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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Michigan Dispensary Cartel Looks at Lame Duck Session to Pass State Controlled Medical Marijuana Program - by Ben Horner

     House Bill 5800 was introduced by Representative Lucido and referred to the House Judiciary Committee in August of this year and seeks to amend the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA). The Bill would add the following:

Political Wins and Raid Losses This Summer - by Ben Horner

     Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkelson and Sheriff Ron Kalanquin both incumbents lost their reelection bids for the republican nominations. These two are well known for their hard-line stance against all medical marijuana activity in their county.  Patients and caregivers are hoping that their replacements will show more compassion and stop the focus on marijuana users and redirect their efforts on the opiate, heroin and meth problems in the county.  The initiative to legalize cannabis in Lapeer lost by just 5 votes in 2014, and this recent change in top enforcers could signal that Lapeer has finally overcome their reefer madness.

Michigan News for September 2016

MMMP Fees Pay Police

Detroit: According to the Detroit Free Press, many patients and marijuana advocates were surprised to learn the fees they paid to obtain their medical marijuana card are being used to pay the police that have been raiding them. The fees are meant to oversee and enforce the medical marijuana program. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) had so much money built up from the fees that it distributed $1.2 million to 18 county sheriffs. Oakland County’s Sheriff received $323,725. The sheriff plans to use the money for 28 “raid-style” bulletproof vests, a van, pickup truck, and trailer to transport seized marijuana, training investigators, and overtime pay for medical marijuana investigators. The sheriffs are expected to use the grant for training and the enforcement of the MMA.

National News for September 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Smokin’ Sex

New York: Researcher Joseph Palamar and his colleagues at New York University have started a project to answer one of the many questions that have come forward since marijuana began to increase in popularity publicly: How does marijuana affect our sex lives? The study enlisted 24 heterosexual adults to conduct in-depth interviews about previous sexual experiences that took place under the influence of either marijuana or alcohol. The group of individuals involved in the project do not represent a national sample, but instead operate as a qualitative assessment group to gather the different effects of alcohol and marijuana on sexual behaviors and use this information as a “jumping-off” point for future quantitative research.

World News for September 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Prison Plants

Australia: The operators of a privately-run correctional facility have a lot of explaining to do after 28 marijuana plants were found growing in the center’s vegetable patch. Minister for Corrections, Steve Herbert, said he would like to know how the plants came to be grown in the center and why they were not found earlier. Corrections commissioner Jan Shuard has requested a report from the GEO about the circumstances surrounding the incident. Shuard says, “Maintaining a safe environment for prisoners, and the security of the prison, is what the contractor is required to do. They’ve been asked to explain how this occurred within their prison [and] we will then determine whether or not they have met the standards to operate that prison.” The latest incident has many officials questioning whether private operators should be running correctional facilities for profit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

VGIP Update for September 2016 - by Ben Horner

MI Legalize Makes Its Last Stand

The MI Legalize campaign lost their case to reverse a decision by the state Board of Canvassers regarding the 180 day ruling for signature gathering. The Michigan Court of claims agreed with the decision that rejected approximately 200K signatures which were collected after the deadline for petition circulators to complete and turn in their petition. MI Legalize board members made a decision in November of last year to continue past the 180-day window and join the Committee to Ban Fracking to challenge the current petitioning rules on constitutional grounds. Unlike the Committee to Ban Fracking, MI legalize continued to fund raise and raised over a million dollars in 18 months. The campaigns leadership vows to take the suit to the Supreme Court and is defending attacks from activists that say this strategy to ignore election laws and misdirect resources is counter-productive to real legalization.

      “These were very well-intentioned people, good-hearted but very naive — they really needed much more money and much sooner to pull this off” Tim Beck from Coalition for a Safer Michigan told the Detroit Free Press. Beck worked with the Michigan Responsibility Council to explore a plan to work with the Michigan legislature to create a state controlled six-company cultivation monopoly, which would replace the caregiver system as the source of cannabis for dispensaries throughout Michigan.

Free The Weed 66 - by John Sinclair

     Highest greetings from the northeastern sector of Detroit, where I’m visiting with my daughter Sunny and my granddaughter Beyonce for the next few weeks since returning from my summer in Amsterdam. I’d like to thank once again the people at Sensi Seeds for putting me up in one of their lavish guest apartments at the beginning and end of my stay, and to my man Tariq Khan for taking me in at his pad in the Heesterveld Creative Community in the Bijlmer for all the days in between. That was really sweet.

     Now I’m back in the U.S.A. in the middle of the toxic waste dump called the presidential election season, trying to get mentally prepared for either the best—our first female president—or the worst, which would be the installation of Mr. “You’re Fired” in the White House.