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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Michigan News for June 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Marijuana Sentencing
Hemlock: George Clark, Timothy Northrup, and Brenda Northrup have been handed their sentences after being arrested for MMMA violations in 2015. Police flew a helicopter over a property in Ingersoll Township where they discovered a grow operation. They followed up at the home and were given permission to search the property. Once inside officers noted violations of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and seized 47 marijuana plants, marijuana oils and butter, scales, firearms, and cash.

     Nearly two years after being arrested and having charges filed, Judge Michael Beale sentenced the defendants. Clark was charged with attempted delivery or manufacture of marijuana, as well as being a second offender, and sentenced to one day in jail with credit for time served, a small suspended fine, and eighteen months of probation. Timothy Northrup was charged with delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance and sentenced to five days in jail, credited one day for time served, $1,250 in fines, and one year of probation. Brenda was given a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession and made to pay a fine of $1,250.

     While raids, seizures, and charges are frequent these days, it’s important to remember to follow the MMMA exactly how it is written as delivery or manufacture of marijuana in violation with the law can mean up to four years in prison.

Marijuana and Meth
Coloma Township: After receiving an anonymous tip, police began investigating a house in Coloma Township for possible narcotics activity. Police attempted to contact those staying in the home when they witnessed a man run from the home into a nearby wooded area.

     The canine unit led officers to the suspect, who was able to make it several miles before being apprehended. Once in custody, officers searched the man’s residence where they found a large marijuana grow operation as well as a meth lab.

  The suspect is being charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a drug house, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His name is being withheld pending his arraignment.

Common Sense:
Don’t Try to Bribe Officials

Garden City: An unnamed restaurant owner from Garden City is in hot water for attempting to bribe Detroit officials into granting him a permit for a marijuana dispensary. To obtain a permit for a dispensary in the city, business owners must get approval from the city council.

     The restaurant owner reportedly paid $15,000 to a Garden City Official, which was supposed to be evenly distributed to 3 city council members. The owner promised a total of $150,000 in exchange for the permit with the $15,000 being the first payment. Rather than distribute the money among council members, the official that received the bribe turned the cash into the FBI, who will be handling the case moving forward. Currently no charges have been filed.

No Fearing the Feds
Lansing: The spending bill passed by the US House last month will leave Michigan medical marijuana patients breathing a sigh of relief as no money will be allotted to fight medical marijuana in most legal states.

     Many patients were concerned when Jeff Sessions was appointed Attorney General last year due to his extreme hatred of the medication they are using. Patients had a reason to be worried after Sessions spoke in Virginia saying,

     “I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

     Thankfully Sessions, and the Justice Department, will be unable to use any of the budget to interfere in medical laws of individual states. The budget language states,

     “None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

     The bill will stay in effect through the end of September, allowing patients to worry less about using and cultivating their medication under their state approved laws.

Legalize in 2018
Lansing: Official ballot language has been submitted by the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (Regulate MI) to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults. Their goal is to begin collecting signatures to get onto the November 2018 ballot. According to Cannabis Business Times, the initiative “will create a state-regulated system of licensed marijuana businesses that will cultivate, process, test, and sell marijuana and marijuana-infused products to adults 21 and older.”

     Named the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, the proposal will allow for certain home cultivations as well as making licenses available for cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters and retailers.  A 10% excise tax would be added to the 6% state sales tax on all retail sales. As expected, driving under the influence of marijuana will still be illegal.
    Cultivating hemp, which can lead to an entirely new manufacturing industry, will finally become legal under the proposal. The ACLU of Michigan, Michigan NORML, MILegalize, the National Patients’ Rights Association, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, the State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section, and the Drug Policy Alliance all worked together to create the language for the ballot proposal.

Don’t Mail Marijuana
Evart: Randall Jones, a boat captain from Florida, is facing two felony charges of possession with intent to sell as well as a misdemeanor of possessing ‘drug equipment’ after a UPS box he was mailing was found to contain marijuana edibles. The captain was attempting to mail nearly 11lbs of medicated candy to a woman in Evart, Michigan.

     Managers at the UPS store opened the package, discovered the candy, and alerted authorities. The candy elicited a reaction from the canine unit indicating the candy contained marijuana, further lab testing confirmed cannabis was the main ingredient. Labeling on the candy packages states that the edibles came from California.

     Jones was arrested when he came back to the UPS store at the request of the manager. Officers found another 27 grams of candy in the center console of Jones’ pickup truck. He is currently being held in the county jail with no bond, while the unnamed woman from Michigan is still be investigated in connection with the package.

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