Tuesday, August 4, 2015
V.G.I.P. UPDATE: Political Options - by Ben Horner
As the hype for marijuana legalization descends upon Michigan, many cannabis activists have noticed that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the petitions that could legalize possession of marijuana for adults in 2016. Keeping up with all three of the petition groups is almost as confusing as paying attention to who is in the running for the republican presidential nomination.
Our very own cannabis community led by occasional MMM Report contributor, Chuck Ream, has put together a very nicely done petition for MI Legalize. It keeps cultivation and wholesale distribution accessible to your average Michigan citizen. The thirteen board members are comprised of cannabis law reform activists, known as the Safer Michigan Coalition, and are responsible for many of local initiatives through out the state over the last four years. This grass roots attempt has been building momentum over the last two months and hopes to finish collecting signatures this fall utilizing volunteers and paid profession signature gathers.
The Michigan Cannabis Coalition (MCC) is lead by Matt Marsden, who has built his career on political consulting and governmental expertise. His company Revsix Data systems, based in Oakland County, recently added a quarter-million dollars to their accounts and they are currently collecting signatures at a fast pace. The petition calls for a tiered distribution and cultivation system that would be governed by a board appointed by the Governor and legislature. It leaves the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act intact and allows adults to cultivate up to two flowering plants at a time.
The Michigan Responsibility Counsel has solicited Tim Beck, the ‘Godfather’ of medical marijuana and cannabis law reform in Michigan, to consult for this republican insider based group. Paul Welday and Susan Mitchell recently pulled the plug on a plan to set up a ten grow legalization act that was modeled off of the Responsible Ohio petition, which is currently battling criticism from cannabis activists for creating an oligarchy for the manufacturing and distribution of recreational marijuana. They are now looking at a plan that works similar to the new draft of the House Bill 4209, which creates a tiered production and wholesale system, but does not limit the licensing to just to ten investors.
The unpublished draft five of HB 4209, The Provisioning Center Act, has people confused and concerned. Mike Callton has been working on legislation for several years with Robin Schneider, previously from the Michigan Association Compassion Center and currently working as the legislative liaison for Detroit based National Patent Rights Associated. According to Callton, they are hoping for a vote out of the house this September. The 5th and current version of 4209 that is being considered in sub-committee has seen some serious changes from last year’s version. The changes are centered on making the state play a more active role in the regulations regarding these provisioning centers with hefty fees and a tiered manufacturing and distribution system. Several new groups, which may or may not have direct connections with the MCC, MRC, NPRA and MI Legalize, have entered the lobbying movement to regulate dispensaries.
The Vote Green Initiative Project encourages everyone to contact his or her lawmakers and stay involved.
Here is a breakdown of the Groups that are, or have stated intent to run a petition to legalize recreational marijuana for adults of the age of 21 in Michigan:
“Michigan Marihuana Legalization, Regulation and Economic Stimulus Act.”
Leaders: Chuck Ream, Jeff Hank and Debra Young
Funding: Local donations ranging from $5 to $100,000
Plant Limit: 12 plants total
Cultivation: 2.5 ounces allowed, but no sales
Transfers to other adults are allowed, but no sales. Commercial cultivation and retail locations controlled by the local authorities. Communities can opt out.
Medical Marijuana: No change
Michigan Cannabis Coalition:
"Michigan Cannabis Control and Revenue Act."
Leaders: Matt Marsden and Dennis Darnoi
Plant Limit: 2 flowering, no limits on total plants count
Cultivation: Transfers to other adults are allowed but no sales. Commercial cultivation and retail locations controlled by the state with strict regulations. Communities can opt out.
Medical Marijuana: No change
Michigan Responsibility Council: In the redrafting phase
Leaders: Paul Welday, Susie Mitchell, and Tim Beck
Funding: Ten undisclosed donors, some with possible connections to large scale grow medical marijuana facilities in Michigan and private venture investors.
Plant Limit: Undecided
Medical Marijuana: Undecided