buying over-taxed plants grown in factory settings by people who bear an uncanny resemblance to ‘Big Pharma’. 

Good Time Productz: Michigan's Premier Head Shop - by Joe Dauphinais



     Good Time Productz is one of the most impressive head shops in Michigan. Offering amazing deals from their giant space located in Detroit’s Roseville suburb, this store is packed with just about any kind of smoking accessory you could possibly think of, and then some. Good Time Productz’ huge selection includes clothing and apparel, tapestries, a variety of hookahs, extraction equipment, books, interior decor, novelty gifts, and way more. You could say that Good Time Productz is a Toys R Us for grown ups.     

     The first time I went to this store, I had a feeling like the space seemed familiar, although I couldn’t quite figure out why. After browsing for a little while it dawned on me. I asked one of the staff, “Did this used to be a record store?” The girl at the counter replied, “Yeah, it was called Record Time.” I hadn’t thought about Record Time in years.

    For younger readers, or for those who didn’t grow up around metro Detroit, Record Time was THE destination for music fans and audiophiles in the 80’s and 90’s. I have fond memories of killing time in my teenage years browsing the racks at Record Time. My brother’s band even played a show there once... aah the memories.

    But fast forward to the present. 2016 is nearly behind us, and everyone knows that digital technology has forced most record stores to go the way of the dodo. I guess it is no surprise for me to find out that Record Time in Roseville had to close their doors, but I am relieved to know that Good Time Productz is using this space to its full potential.

     Open for about a year now, Good Times has quickly become a must-see destination for smokers and counter-culture enthusiasts. They have such a huge selection of glass that it is at first mind boggling. They have everything from top of the line bubblers and name brand glass to budget-friendly solutions and everything in between. The glass parts department of the store by itself is bigger than some entire head shops. They even have on-site glass blowing for custom pieces and repairs. 

     Good Time Productz has clothing and apparel that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. They offer graphic tees and hats from rolling paper brands, glass makers and nutrient companies. They have apparel and wall art featuring music, movies and pop culture, psychedelic imagery and more. Definitely check out the 3-D tapestries and canvases. Those alone are worth the trip. Just ask for some 3-D glasses, I’m sure they will let you borrow a pair.

     One thing that needs to be mentioned, is the special deal that they run every single day of the week. Every afternoon at 4:20pm, for one minute only, all glass on the south wall and counters are half off. So if you have your eye on a certain piece, make sure to be there at 4:20 to take advantage of that deal.

     With the holiday shopping season in full swing, right now is the perfect time to check out Good Time Productz if you haven’t already. They are having an epic sale going on now until the end of the year, with deals on just about anything and everything in the store. You could easily cross a few names off of your shopping list here, or even pick yourself up a little something to help when it’s time to de-stress during the holidays. 


     Unlike the malls and big box stores, the atmosphere inside Good Time Productz is totally chill. With tasteful music from the overhead, and a super-helpful staff, this store is a pleasure to visit. Make sure to give yourself some time if you go, there is a lot to take in. 


Free the Weed 69 - by John Sinclair

     


      Highest greetings from Amsterdam, where it’s still sort of shocking to realize that there will again be no Cannabis Cup since High Times moved its international event to Jamaica last year instead of celebrating Thanksgiving week in Amsterdam as they’d done for more than 30 years previously.

     The problem with the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam is that the city government had decided the Cup was a big pain in the ass for the local tourism industry and in terms of coloring the world’s perception of the capital city of the Netherlands as a haven for dope-heads and what they call “drug tourists”—you know, people like ourselves.

     The American drug tourists aren’t really the problem—thousands upon thousands of people from England, all over Europe and everywhere in the world come to Amsterdam all year long to get high and buy some weed over the counter at will—but the Cannabis Cup highlighted this phenomenon like nothing else.

     Worse than that. the High Times Cannabis Cup threw it right up in their face and heralded Amsterdam as the world capital of cannabis enjoyment, starting way back in the 1980s when this was by no means a popular stance anywhere in the world. 

     Year after year, every Thanksgiving week the High Times Cannabis Cup put the international spotlight on the recreational smoking of marijuana in an environment where getting high was quietly allowed by the government in virtual defiance of the universally-accepted draconian standards of the War On Drugs.

     After taking it for 30 years or so, the City of Amsterdam finally fell in behind the federal government and joined the rollback movement that’s raged for the past several years. The highlight of this demonic development was the government’s effort to ban non-citizens of the Netherlands from the coffeeshops and, concurrently, to transform the coffeeshops—open to the public for more than 40 years now—into private smoking clubs where each Dutch smoker would be forced to register with the authorities as a member of one particular club.

     While this solution was adapted by a series of small towns and cities on the eastern border of the country and in some other distant areas, the major cities, led by Amsterdam, rejected the federal government’s attempt to strangle their cash cow and compromised by agreeing to enforce all marijuana regulations presently on the books, like the restriction against the operation of coffeeshops within 250 meters of a school building.

     The school building clause has led to the closing of dozens of coffeeshops in the city center. Other city government plans involving the social restructuring of the Red Light District have led to the shuttering of dozens more, including every weed outlet on the popular Warmoestraat corridor.

     The number of coffeeshops in Amsterdam itself has shrunk from about 750 some 20 years ago to something like 200 now. The shops closed by government edict are simply shut down without recompense or granting of  a license to operate somewhere else—they’re simply out of business. When their current license comes up for renewal, it is not renewed.

     The good part is that the coffeeshops that continue to exist are entirely unchanged—except for the additional crowds of people denied access to their former haunts and the waves of tourists who find less and less choices of places to smoke and cop in the Centrum. Ironically, the shutting of so many outlets has turned the ones that remain into virtual goldmines of cannabis profits.

     I’ve reported on several of these issues in past columns, but it’s important to reiterate that in Holland—unlike, say, Colorado or Oregon today—marijuana has been accepted only at the end-retail level, that is, it’s okay to sell five grams of weed or hash over the counter to a consumer in a coffeeshop.

     But it has remained illegal to grow, cultivate, harvest, transport, wholesale or otherwise provide the marijuana to the coffeeshops. This quaint demonstration of official hypocrisy is what they call maintaining a “gray area” with regard to legalization

     DutchNews.nl reported recently that the Dutch police “dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations last year, or nearly 16 a day {but] estimate this is only one fifth of the total.” Additionally, “the government is making a major effort to stamp out production and last year made it a criminal offence for companies to supply people with lamps, fertilizer and other equipment if they suspect it is being used to grow marijuana.” Sound familiar?

     Now comes the membership of the “ruling right-wing party,” VVD, which recently voted to end the “strange situation” where the sale of small quantities of marijuana in licensed coffee shops is accepted but production is not. The party is now committed to “clever regulation” of cultivation and sales and will add this call to the party’s manifesto for the 2017 general election, which DutchNews.nl concludes will “clear the way for a shift in the policy of the next government.” 

     Further, “Dozens of local councils in the Netherlands have endorsed a manifesto calling for the cultivation of cannabis to be legalized and regulated, and 25 [cities] have applied to the minister of justice for permission to experiment with legal growth and supply.”

     Okay. This is the first positive development in the Netherlands for quite some time, and while it may be too late for the Cannabis Cup as we knew it, these developments bode well for the future in this place that has been the future since the early 1970s. Maybe it’s taken the progress made by voters in half the states in the U.S. in terms of gradually removing marijuana from the wrong-headed and heavy-handed approach of the federal authorities, but it’s reassuring to see the Dutch people moving in an intelligent direction once again.


     I wish I could say the same for the American voting public as a whole, but their wholesale swallowing of the tissue of horseshit that was the Trump campaign is an extremely bitter pill to have to ingest. Not only is this billionaire reality television star and unscrupulous real estate developer and casino entrepreneur a major liar, blowhard, bigot and bully, but his campaign was built on a call for the imprisonment of his opponent—“Crooked Hillary”—that he has already admitted he has no intention of pursing as president. 

     Let’s hope that the rest of his bullshit platform will be equally ignored, but it’s hard to see the promise in that point of view when his appointments to administrative posts are so vicious and wrong. Get ready for an attorney general who has said that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was okay until he found out they were smoking marijuana.

     In more sad news closer to home, the City of Detroit has managed to close down 102 of the 273 medical dispensaries operating in the city as of last March. “Eighty-seven (of the 273) are out of business,” Detroit Corporate Counsel Melvin “Butch” Hollowell crowed. “Seven of those closed voluntarily, 80 we’ve closed,” and 14 more dispensaries in the city have received closure notices, with 64 additional dispensaries “in the pipeline.”

     Outside of the heavily-moneyed initiative to move a new generation of white people into the downtown area and the former Cass Corridor, the opening of 273 compassion centers within the city of Detroit has been the most positive sign of change in the entire ruins of Detroit, and one of the only signs of change and positive growth outside of Grand Boulevard on the north, the Lodge freeway on the west and I-75 on the east.

     What kind of morons are running the city of Detroit? Where do they get these people? If I may paraphrase the president-elect, Melvin “Butch” Hollowell should be in prison for conducting this idiotic campaign. Lock him up! 

Free The Weed! 

—Amsterdam
November 24, 2016


© 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

V.G.I.P. Update for December 2016 - by Ben Horner


Changing Marijuana Driving and Growing Laws

     Republican house representative Peter Lucido, from Macomb County is advancing his bill 5024 which will create a commission to create a “scientific” system for controlling driving under the influence of marijuana. Political insiders believe that a per se nano-gram limit, similar to blood alcohol content tests, will be the inevitable conclusion of this pending legislation.  

     The bill passed the house earlier this year and is currently moving through the Senate Judiciary Committee. When the bill is initiated into law the Governor will appoint 5 commissioners to work with the Michigan State Police to establish a limit for THC. The commission will be made of one physician, one forensic toxicologist, two research professors and one medical marijuana patient. 

    Senator Jones still chairs the judicial committee and has a history of spearheading bills through the infamous lame session. Like in years past, these post election December lame duck sessions are prime for Lansing to water down the existing Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. 

It came to many as a surprise that the new dispensary laws passed prior to lame duck sessions, which adds to the concern of over reaching in these new laws. Picks for the Michigan Medical Marihuana Commission are rumored to be announced before the end of the year. This commission will establish rules and regulations to licenses dispensaries, commercial grows, processing centers and the state contracted for the seed to sale tracking system and distribution delivery company. 

     As these changes are on the horizon, cities like Lansing seek an end to at-home growers who soon wont be able to transfer to dispensaries. City Mayor Virg Bernero issued a proposal to allow houses that use more then 5,000 kilowatts of power to be inspected, with warrant power, and fined.  Concerned citizens plan to mount an argument on behalf of patients and caregivers that are resisting the changes.

     In Detroit, the new licensing and zoning ordinances have seen a change to the landscape of dispensaries. Area 51, a dispensary and commercial cultivation facility was raided on September 26th. Hundreds of plants were destroyed. Owners of Area 51 claim to have received one of the first permits issued by Detroit, leading some to question the legitimacy of the new ordinances for dispensaries in the city.

     Dispensary raids were also reported in Grand Rapids, as well as Plainfield Township and Comstock, just outside of the Grand Rapids city limits. Three locations, Michigan Relief Hub, The Provisioning Center, and Natures Medicine were investigated by Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (KANET) and the Metropolitan Enforcement Team (MET). In November, they began a joint investigation into dispensaries within Kent County. Both narcotic teams received multiple “Silent Observer” tips from concerned citizens about the illegal operations. Investigators conducted several undercover operations and found all three dispensaries were selling marijuana which is in violation of The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.  This came as a surprise following the passing of the current dispensary bills, legalizing dispensaries and giving the state untillate 2017 or early 2018 to issue state licenses. 

Upcoming in Michigan, meetings for the Marijuana Policy Project to explore legalization in 2018:

Thursday, December 15 at 6:30PM – 8:30PM
Grand Rapids Community College
Wisner Bottrall-Applied Technology Center, Room 124
143 Bostwick Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503

Friday, December 16 at 6:30PM – 8:30PM
OM of Medicine
112 S Main St. Suite B, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

Saturday, December 17 at 2PM – 4PM
University of Michigan Detroit Center
Ann Arbor Conference Room
3663 Woodward Ave., Ste. 150, Detroit, Michigan 48201


While the events won’t be ticketed, if you are on Facebook, it’d be great if you could RSVP the MPP so they can have a rough head count. Please also spread the word.

World News for December 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Cannabis Inhaler
Israel: Recently Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Signed a cooperation and marketing agreement with Syqe Medical, an Israeli company, to market the first ever inhaler for cannabis. Syqe will be producing the inhaler and cartridges while Teva will be the exclusive distributor in Israel. According to Globes Israel’s Business Arena there are nearly 26,000 medical patients in the country. They also claim the average patient spend around $1,000 a year on the medication. The individual cartridges are biodegradable and will allow patients to intake the optimal marijuana dosage for their ailment. The inhaler is already being used at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, which is the first hospital to use cannabis regularly as a treatment. 


Large Bust Down Under
Australia: Four men and two women have been arrested following a massive raid that took place throughout Sydney last month. Police raided 13 houses discovering various grow sites with sophisticated hydroponics setups. Marijuana, with a street value near $2.5 million, was seized and transported to a warehouse. All six arrested were refused bail and will be appearing before the Bankstown Local Court in early December for various drug-related and criminal charges. 



Easier Access Demanded
Zurich: The Green Party has launched a new bill in the parliament for a new medical marijuana system. The Party claims the current system, which requires potential patients to get authorization from the Swiss Federal Health Office, is ‘so complicated and overly bureaucratic that many people look to obtain the drug illegally’. The new legislature would allow those suffering from illnesses whose symptoms are lightened by marijuana use to be granted an identity card giving them the right to use their medication. Authorities must receive approval from the federal health office before the new plan can be put into place. The bill will also create a ‘pilot project that will act as research into the effects of the regulated sale of cannabis on the consumption and purchasing behavior of participants’.



Pot for Pets
Canada: Pet owners in Toronto looking for alternative treatments for their ailing, furry companions need to look no further than Pacifico medical marijuana dispensary. The business sells treats and tinctures containing cannabidiol (CBD) made specifically for animals. Manager of the store, Ken Abell, told CBC News the dog treats popularity cause them to fly off the shelves. The treats are guaranteed not to get the pet high as it does not contain THC.  “We sell straight CBD tinctures with absolutely zero THC. There are no psychotropic effects, only the medicinal benefits of CBD,” Abell said. Though CBD is legal in Canada, though only for medial patients, Picfico, and similar business, are running illegally as the current medical marijuana laws in Canada require the patient receive their medication through mail from a licensed distributor. 



Cannabis Oil Legalized
Buenos Aires: The Lower House has finally approved a law which will allow patients prescribed marijuana to use cannabis oil as a treatment. There were 221 votes in favor of the bill with only one against. The bill puts the responsibility of approving the importation of the oil on the National Administration of Medicine, Food, and Technology. It also creates a regulatory framework for research of the medication. The hospitals will begin carrying the product for treatment of epileptic seizures. 



Ireland in Favor of Medicating
Ireland: A new survey shows that nearly 92% of the Irish would approve of marijuana being legalized for medical purposes. This survey only had 1,000 randomly picked respondents who were interviewed via telephone. Women showed higher favorability at 93% while 90% of men approved of doctor recommended marijuana. A bill supporting medical cannabis will be part of a debate in Dail this week. 



Not So Lucky Star
London: Famous musician Madonna has been in the news lately, not for her music but for the behavior of her son. The son of Madonna and Guy Ritchie, Rocco Ritchie, was found in possession of marijuana last month. Officers received a tip from neighbors who were concerned about the 16 year olds ‘drug habit’. There are reports that Camden Borough’s Youth Offending Team have been working with the teen, attempting to rehabilitate him and help him understand the error of his ways. Madonna released a statement to the Associated Press, “I love my son very much. I will do whatever I can to give him the support that he needs, and I ask that you respect our privacy at this time.” 

National News for December 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

    

MARIJUANA WON THE ELECTION!

The election last month brought out different views among the people. While voters were being torn apart over the presidential choices, others were coming together to bring recreational or medical marijuana to their state. California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts legalized recreational use, each with their own provisions, while Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Montana voted to allow medical marijuana. While they all have some type of legalization law on the books, all of their proposals have different rules and regulations. These four states join Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Washington State, and the District of Columbia in allowing adults to make their own decisions when it comes to using marijuana recreationally. Many believe these victories point to the continually changing views on marijuana and marijuana use.

California: Proposition 64 passed with 56% of the vote according to the DailyDot. This proposition will legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. Possession of up to 28.5 grams of flower and 8 grams of concentrates are now legal in the state. Taxes will be levied on cultivation and retail. The revenue received will be spent on drug research, treatment, and enforcement, as well as health and safety grants. The state and local governments will issue separate business licenses, which are both required to operate a legal facility, but have until January 1st, 2018 to begin handing out licenses and allowing retail sales. All aspects of the businesses will be regulated by the Bureau of Marijuana Control.

Nevada: Question 2 on the Nevada ballot was passed by 54% of voters. Adults 21 and older are permitted to carry and consume up to an eighth or less of recreational marijuana. A 15 percent tax will be imposed on marijuana sales to enforce the new laws with surplus given to schools. Marijuana businesses would be authorized by the Nevada Department of Taxation, and the number of retail stores in each county would be determined by the population. Residents are not allowed to grow their own marijuana unless they live outside a 25-mile radius of a marijuana retail store. 

Massachusetts: The 4th question on the November ballot for Massachusetts was passed by a
54% vote. The approval has legalized the use, cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana for individuals 21 or older. Adults are able to have one ounce in their possession in public, and 10 ounces in their home. Marijuana concentrates and edibles are also permitted with the new law. The government will control licensing and regulation as well as imposing a 3.75% excise tax on marijuana and marijuana products which will go to regulations and the state’s general fund.



Maine: There were 378,288 voters in Maine who decided to legalize recreational marijuana. Question 1 on the state’s ballot allows adults over the age of 21 to possess, grow, and use marijuana. Adults may have up to 2.5 ounces in their possession with 6 flowering and 12 non-flowering plants in their home. It creates a tightly regulated system of licensed stores, cultivation areas, and testing facilities. There are now rules dictating production, testing, transport, and sales of cultivated plants. Each town and city will have the right to ban marijuana businesses from their area. A 10 percent tax on all non-medical marijuana sales will be used to implement and enforce the regulations. All unused funds will go to the legislature and used “to benefit the citizens of Maine”.

Adding to the growing list of states that allow medical marijuana use are Arkansas, Montana, Florida, and North Dakota:

Arkansas: After the Arkansas Supreme Court disqualified Issue 7 from appearing on the ballot, residents of the state approved the only marijuana issue left on the ballot. Issue 6 was approved by 53% of voters. The measure allows patients with specific medical conditions to buy marijuana from dispensaries. It establishes a system for growing, transporting, and distributing the medication. The Department of Health will create rules related to medical access of marijuana, while the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission will establish rules concerning growing and selling the marijuana. A Medical Marijuana Commission will be created and will be in charge of administering and regulating the licensing of cultivation and dispensing centers. State and local taxes that are applied to the sale of medical marijuana will be used to enforce the created law as well as being dispersed to state workforce and education programs.

Montana: Proposal I-182 succeeded in replacing the state’s 2011 medical marijuana law last month when 58% of voters approved the initiative. The newly passed law requires providers to obtain licenses and notes that they will be receiving unannounced yearly inspections of their crops. Providers will be allowed to care for more than three patients. Product testing to ensure safe, consistent dosages is now required. Veterans and those suffering from PTSD are finally able to be treated with the medication. Licensing fees will be applied to administer the program.

North Dakota: The Compassionate Care Act, measure 5 on the ballot, was passed by a 64% vote. The state will now allow patients suffering from cancer, HIV, Hepatitis C, AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, or any other debilitating illness similar to those mentioned to receive their medical marijuana card. The measure requires the Department of Health to administer registry identification cards to qualifying patients, as well as licensing nonprofit compassion centers. The compassion centers will be able to cultivate a limited number of plants to distribute to registered patients. If a patient lives more than 40 miles from a center, they are permitted to grow up to eight plants in a locked area, so long as it is not within 1000 feet of a public school. Patients and caregivers are permitted to possess up to three ounces of marijuana during a 14-day period.

Florida: Amendment 2 on Florida’s ballot was passed by 71% of the state voters. The vote has created medical marijuana legalization in the state. The Health Department will be required to regulate the medial marijuana treatment centers. The treatment centers are now responsible for cultivating and dispensing cannabis to patients that have qualified ailments. Individuals with debilitating illnesses such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV, glaucoma, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, MS, or any other ailment of the same class or comparable to those mentioned will qualify for the card.



Arizona: Proposition 205 failed in the 2016 November election. The bill was defeated with 52% of voters turning it down, and 48% in support. Those who decided to vote to reject the prop had reasons ranging from fear of stoned drivers to disliking the legalized atmosphere of Colorado. Some felt the measure was poorly written and had contradictory language in regard to impaired driving. The law would have made driving a car, boat, or other vehicle under the influence illegal but also stated “the state could not punish someone ‘for an action taken while under the influence of marijuana … solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana in the person’s body or in the urine, blood, saliva, hair or other tissue or fluid of the person’s body’.” Prop 205 would have allowed adults 21 and older the ability to possess, buy, and grow up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use. It also would have set up a system of retail shops, which would’ve been monitored and licensed by the Department of Marijuana Licenses and Control. The 15 percent tax imposed on the sale of marijuana was intended to be deposited in a Marijuana Fund and to be distributed to the Department of Revenue, localities where marijuana businesses exist, and the Arizona Department of Health. Those behind the legalization effort are regrouping and are thinking positive as the gap between those opposed to or accepting marijuana use is closing.




Michigan News for December 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Evidence Destroyed
Livingston County: Judge Carol Sue Reader was forced to dismiss felony charges against Darryl Scott Berry and Jeffery Allen Michael after an officer destroyed more than 500 marijuana plants. Detroit Free Press claims the judge was surprised ‘a law enforcement veteran was unaware he had to receive a judge’s order to destroy the 556 plants’. The judge dismissed the manufacturing counts against the men, though Berry will still face charges of delivering marijuana to an undercover officer, so long as the evidence in that case was not destroyed with the rest. Michael must also appear in front of the judge for allegedly having marijuana and felony firearms in his home. The officer that destroyed the plants, Lt. James Wolf, claimed the plants were becoming a health hazard due to their rotting and molding. Wolf further stated that when his supervisor told him, “he could not tell me to destroy evidence” he made the decision himself to remove the health hazard, unaware a judge’s signature is required for destruction. The plants were destroyed three days after being seized. 


Overzealous Doctor Overprescribes

Lansing: As a result of the State of Michigan failing to properly audit physician certifications, one doctor was recently found to have certified nearly 14% of the total applications from last year. The doctor, whose name has been withheld by the Detroit Free Press, certified 11,810 patients which would amount to seeing an average of 45 patients a day in a 261-day work year. The auditors also found that 22 other physicians certified 46,854 patients, 56% of the total 81,090 patients that applied. The high numbers have led the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who receive nearly 450 applications a day, to implement a random audit of physician certifications as of September 28th.  


Former Detroit News Anchor Joins the Fight

Detroit: In late October, Fox 2 Detroit anchorwoman Anqunette Jamison abruptly left her position at the station, telling viewers she would be working with the marijuana legalization effort in Michigan. A move like this in the news world would have been unthinkable in the past, showing how much the attitudes toward marijuana have changed in recent years. Jamison, also informed viewers of her own marijuana use, explaining she medicates to treat her symptoms of multiple sclerosis. She told the Detroit Free Press, “The response has been wonderful. I was expecting more of a backlash about going public with my marijuana usage.” Though she is certified to use the medication, she would like to have legalization “so people don’t keep getting harassed by police.” Jamison will be speaking at the Capital Conference on Dec. 4th at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing. The event is aimed at helping those interested in being involved in the medical marijuana market. Matt Able, head of Michigan’s NORML chapter, feels she will add a unique voice to the movement, stating, “She’s a highly credible example of a person who gets real help from medical marijuana.”


Passing Up Pot Money
Lansing: Law enforcement in 83 Michigan counties are eligible for apply for a chunk of $3
million set aside for medical marijuana enforcement. However, only 18 counties applied for some of that cash in 2016. Sgt. James Every, from Ingham County, and Undersheriff Michelle Young, Kent County, claim their departments were apparently eligible for the money but did not know it was available to their offices. Young told the Detroit Free Press, “We could absolutely use it for compliance and enforcement.” The amount available to each county depends on the number of new cards or renewals for that area. Wayne and Oakland counties combined spent 67% of the $823,000 given to 17 counties. Oakland spent most of their $282,661 on training and overtime for investigations. They also bought a $31,000 van, a $30,000 pickup, and a $6,800 trailer. The sheriff claims the truck and trailer were needed when officers stumble across a large grow operation and need to haul away the plants. Many believe the grants were not promoted enough, but departments will need to file by January 1st to be considered for the grant next year.


Marijuana Murder 

Detroit: Police are asking for any information about a homicide that occurred on Detroit’s west side Thanksgiving evening. A man wearing latex gloves and a mask, which covered half of his face, was found dead in the parking lot of a medical marijuana dispensary. The man was pronounced dead at the scene from a gunshot wound. Officers have said the circumstances of the crime are not clear and there are no suspects at this time. They are urging anyone with information to come forward, tips can be anonymous and may lead to a cash reward. This homicide comes less than a week after another, which occurred only 2.4 miles from the dispensary parking lot. In that case, a man was fatally shot after answering his front door. His wife was then chased up the stairs and out the window before they stole multiple marijuana plants.


Suing Spectrum Health
Grand Rapids: Lisa Richlich, a medical marijuana patient and former Gentex employee, was pushed to accepting a severance package after her doctor informed the employer of her marijuana use. Richlich is suing Spectrum Health, claiming their doctor invaded the client’s privacy when he sent medical information to her employer. Lawyers for Spectrum are asking the federal judge to dismiss the case as the doctor sent the information, progress notes, to protect his patient when she took time off work in 2015 for neck surgery. After receiving the information, Gentex reportedly gave Richlich the choice between drug counseling or a severance package. Though she tested negative for the drug, and claims she rarely uses it for her chronic pain, the company pressured her to leave. Richlich’s lawyer alleges the doctor was responsible for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Spectrum Health has told MLive, “Patient privacy and confidentiality is of paramount importance to Spectrum Health. However it is not our practice to comment on active litigation cases.”