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Thursday, July 2, 2015

July Michigan News - by Rachel Bunting

The Different Proposals
STATEWIDE: There have been many different proposals being talked about by all the different marijuana advocacy groups. It can be a bit confusing when distinguishing which group you, as a patient, should support. Thankfully mLive was kind enough to put together an easy-to-read guide to the two main petition drives working toward the same ultimate goal, but with differing rules for the goal.

     The Michigan Cannabis Coalition (MCC) began collecting signatures for their proposal in June after their petition was approved by the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. The MCC would like marijuana, as well as marijuana infused products, to be legal for any person over the age of 21 to use, purchase, possess, and transfer. It would allow the state Legislature to establish the tax on retail marijuana but specifies the revenue will be used to implement the act as well as education, public safety, and public health. In order to grow for retail sale, this plan would require licensing for marijuana facilities. For growing at home adults 21 and older may have no more than two flowering plants in one home, though local governments could establish their own ordinances on home growing. The proposal still does not promote or support driving under the influence or using the plant in public areas.

     The second big petition is from the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee (MILegalize or MCCLRC). This petition would allow anyone over the age of 21 to purchase, possess, or use marijuana or marijuana infused products without fear of negative action. People could transfer up to 2.5oz to use on private property. This proposal also includes legalizing hemp farming. The pitch also calls for a 10% excise tax on retail marijuana sales in addition to the existing state tax. The revenue would be divided up between the department of transportation, the school aid fund, and the local government of the area in which the store is located.   

     Licenses for manufacturing and retail establishments would be determined by local governments. Residents would be able to grow up to twelve marijuana plants and could not be sold. The plan also outlines the security steps to be taken with packaging, testing, and marketing.

     While these are only two of the groups currently trying to “free the weed” there are many others involved in the effort and doing their part. So search the internet and find a group that perfectly fits your idea of how marijuana should be legalized in Michigan.


Welcome Back Cannabis Cup!
CLIO: For the second year in a row High Times will be hosting the Cannabis Cup right here in Michigan. The event is a combination trade expo, conference, and marijuana competition all in one. The Cannabis Cup began in Amsterdam in 1988 and still continues there annually. Thanks to decriminalization and legalization laws in the United States High Times has been able to hold the Cup in various states around the US. The event will take place at the Michigan Auto City Speedway on August 22&23 and will include more than 100 vendors. There will be live entertainment, seminars, classes, and special guest speakers. Ticket prices range from $25-$65. Medical patients will be able to use marijuana in designated areas after providing proof of their medical status.


Is the Lawn Mower Made of Weed?
ST. CLAIR COUNTY: Annette Shattuck is fighting for her freedom and her belongings after the St. Clair County Drug Task Force executed a warrant on her home. The Task Force believed Shattuck was not in compliance with the law in her position as a marijuana caregiver. Shattuck’s mother and four children were at the home when officers busted in, masks on. Shattuck was not at home but told her family’s story to the Michigan House of Representatives last month according to the Washington Post. She claims the men ransacked her house as well as seizing every belonging in her house. By everything she means everything. Things that had no association to her role as a caregiver. According to a photocopied summary of seized properties complied by the police and posted on the Washington Post they took tools, the lawn mower, a bicycle, and even money from her daughters bedroom.

     Shattuck says that when she returned home, her lingerie was hanging from the ceiling fans, her vehicles were taken, including the car seats, and her children’s artwork was on the floor with boot prints on it. The Sheriff of St. Clair County, Tim Donnellon, opposed Shattuck’s claim saying “She’s a liar, plain and simple. That’s all I can tell you. The Shattucks are trying to further their cause, which at the base of it is the legalization of marijuana in the state of Michigan.” But Shattuck addresses the district court transcript with shows the judge severely rebuking the prosecution for the amount and variety of items seized. Annette says they haven’t seen most of their belongings yet, and they still have a long battle before everything will be returned.


Sticky Note Stands Between Woman and Felony Charge
HOLLY: A few months ago we reported on Cynthia Mazur, who was arrested with her husband. Authorities found marijuana growing in the basement of their home. Mazur’s husband is a medical marijuana patient and caregiver for himself and two other patients. Mazur was being charged with possession and manufacturing marijuana with intent to distribute, and her husband pled guilty to similar charges. This month, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision that a sticky note left by Mazur was evidence that she was helping her husband manufacture his medicine and distribute it to his patients. The sticky note was the prosecution’s key evidence as it was left by Mazur for her husband as a reminder of when it was time to harvest his crops. The prosecution is using this as reasoning that she must have been helping manufacture the drug. However the Supreme Court disagreed and found the sticky note constitutes “legal drug paraphernalia”. Though the court threw out the key piece of evidence and handed the case back to the lower courts in Oakland County, Mazur is in no way cleared. The Supreme Court did uphold the lower court’s decision that Mazur is not immune from other charges because of her husband’s caregiver status as he was out of compliance with the MMA as he had too many plants. Mazur will get the chance to be cleared in an upcoming court appearance in front of an Oakland County Circuit Judge.


Support is Spreading
DETROIT: A poll conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. for the Detroit News and WDIV shows favor for the legalization of marijuana up 5% since April. The survey indicates 56% of residents would support the legalization of recreational marijuana for adult use only. It found that 36% are opposed to legalization while the remaining 8% are undecided. The results also show that most prefer the proposal put together by the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, or MILegalize. A previous poll conducted by a Marketing Research Group (MRG) two months ago found that only 51% of people would like cannabis made legal if regulated and distributed similarly to alcohol. The question asked by MRG only differed from the one presented by MILegalize on one point. MILegalize took alcohol out of the question and found approval of the idea spiked by 10%. To say the increase was caused by the change in wording is speculation as many things had changed in Michigan since the first poll, which also could have effected the numbers. MILegalize wants to leave control of the marijuana market in the hands of the communities instead of in the hands of big government.

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