FREE THE WEED 82Highest greetings from Detroit, where I’m recovering from remedial surgery early in November and celebrating the latest electoral victory of the pro-marijuana forces in the City in our struggle to secure adequate provisioning for the area’s medical marijuana patients and keep our rabid foes on the Detroit City Council from shutting everything down.
First, though, I’d like to take a few minutes to commemorate the life and aborted presidency of John F. Kennedy, murdered on this day in 1963 by an unholy alliance of CIA hitmen and their gangster allies who had come together in their violent mutual opposition to the Cuban Revolution. JFK’s assassination also came about one week before he had planned to end the U.S. commitment to the burgeoning war in Vietnam, an evil enterprise also conceived and directed by the CIA.
With the ascension of Ronald Reagan and his V-P, Director of the CIA George H.W. Bush, the so-called Central Intelligence Agency cemented its hold on American life and has reigned supreme ever since—never more so than today, with Resident Rump running interference on all fronts.
It’s Thanksgiving Day tomorrow as I write, and I’m going to forget about the Rump and give thanks for being alive and in control of my meager faculties at the age of 76. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve suffered from a variety of physical problems this entire year and am just now recovering from a pretty heavy operation, but my doctor has given me a clean bill of health and I’m hoping for the best as I look forward to the new year.
We also have quite a bit to be thankful for in terms of the progress of the marijuana legalization movement. The MILegalize group and its affiliate, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, have submitted about 300,000 voters’ signatures on petitions to legalize marijuana in the state of Michigan next year, and while I personally have absolutely no desire to regulate marijuana like alcohol—one of the most idiotic ideas I’ve ever heard!—if this will liberate the weed from the forces of law and order once and for all, I’m all for it.
Once the proposal is on the 2018 ballot, it’s comforting to note that every time Michigan voters have been presented with a chance to cast their ballots for any form of liberalization of the marijuana laws, at least 60% have voted yes. With respect to total legalization as is being proposed now, we’ve waited more than 50 years for this opportunity, and I’m hoping and praying that this long nightmare will finally be over just one more year from now.
Here in the City of Detroit we’re celebrating the latest manifestation of this positive tendency since about 60% of Detroit voters approved two ballot initiatives that will reform the current city ordinance governing dispensaries. In fact, as we’ve reported more than once, since this ordinance took effect in March 2016, the city has shut down 186 of the city’s 283 medical marijuana dispensaries and has issued only 10 licenses for dispensaries to operate in the city.
The Detroit voters’ initiative, organized by Citizens for Sensible Cannabis, a group of dispensary owners, will eliminate the city Board of Zoning Appeals' authority to review dispensary applications. Dispensaries will be allowed to open within 500 feet of another dispensaryor religious institutions, and the requirement that the city hold public hearings on proposals to open dispensaries will be eliminated.
The new law will also establish a licensing process that bypasses the Detroit City Council and conforms to the licensing regulations issued by the state that take place starting December 15th. Under its provisions, the city must also expand the hours dispensaries are allowed to operate from 8:00 pmto 9:00 pm.
Several city council members and ministers came out against both proposals, and since their passage in the November election the Detroit City Council is pushing the city's legal department to challenge the new medical marijuana initiatives, saying both measures contain improper and potentially illegal zoning language. But the city's Corporation Counsel, Melvin "Butch" Hollowell, toldKatrease Staffordof theDetroit Free Press that the city was not planning a legal challenge to the medical marijuana ballot proposals.
“I have no plans to challenge the will of the voters on this matter,” Hollowell told The Detroit News. “My position is that the voters have spoken and so what we should be focusing on is how do we make the regulatory framework adopted by the voters work.”
In another small bit of serendipity, Butch then announced that he will be leaving the City’s legal department to join a prominent local law firm in the private sector. Since Butch is the guy who has led the assault on the city’s provisioning centers for the past several years, this has got to be good news in and of itself.
The Free Press reported that Citizens for Sensible Cannabis is going to wait and see what the city does next. CSC spokesman Jonathan Barlow commented that "We are totally flabbergasted by the amount of resources and time they're spending to circumvent the voters on the decision they made Nov. 7.” He said CSC is prepared to "mobilize and galvanize" resources to fight the city and added, “We don’t understand why they are looking to waste more city dollars on challenging us in court.”
A closer look at the makeup of the Detroit City Council is revealing in terms of its opposition to the eminently reasonable marijuana laws ordained by popular vote in successive city elections. The leading opponent of a sensible medical marijuana distribution system, James Tate, is a former police officer, as is newly-elected councilman Roy McAllister, who beat out the leading proponent of marijuana legalization on the council, former State Rep. George Cushingberry. Councilman Scott Benson is a former U.S. Coast Guard lifer. Andre Spivey and Mary Sheffield are ordained ministers.
That’s the majority. Of the remainder, Raquel Castenada-Lopez is a social worker, Brenda Jones was with the Communications Workers of America, Janee Ayres was with the Detroit Department of Recreation and also worked as a teacher, and Gabe Leland—son of my old friend, former State Rep. Burton Leland, is a fledgling professional politician.
Cushingberry offered some interesting comments on his recent loss, claiming that an "unholy trinity" formed against him."What happened to Cush?" he said. "The anti-weed people ganged up on him." Cushingberry has consistently spoken of his support for the medical marijuana industry in Detroit and supported the two ballot questions relaxing restrictions on medical marijuana facilities.
November 22, 2017
© 2017 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.