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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

V.G.I.P. Update - October 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

      The November election is approaching quickly, and a big part of the voting process is being informed so this month we would like to educate our readers on where our presidential choices stand on marijuana. It seems every candidate has changed their opinion on the topic over the years but we will be focusing on their current comments regarding cannabis. The current options for president are frontrunners Hillary Clinton (Democratic choice) and Donald Trump (Republican choice), with Jill Stein (Green Party) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian) as our third party choices.

         Hillary Clinton, by definition of being Democratic, is more open minded to the idea of marijuana though has not been completely clear on her stance. She believes that states should create their own policies regarding marijuana, but has commented she supports laws in relation to medical marijuana and feels incarceration is too harsh a punishment for marijuana use. Clinton does support changing the schedule status of the plant to schedule II instead of remaining classified in the same category as heroin. She has reportedly stated, “I think that states are the laboratories of democracy, and four states have already taken action to legalize, and it will be important that other states and the federal government take account of how that’s being done, what we learn from what they’re doing. I think that the states moving forward is appropriate and I think the federal government has to move to make this more available for research that they can then distribute to interested people across our country. I do think on the federal level we need to remove marijuana from the Schedule I of drugs, move it to Schedule II, which will permit it to be the basis for medical research because it’s important that we learn as much as possible. And since it was a Schedule I drug we haven’t done that research. A lot of experts in the field are telling me we’ve got to learn a lot more.” WBZ NewsRadio,  January 25, 2016

     Libertarian Gary Johnson is a former Governor of New Mexico. Johnson is a complete advocate for legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. The candidate was previously the CEO of a medical marijuana business and has openly discussed his own marijuana use. He endorsed state ballot initiatives to legalize recreational adult use in Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington. Johnson would like to see cannabis removed from the federal drug schedule as well as allowing states to legalize and regulate it without federal interference. Gary has posted his thoughts to his Presidential Campaign Website saying, “Over time, the politicians have ‘criminalized’ far too many aspects of people’s personal lives. The failed War on Drugs is, of course, the greatest example. Well over 100 million Americans have, at one time or another, used marijuana. Yet, today, simple possession and use of marijuana remains a crime — despite the fact that a majority of Americans now favor its legalization…Imagine [the Founding Fathers’] shock to learn that the government has decided it is appropriate to tell adults what they can put in their bodies — and even put them in jail for using marijuana, while allowing those same adults to consume alcohol and encouraging the medical profession to pump out addictive, deadly painkillers at will.”

     The Green Party Nominee Jill Stein is a medical doctor who would also like to legalize and regulate both medical and recreational marijuana. She wants the federal government to stop harassing and interfering with medical marijuana clinics and related businesses. While she has yet to state if she would remove marijuana from the schedule altogether she has commented that she would remove it from its current status and place it in a more reasonable category. According to her Campaign Website, “It’s time to take marijuana off the black market, end crime and violence related to marijuana trafficking, stop wasting money and ruining lives by prosecuting victimless crimes, reduce prison populations, increase tax revenue, allow sick people their medicine, let farmers grow marijuana and hemp, and give responsible adults their freedom by legalizing it!”

    Donald Trump is by far the most talked about candidate for his outspoken views, but has been less outspoken about his marijuana views. When he was interviewed by the Miami Herald in 1990, Trump was in favor of legalizing all drugs to win the war on drugs by taking profits away from cartels. Now that he is the Republican candidate, however, those views have actually been reigned in and he feels that medical marijuana is the way to go.  He said he believes in states choosing to set their own marijuana policies relating to recreational use. According to the Washington Post Trump comments on marijuana were, “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state. … Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — 
right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it 
up to the states.”

      Each Presidential Candidate understands that marijuana is a hot topic in the country right now but only two are really willing to get involved at the federal level with the others preferring to stay away and leave the decision making to the states. This is just one topic of many that should be considered before choosing which candidate deserves the vote. To learn more about each candidate and where they stand on important topics please visit:

Hillary Clinton:

Jill Stein:

Gary Johnson:

Donald Trump:

World News for October 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Tainted Weed
Vancouver: Officials in Vancouver are butting heads over tainted marijuana products that were allowed to be sold on dispensary shelves. Kerry Jang, a member of the Vancouver City Council, is blaming the federal Health Minister, Jane Philpott, for failing to warn residents or take action when lab results crossed her desk stating that there were dangerous toxins, pesticides and fungicides in some of the marijuana tested. Jang said the lack of action by the minister was “irresponsible”. The Health Minister, however, has said she was never aware of a lab report and wasn’t sure it had ever crossed her desk. 

     Philpott has gone on to say, “We have made it very clear that Canadians should not purchase products from any illegal salespeople no matter where they are found, whether in dispensaries or street corners. These dispensaries are illegal. There are regimes in place for access to medical marijuana, those products are safe.” The lab results, that may or may not have “crossed” the minister’s desk, show 13 of 22 samples tested from about a dozen different dispensaries contained high levels of banned chemicals not intended for human consumption. The minister went as far as to ask The Globe to send the documents to Health Canada even though it had already been sent to her chief of staff. The chief medical health officer for the Vancouver Coastal Health authority, Patricia Daly, agrees with the minister stating the dispensaries are illegal and “therefore the market is buyer beware.”

Lots of 'ChambaĆ­'
Malawi: Police in Malawi have arrested 36 year old John Namowa for being in possession of Chamba, the local term for marijuana. Officers were doing a sweeping exercise when they received an anonymous tip that Namowa was keeping Chamba in his home. A search of his home shortly after revealed 17 plastic bags full of the illegal substance. Each bag weighed about 5kgs, totaling around 85kgs. The recovered plant material will be sent to Bvumbwe Research Station to determine if it truly is marijuana. Namowa is being charged with possession which is in violation of the country’s Dangerous Drugs Act.

Baby Hospitalized Due to Cannabis Exposure
Italy: Police in Bologna are looking for evidence to charge the parents of a child with neglect after she was brought to the hospital with evidence of cannabis in her body. The 10 month old girl was brought to the hospital in serious condition and in a catatonic state. While her condition has improved, her parents, both 35 from the Apennine Mountains, have been unable to give authorities any insight as to how she may have come in contact with the illicit substance. The father has a previous drug record and law enforcement has launched an investigation.

100 Kg. in the Garbage
Australia: The ACT Magistrates Court has denied bail to a man accused of trying to dump 100 kilograms of plant matter at a Canberra Recycling Centre. Dac Ho is being charged with possession, trafficking, cultivating marijuana, and trying to destroy evidence after a public tip reported seeing the man drop off 20 large bags of the material. While officers were investigating the bags at the center, Ho returned with a second load of bags to dispose of. Ho is claiming he received a call from a man in Sydney asking to rent two vans, but did not tell him what they were to be used for, only to leave the vans overnight and come back the next day to empty them at the recycling center. He claims he never knew the bags contained the plants. His lawyer claims Ho is in the garbage collection business and tends to not look in the bags he is collecting. The magistrate agreed with prosecution stating, “The fact is the defendant was caught red-handed with 100 kilograms of cannabis.” Ho is expected back in court this November. 

UWI to Study Extracts
Jamaica: CITIVA, a major marijuana cultivator, is working with the University of West Indies in a new “ground-breaking” study to observe the effect of cannabis extract on children with epilepsy. The high CBD strain was extracted into an oil by Epican, a Jamaican-owned and operated company. Epican is partnering with the Scientific Research Council for large scale CO2 extraction of phytocannabinoids and terpenes for medicinal reasons. These companies are working toward “the advancement of science, research, development, and marketing of effective cannabis-based products” for different medical conditions. The first batch of marijuana grown and used in the extraction process will be used for the study in treatments of type II diabetes and child epilepsy.

Compassion in Patagonia
Argentina: Chubut became the first province to allow cannabis oil to be used in the public health system. This ensures that hospitals will now carry the drug for treatment of epilepsy caused by Dravet Syndrome as well as any other ailments the health minister determines appropriate. The medication will also be covered by health insurance provided to public employees.

National News for October 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Could Maine be the Fifth State for Full Legalization?
Maine: A proposal that will show up on the November 8th ballot in Maine would allow the possession and use of marijuana by adults 21 and older. It would also allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing and sale of marijuana to be subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance. Maine already decriminalized possession in 2009, so approval of this bill would set up more of a regulation framework. The state will license businesses to sell the product but allow municipalities to decide whether a cannabis business will be allowed in their area. Adults would not be allowed to use the drug in public unless it is used in a licensed social club. They would also be permitted to grow their own plants, however anything sold in stores will be required to be tested to ensure purity and safety. There will be a 10 percent sales tax on all marijuana and marijuana related sales. Voters will get to decide if Maine will be the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana on November 8th.

Marijuana Businesses in North Pole?
Alaska: Alaskan voters in North Pole will be voting on whether or not to allow dispensaries in their town. Proposition 7 would prohibit all marijuana businesses in the area. Councilwoman Elizabeth Holm sponsored the petition hoping to make North Pole “a refuge for people who don’t approve of pot.” She believes the city should be a safe haven for people who do not want to be around that type of lifestyle. The state law approved in 2014 allows municipalities to decide whether they want commercial marijuana in their area. The same idea was discussed in 2015 by The North Pole City Council but was dropped after they decided to allow and tax the businesses. 

Beach Brick
Florida: A passerby stumbled across a package on a beach in St. Lucie near the Nuclear Plant late last month. The 10-in square, 6-in thick package was full of marijuana. According to the Sheriff’s office spokesperson the marijuana looked old and appeared as though it had been placed where it was found as it was not near the water line. Officers checked the rest of the beach and were unable to find any other bundles near the water. The investigation into where the illegal substance came from is ongoing.

Good Crop, Bad Cops
Arizona: One officer has been demoted and three more have resigned after a man accused the three resigning officers of forcing him to eat marijuana to avoid going to jail. Chief Joseph Yahner explained Jeff Farrior was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant for knowing about the conduct of officers Richard Pina, Jason McFadden, and Michael Carnicle and not taking appropriate action. Yahner told WKRN, “Their actions are appalling and unacceptable. This conduct is against everything that we stand for.” Two of the officers that resigned are being investigated by the department and criminally, while the third is only involved in the department inquiry as he is considered a witness. 

     The officer’s had turned off their video cameras while stopping a 19 year old man in a routine stop. One officer asked the man, “Do you want to go home or do you want to go to jail?” The 19 year old, Edgar Castro, told WKRN, “The officer was like either you eat the marijuana or go to jail tonight. I asked him ‘Do I really have to do this, do I really have to do this’ a couple of times.” Castro did not need medical attention but began feeling sick immediately after ingesting the herb. Yahner claims he was planning to fire the officers after hearing of the incident, but that they chose to resign before he had the chance. All three that resigned were new to the department and were probationary employees.

Nashville Decriminalizes
Tennessee: The Metro Council in Nashville approved the first measure allowing lesser penalties for those found in possession of small amounts of marijuana. While supporters are thrilled at this historic step, there are some judges in the city that worry putting possession cases in civil court instead of criminal court could give the offenders fewer options to erase those charges from the public record. The new legislation gives city officers the option to reduce the penalty for a half-ounce to 10 hours of community service or a $50 fine. Aside from the fact that most states have some type of new law on the books regarding marijuana, Councilman Dave Rosenberg, lead sponsor of the bill, points out, “All this bill does is give police the option of not treating someone with a little pot like a hardened criminal. Because when you start treating good members of our society like criminals, they begin acting like criminals. As much as I’d like to think we’re cutting edge on this one, we’re not. We’re catching up.” The proposal must now be signed by Mayor Megan Barry to become law. Barry has told the Tennessean she plans to sign the bill and that it is a positive step forward. Though she does stress that this bill is not a license to sell, possess or use marijuana. 

How Should Medical be Legalized?
Arkansas: Two ideas for medical marijuana and how it should be treated and regulated if legalized in the state are splitting marijuana supporters nearly down the middle. A survey conducted by Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College found 49% of voters in favor of the proposed Medical Marijuana Amendment with 43% against. It also found 36% of people in favor of the Medical Cannabis Act with 53% opposed. The Medical Marijuana Amendment would amend the Arkansas constitution to legalize doctor-certified medical marijuana while limiting the number of dispensaries to 40 total and giving the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division inspection authority over those dispensaries. The Medical Cannabis Act would also legalize physician-certified medical marijuana and limit the number of dispensaries allowed in the state but would allow “hardship certificates” to be given to those who live more than 20 miles from a dispensary so they may grow up to 10 plants for their own medication. It is unclear how the election will turn out as many support both proposals and some oppose both, but the survey did find that women are more likely to support the amendment and men are slightly more supportive of the initiative. 

Michigan News for October 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Medical Marijuana Reformed
LANSING: The long confusing, unclear Michigan Medical Marijuana Act has taken its first steps to reformation. The Senate approved a package of bills last month that would regulate and tax dispensaries while dealing with transportation and a tracking database. The bills will also set new rules for where and how dispensaries can be opened. Many people involved in the vote believe this set of bills will allow patients and caregivers more security when transferring or buying their medication. The vague laws have confused both patients and law enforcement officers, causing many patients to get in trouble due to the ambiguous wording in the original bills. If passed by the Governor, the new bills would put a new 3% tax on the “gross retail income” of every provision center, as well as requiring all dispensaries, growers, and transporters to apply for an annually renewed state license to stay in business. Dispensaries will have to get written approval from the area before being able to open their stores, while limiting the number of dispensaries allowed in certain areas. Edibles would be allowed in the new revisions but will have a THC limit. The package of bills will be heading to the Governor, who is expected to sign them.

Search for Body Leads to Marijuana Bust
EAST LANSING: Police and fire officials had nearly two dozen personnel searching an area off I-496 near I-96 for a body related to an anonymous tip earlier in the day. The tip stated that someone thought they had seen a white male carrying a body into the wooded area. The body has not been found, but several small marijuana fields were discovered. There were 5 gallon water jugs scattered around the nearly 4ft tall, neatly trimmed plants. There were only about a dozen or so plants in this area but officials expect there are more nearby and are waiting on a helicopter and drug dogs to further investigate the surrounding land. 

New Legalization Drive Planned for 2018
STATEWIDE: After losing their fight in court, though still trying to overturn their loss, MI Legalize has begun planning their next attempt to get marijuana legalization on the ballot. MLive reports that Jeffery Hank, Chairman of the group, has stated, “The MI Legalize movement remains united and focused on planning over the next few months.” Adding that the board is discussing reorganizations and an advisory committee. The organization has taken their arguments to the federal court, though it is long past the deadline to make the ballot in November. “We know we have a popular plan and will do whatever we can to ensure Michigan voters have a chance to be heard,” Hank said. 

Praise Cheeba
LANSING: The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason has come to Michigan. The church is mostly comprised of atheists and agnostics and gives thanks to the cannabis plant for the healing effects it produces. The ordained minister of the church, Jeremy Hall, is hopeful the members of the church will change the stigma surrounding the plant by doing service projects around Lansing.

If You Call 911, Police Will Show Up
BIG RAPIDS: Police arrested 4 men in Big Rapids after receiving a 911 call from an intoxicated woman who neglected to hang up the phone after dialing. While dispatchers were listening they heard a man discuss a gun in the apartment. Officers arrived at the apartment connected to the phone number and convinced the owner to let them in and search the premises. They found the fire arm, 2.5 pounds of marijuana, 7 grams of cocaine, various pills and nearly $45,000 in cash. Two men arrested are being charged with possession with intent to distribute while the other two were arrested for parole and probation violations.

Know Your Grow, Save Your Home
NILES TOWNSHIP: Luther Dale Borders was injured when a fire broke out in his home that police believe was caused by equipment he was using in his medical marijuana grow operation. Nearly 1/3 of the home was destroyed, and fire investigators believe there is $60,000-$80,000 worth of damage. While putting out the fire, officers noticed marijuana manufacturing equipment and obtained a search warrant. Narcotics officers seized cured marijuana, plants, and evidence of manufacturing. After receiving medical help for minor injuries, Boarders was taken to Berrien County Jail for probation violation and pending drug charges. There were two minor children in the home when the fire began, they have been taken into the custody of child protective services. 

The 13th MMM Conference - by Ericca Muhammad

The 13th Michigan Medical Marijuana Conference was surely an event to remember. Patients, Caregivers, and members of the Cannabis industry from throughout the State of Michigan came together for an event that was both informative and inspirational. 

On Day One, attendees were able to attend free grow classes that took place on the main stage. Big shoutout to Captain Kirk Reid, who also served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, for taking his time to teach a class on the art of cooking with Cannabis.  He had some amazing advice for those who aspire to make edibles that are just as delicious as his long list of medicated treats. 

Jim Kostrava of Organibliss also taught a class on Preventative Maintenance.  He gave attendees helpful advice on how to keep their plants healthy throughout the growth cycle. He did an amazing job introducing his product to growers who weren’t familiar with the brand and he even introduced new complimentary products such as Super Soil, an enhanced soil that can be used along side Organibliss to help ensure that your crops never go to waste.

Another highlight of the Conference was the introduction of the new kid on the block. Travis Larsen has a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology and shared very interesting information on the History of Rastafari. Travis debunked a lot of myths that are associated with the culture and introduced the audience to Rastafarian reading material, cultural icons, symbols and music. His lecture was truly enjoyable and his great personality only added to the experience.

The Legalization Panel, led by Debra Young, was another part of the Conference that attendees found to be very informative and useful. It was nice to see people who share the same beliefs and who are dedicated to the legalization of Marijuana come together, share ideas, connect with activists and get a little information on the state of legalization in Michigan. 

I was also very moved by the members of the Raid Victim panel because they weren’t afraid to be emotionally naked in front of the audience. Jennifer Cook, Peter O’Toole, Al Witt and Chad from Cloud 45 were all there to share their stories, vent their frustrations, and offer some helpful advice to the audience.  

And as always, the Legal Panel, which included MMM Report’s own Ben Horner,  Attorney Bruce Leach,  Accountant Paul Samways, and Attorney David Rudoi. As always, the legal panel provided useful information to the audience and addressed their questions and concerns about the new laws that have been set in place concerning Medical Marijuana. 

The Michigan and Cannabis Business Seminar made a triumphant return. Our host, Ben Horner offered expert advice to all of the patients and caregivers who are interested in one day starting up their own dispensary. During the presentation, attendees were introduced to new house bills and given step-by-step instructions on how to start and successfully maintain their
own business.

The Grand Rapids Green Cup concluded our 13th Conference. We had over 100 entries. Categories included: Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, Concentrate, Medible. The winners are listed in the Bud Report. Thank you to all who submitted their strains. We’ll see you at the next cup!

I can’t forget to thank all of the vendors who participated and made our 13th MMM Conference a success. Thank you all for helping us put smiles on the faces of all of the patients and caregivers who were in attendance.

Another big shout out goes to John Sinclair! Thank you for always coming out and showing us love at our events. We definitely enjoyed having you there. 

Last but certainly not least, thank you to all of the patients and caregivers who came out to the event. Please continue to support the MMM Report, keep fighting the good fight and feel free to join us at all of our future conferences.

Peace and Blessings,

- Ericca

Cannibals of Freedom - Parasitic Anthropophagy Syndrome by Law - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.

     It’s getting toward the end of 2016 and finally after 8 years it looks like it may be legal in to sell medical marijuana and marijuana products in Michigan.  Yep, on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, Governor Snyder signed 3 bills (HB 4209, 4210 and 4827).  Unfortunately, these laws as passed are not yet available for me to study.  However, I did review a summary of the bills drafted prior to being signed into law.  

  The additions to the Michigan Medical Marijuana law will allow for the licensing of retail sales of medical marijuana and the use of marijuana oils and infused products.  I know many will feel a sense of relief and victory, now that the safest most effective way to use marijuana for medical purposes will be tolerated by those who wish to control you.  But, as with all laws, you should be cautious.

     First, if you have a legal question about the law, your best friend’s cousin’s neighbor is probably not a reliable source for understanding the law.  Nor is “something I read online” reliable.  The jails are filled with people who thought they could obtain reliable information about the law from those types of sources. 

     However, here is a brief description of what the bill summaries say.  The new laws do not take effect for 90 days from September 21.  So whatever you do, don’t run out and start using marijuana oils in public just yet.  Also, I’d hold off on opening that dispensary too.  The laws will be such that persons who wish to open a store, just like any other good business person, should seek legal counsel from an attorney before opening.  

     Next, of course the government actors could never let a chance to take your money from you go by, so they will force you to pay a fee of up to $5,000.00 just to allow you to do what they tell you that you can do.  Also, they will tax medical marijuana.  The laws also created yet even bigger government, and government actors’ involvement into your personal lives.  There will be more government hiring of government actors to check up on you.  They will keep track of every ounce of marijuana produced, from seedling to end user, by forcing you to do this for them and then pay them to violate your privacy rights, or suffer criminal and financial penalty.  There will be a limit to the amount of THC in medical edibles, and the amount of marijuana you can buy on a daily basis.  You will not be able to grow your own.  This ends up with getting you to be thankful for government actors’ continued deprivation of your right to self-determination. 

     Remember, I identified PASY (Parasitic Anthropophagy Syndrome) as a syndrome that those who wish to live off the backs of others by taking their freedoms, also necessarily take away their own freedoms.  And the new medical marijuana laws are yet further examples of government actors and others who suffer from PASY, and who violate the very ideals of freedom upon which our great country was formed.  After all freedom means the freedom to determine your own life, without government interference.  

     It is fair to say that there may some government officials who retain the ideals of freedom.  Indeed, in preparation for our upcoming election, I interviewed Ms. Dana Carver, who is running for State Representative for House District 106.  According to Ms. Carver, she is running for office because she understands that our freedoms are denied us by government actors.  And, although Ms. Carver is in favor of the legalization of marijuana, she also sees the new medical marijuana laws as further denial of our freedoms.  What is more, Ms. Carver stated she would vote no on any proposed law, and act to repeal all laws, which limit the freedom of the individual.  I have always advocated voting for those who promise to defend freedom, rather than for those who promise to take freedom from those whom we disagree.  I for one, hope Ms. Carver does get elected and becomes a voice of freedom in the legislature for all of us.

     However, if we voters here in Michigan continue to vote for those afflicted with PASY, it is us who are to blame for the insanity of government actors who fraudulently make us criminals in order to both gain financially, and to continue their biases and bigotry against those with whom they disagree.  Remember, the denial of your freedom takes no action, you need only keep silent and do nothing while you are made a criminal, or keep voting for those who promise to deny you freedom.  

As always, till next month, keep rolling on.

Disclaimer:  This is an informational article only.  It is not to provide individual legal advice.  If you need legal services, feel free to contact me, or any attorney of your choosing.

Free the Weed 67 - by John Sinclair

     Highest greetings from the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids, where I’m attending the 13th Medical Marijuana Conference sponsored by the MMM Report, and welcome to the great state of Michigan, where the state legislature and the governor have just made the first positive step toward legalizing marijuana since it was declassified as a narcotic on April 1, 1972. 

     The best part of the new law amended the citizen-mandated Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008 to allow for the manufacture and use of marijuana-infused products by qualified patients.

     Then there’s the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act “to license and regulate the growth, processing, transport and provisioning of medical marijuana,” which is indeed a mixed blessing as we will see.

     Finally, they’ve constructed the evil Marihuana Tracking Act and a seed-to-sale tracking system to track all medical marijuana from seed source to smoker, which extends and gives new life to the massive police bureaucracy dedicated to making life hell for marijuana producers and smokers of every persuasion.

     In fact, this new law has been carefully designed not only to extend police powers with respect to medical marijuana patients, but also to multiply and provide funding for the expanded police presence in the medical marijuana community.

     It’s a new thing for the government of Michigan to take any action on marijuana that could be construed as positive, but it’s not as if they’ve moved out of increased intelligence, knowledge or compassion but instead to head off further citizen initiatives that would take more power out of the hands of the law enforcement interests.

     Quite frankly, this result is the exact opposite of what the citizens meant when we voted for the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in 2008. What we want is for the police to be completely removed from playing any role in the world of marijuana. The police have no business with marijuana beyond harassing and persecuting smokers and producers of the weed.

     I know I say this all the time, but the truth is that there’s nothing wrong with marijuana whatsoever. Marijuana is a benevolent herb, a naturally-occurring plant that has incredible healing powers and is good for the mind and spirit as well. 

     What people do with marijuana is of no concern to the forces of law and order. No one needs to be protected from marijuana. An arrest for marijuana use, possession or production can never be justified. I’m not opposed to regulations regarding the growing, distribution or sales of marijuana, but arrests and prosecution for marijuana “offenses” have no place in our society.

      In the interest of full disclosure, let me outline my own experience with the Michigan marijuana laws. I first heard about marijuana in 1957 when I read a book called On The Road by Jack Kerouac. I wanted some at once, but there wasn’t any way to get any where I was until several years later, when a friend in Flint turned me on early in 1962. I’ve been a daily smoker ever since.

     I moved to Detroit in 1964 to attend graduate school at Wayne State University as a budding poet and music journalist with a passion for contemporary jazz and poetry. I met a lot of fellow poets, musicians and creative artists and most of us smoked weed together. 

     From my constant presence at jazz clubs in Detroit, I got to know the guys who had the weed and I could purchase enough to take care of my personal needs and those of my friends who got high. This was essentially an act of compassion, but when the police caught up with me I was charged with Violation of State Narcotics Laws and taken to court to face a sentence of a minimum-mandatory 20 years in prison with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for selling $10 worth of weed to an undercover State Police agent.

     Faced with this draconian punishment, I pled guilty to possession of the weed and received a sentence of two years’ probation. This was enough to convince me to stop selling small amounts of weed to my friends but not enough to make me quit smoking it. But I was outraged by the official claim that marijuana was a narcotic and, inspired by my friends Ed Sanders and Allen Ginsberg in New York City, I started a group called Detroit LEMAR to try to begin to correct this injustice by legalizing marijuana.

     This changed my status with the Detroit narcotics police from user and former small-time dealer to a perceived major threat to their continued dominance of the marijuana community and, to make a long story short, I was targeted for persecution and solicited by undercover agents. 

     First I was persuaded to obtain a small amount of weed from a friend of mine and arrested again on the Sales of Narcotics charge. I wanted to mount a challenge to the constitutionality of the law, since marijuana was patently not a narcotic, but my lawyer persuaded me to cop another plea in the face of the mandatory 20-year minimum sentence upon conviction, and I was sent to the Detroit House of Correction for six months.

     During this entire period I was functioning as a cultural activist at the Detroit Artists Workshop and somewhat of a minor public figure in the local arts community. Upon my release from DeHoCo I was targeted again by the Detroit Narcotics Bureau and convinced by an undercover policewoman to give her two joints just before Christmas of 1966. I was arrested and charged again with Violation of State Narcotics Laws—Sales to face the mandatory minimum 20-year sentence for the third time.

     For this ordeal I was blessed with the legal representative if attorneys Sheldon Otis and Justin “Chuck” Ravitz and together we successfully challenged the constitutionality of Michigan’s marijuana laws, eventually proving before the Michigan Supreme Court that marijuana was not a narcotic and that a 10-year sentence for possessing marijuana was cruel and unusual punishment.

     But this process ate up five years of my life, the last 29 months of which were spent in maximum security Michigan prisons without appeal bond while I waited for the Supreme Court to hear and decide my case. 
     For me, a poet, writer, cultural and political activist who liked to get high, every minute of this sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and not one minute of it was warranted. Marijuana had been wrongly defined as a criminal substance. I had done nothing wrong to anyone by using marijuana, and I was doing the copper woman a favor by giving her the two joints. Further, I was entrapped into making this transaction in violation of the law, and I was given a sentence longer and more strenuous than those customarily received by robbers and killers.

     It was 45 years ago when I was released from prison and discharged from my 9-1/2 to 10-year marijuana sentence, but the police have continued to run amok for all those years, arresting and imprisoning thousands upon thousands of innocent marijuana smokers year after year after year.

     Now I’ve preached for too long to finish my presentation about the new marijuana laws, so I’ll have to continue with that next month. But you see why I’m opposed to the police being part of the marijuana world where they have no business whatsoever, always have been and always will be. 

Free The Weed!

—Grand Rapids

September 25, 2016

© 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.