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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Michigan News for June 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

THC Limit for Drivers
Lansing: House Bill 5024 passed through the House in April and will authorize ‘a commission to study and recommend a THC limit that would constitute impaired driving’. The threshold would be similar to that of alcohol which has a limit of .08 blood alcohol content. The current law protects medical marijuana patients from being charged with drugged driving, under the condition they are not impaired while driving, but there is no standard to define “being impaired”. According to the Times Herald, the study will involve a medical doctor, forensic toxicologist, representative from MSP, a medical marijuana patient, and a professor from three different universities. Some, however, see the flaws in trying to determine a limit similar to alcohol as marijuana stays in the body longer than alcohol and may contain high levels of THC long after the impairing high has worn off. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has encouraged the development of a system ‘that would include a positive test for recent marijuana use’ as well as a system based on behavioral evidence. St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Wendling acknowledges that a legal limit for driving is helpful, but would not determine if the suspected drugged driver would face any charges. “The nanogram level or the amount of marijuana in a person’s system would just be a factor,” Wendling said, “officers are trained to recognize various signs for drunken or drugged driving before a blood test is ever taken.”

National News for June 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Fighting for Medicine in South Carolina
South Carolina: Currently hemp oil containing less than .3 percent THC is legal in South Carolina, but parents of ill children feel that the oil is not enough and would like to see medicinal marijuana legalized in the state so patients are able to obtain a higher dose of the medication if needed. Parents involved in the fight for marijuana argue that they are not interested in getting their children high and do not want the kids smoking joints, but want to be able to give them the dose of medication that will work best to control pain or seizures.

     When voting down a bill that would allow doctors to recommend the medicine and dispensaries to issue it to patients, Senator Mike Fair claimed, “It’s going to wind up being abused by those who are getting it illegally, because it’s easier to get illegally when it’s legal for some” and says there are other drugs that will relieve pain.

World News for June 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

No Bail for Bread Man
Ireland: Seamus Boyce, a 36 year old bread delivery driver from Co Donegal, was arrested last month, along with two others, in connection with cross-border crime gang importation ring. Boyce was found to be transporting fifteen bags, each containing 1kg of marijuana, with a street value of up to £300,000 ($549,915) in his bread truck. He has been charged with possessing a Class B drug with intent to supply. Boyce’s defense attorney has claimed that an unnamed man threatened him into putting the drugs in his van and that there is no evidence that his client “has trappings of wealth or leads a criminal lifestyle”. The prosecution, however, believes Boyce was in a trusted position of the crime ring and argued for a denial of bail claiming his incarceration has meant a substantial loss to his organized crime circle. The judge agreed with the prosecution and denied bail stating not only would it be difficult to properly monitor someone who lives outside the jurisdiction if bail was granted, but also that “this was obviously a well-planned operation and police believe the applicant was a member of a gang involved in the importation of drugs into Northern Ireland”.

Will Sen. Jones Pass Bills and Regulate MMJ? - by Ben Horner

   Rumors are circulating that a new version of house bill 4209 will be released this month. So far the bills to regulate medical marijuana have changed in several ways since the where first introduced by Rep Mike Callton. In the last daft, the bills have turned into a tax and regulate bill similar to the liquor distribution model.

     NPRA and the MCDA have been pushing hard for years but have not closed the loop yet. An important member of the professional cannabis industry in Michigan has leaked that the bills have again been redrafted to mitigate some of the over-reaching provisions in the bills. He also informed the MMM Report that MI Legalize is being used to put pressure on the legislature to act.

     Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof has resisted Senator Jones’ request to dispatch the bills. Senator Jones is known for passing changes to the MMMA in lame duck session back in 2012. These changes made it easier to prosecute patients, caregivers and physicians that participate in the program. He seems highly motivated to move forward with HB 4209, but lacks enough support amongst Republicans to get it done.

     Considering the fact that MI Legalize has very little chance of making the ballot it seems likely that this issue will again return in lame-duck in November after the elections.

V.G.I.P. UPDATE - by Ben Horner

    MI Legalize turned in over 350 thousand signatures for its petition to legalize cannabis for adult use on June first.  This is a tremendous accomplishment for a grass roots endeavor. Thousand of volunteers worked along side paid professional petition circulators for almost one year. The big question now is will the Board of Canvassers honor all the signatures, or will MI Legalize have to litigate.

     Controversy regarding the so called 180 day rule began this spring when a challenge to the current procedure was made by the Committee to Ban Fracking in conjunction with MI Legalize. According to the rule, signatures that are older then 180 days are considered “stale and void,” but can be rehabilitated via a notarized affidavit resigned by the original signer of the petition. Attorney Jeff Hank, board chair of MI Legalize, as well as several others proposed changing the state policy for signatures using the qualified voter file, which is a digital database of all registered voters in the state of Michigan. This proposal failed along party lines, during a Board of Canvassers meeting this year.

Free The Weed 63 - by John Sinclair

     Highest greetings from Amsterdam, where I’ve just returned for the summer (if all goes well) to continue my efforts to set up my personal foundation called Stichting John Sinclair in order to make a proper repository for my life’s work, my intellectual properties, copyrighted writings and albums, and artifacts of my creative endeavors including my poetry and book manuscripts, master recordings, and related materials.

     I’ve always preserved the materials created by my work as an artist and activist with an eye to the future when I’m no longer here, and in the past I’ve created an archive at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan for most of the materials and artifacts I’ve amassed over more than 50 years of activity so far. When I moved from Detroit to New Orleans 25 years ago, I left my Detroit jazz archives with the Museum of African American History so they would be available to Detroiters into posterity.

The 5 Most Common MMMA Violations - by Matthew Roman

    The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 2008. Even though medical cannabis has been legal for almost eight years, many people are still unaware of the laws that exist which can cause problems for both patients and caregivers if not followed correctly.