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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.”
Changes for MI Legalize
Lansing: Late last month the House passed SB776, a bill which would limit the window for collecting petition signatures to 180 days. This could throw a wrench in the workings of MiLegalize as the bill would invalidate many of the signatures collected by the group. The set date to have the petition turned in is June 1st in order to make the November ballot, but SB776 has until June 4th to be signed by the governor. Jeffery Hank, Chairman for MiLegalize, told MetroTimes, “The state legislature, and perhaps the governor, are trying to throw chaos into the election system by enacting SB 776. We’ve got a potential legal battle on our hands. We may be going to court this week. We’re going to be going to court over it, assuming the governor doesn’t veto it, which we’re calling for him to do.”

     Hank feels the new legislature is specifically targeting his group as well as the anti-fracking campaign. “The legislature timed this exactly to have this hanging over our heads for the remainder of the campaign…We have no idea if the state’s going to say if we have to operate under the old system or under the new system. And Gov. Snyder doesn’t have to decide until our campaign ends. So they could just throw the whole thing into flux. It’s almost out of Vladimir Putin’s playbook.” If MiLegalize is able to get their petition on the ballot, and is passed by voters, marijuana would be legalized for adults over 21, the medical marijuana act in Michigan would be expanded upon, and growing of industrial hemp would be legal. The proposal also calls for 40 percent of revenue from marijuana taxes to go to schools, with another 40 percent to roads, and the final 20 percent given back to local governments.

2016 Cannabis Cup
Clio: The Cannabis Cup will be held in Michigan by High Times June 11-12th this year. The event will be the first all-medical festival, meaning it is only open to current medical patients, as the entire area will be open to medicating. Patients must have a valid ID as well as a current medical card to be admitted into the event. Melissa Etheridge will be appearing on Saturday and the Cannabis Cup Award Show will be held on Sunday. The event will also be accepting bottled water donations for the local UAW to deliver to Flint water distribution centers.

Illegal Grow Operator Handed Sentence
Grand Rapids: A man from Florida was sentenced to 5 years in prison with an extra 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine after being convicted of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana here in Michigan. Ernest Arias was arrested last year after a raid on his home led to the discovery of 227 marijuana plants and 40lbs of packaged marijuana. Police received an anonymous tip about the house, and noticed the strong odor of marijuana while going to investigate. They also found the home to have “abnormally high” electrical use before the raid. According to mLive, Arias was not at the home on a day-to-day basis but used the home to cultivate and prepare the cannabis for sale. Court documents claim that Arias built the operation through his “labor and financing” and may have been in operation since 2011. Arias has also been linked to another grow house in Van Buren County.

Marijuana Squirrel Saver
Kimball: Police were called when a man was spotted digging through a CVS dumpster in Chesterfield Township. They arrived and found the man in his vehicle near the store. While searching the car they found expired candy bars, thrown out by the store, as well as medical marijuana, an illegal firearm, and a shoebox of squirrels. Ian Breiholz, 32, who regularly digs through dumpsters, according to police, found the squirrels on a dive and rescued them. While having the squirrels is not illegal, possessing the gun with a past felony charge is and Breiholz was arrested. His furry companions were confiscated during his arrest and turned over to animal control to be released.


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