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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Two Big Wins for Michigan Medical Cannabis Last Month - Tim Beck

The Michigan medical cannabis community got a double dose of good news this past month.

On July 9, following the recommendation of the "Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel", Shelly Edgerton, Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation (LARA) approved 11 new conditions for which medical marijuana can be legally used. As LARA Director, Ms. Edgerton had the sole authority to to approve or disapprove the panel recommendations. Her action was a big departure from past LARA procedure relating to the approval of new qualifying conditions.

On July 18, a three judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in a published opinion (published opinions have the force of law statewide) that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) does not allow municipalities to restrict where or how caregivers can grow medical marijuana as long as they follow state law.

With the exception of Michigan Public Radio and Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS), the Appellate Court decision received practically no news coverage in the State.

These two recent events are a big deal for the community.

Newly approved medical qualifying conditions are: Arthritis, Autism, Chronic Pain (this means a patient does not have to have SEVERE pain in order to qualify), Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Obsessive Compulsive  Disorder, Parkinsons Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spinal Cord Injury, Torrette's Syndrome and Ulcerative Colitis.

One of the newly approved conditions, Autism, was rejected for approval by former LARA Director Mike Zimmer. The only new condition approved prior to Ms Edgerton's time in office, was PTSD, which was sanctioned with great reservation by former director Steve Arwood.

In an interview with MMM Report,  Ms. Edgerton discussed what seems to some, to be a sea of changes in LARA's direction.

"Ten years has made a big difference" she explained, referring to when the MMMA was first passed in 2008. "It is an evolution. Many, many states now have medical marijuana laws and in 9 states it is totally legal. New medical research has also been done."

She went on to say that the passage of Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) by the Legislature in 2016 was a big game changer. 

"We never really had a regulatory model before, and that is significant." She went on to elaborate how LARA is now playing a key role in the overall scheme of things, and cutting through political red tape.

"I'm taking responsibility to make sure this (the MMFLA) works" she summarized.

In Deruitter v Township of Byron, appellate Judges Joel Hoekstra, William Murphy and Jane Markey left no doubt in their ruling, as to the rights of Michigan's licensed Caregivers.

The judges stated: "we believe that the plain language of the MMMA lacks any ambiguity that would necessitate judicial construction to decipher its meaning. When the statute is read as a whole, no irreconcilable conflict results that make the statutory provisions susceptible to more than one meaning. We conclude that the MMMA permits the medical use of marijuana, particularly the cultivation of marijuana by registered caregivers at locations regardless of land use zoning designations, as long as the activity occurs within the statutorily specified enclosed, locked facility."

This court decision is huge and it is highly unlikely Byron Township will waste any more taxpayer dollars appealing the matter to the State Supreme Court. This appellate opinion made many references to past rulings by the states top court. It should also be noted, that one of the panelists, Judge Jane Markey, has displayed a historic antagonism to cannabis in previous rulings on the issue since the MMMA was first passed years ago.

Since the inception of the MMMA in 2008 until the present, a plethora of municipalities all across Michigan have tried, or continue to restrict the rights of caregivers in some dubious legal fashion.

According to Craig Canterbury, a board member of "Cannabis Patients United" (CPU) whose institutional memory and command of the most arcane facts about Michigan cannabis policy issues is the stuff of legend, noted this "Hall of Shame" includes: Lansing, Kalamazoo, Southfield, Warren, Niles, Houghton, Lake Isabella, Sturgis, Grand Haven, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia,
Marquette, Brighton, Lapeer, North Branch, Albert Township, Garden City, Flushing, Niles Township, Muskegon, Cheboygan County, Linden, Northville, Huntington Woods, Dryden, Elk Rapids, Hartford, Fruitport Township and Sault Ste Marie.

 "There are likely even more of them out there", Mr. Canterbury concluded.

These municipalities must now clean up their act.

This isn't to say ignorant or malicious apparatchiks will stop playing mind games with caregivers who are unaware of this new ruling. But what is important in the final analysis, is any legal foundation these bureaucrats once had, has crumbled beyond repair.

As far as the addition of eleven new conditions for which medical use of cannabis is now legal; the decision is a Godsend for patients who are suffering from these difficult medical problems. It was the right thing to do on the part of the LARA director.

However, for marijuana haters in elected office, law enforcement, the drug treatment industry and "religious" life, who believe medical cannabis is a scam for persons just looking to get high; this decision is most unwelcome.

In their dark, morbid fantasies, there are now eleven new excuses that can be used by "recreational" users to score some legal herb.

In addition, this ruling offers even greater protection and cover for doctors who believe that marijuana use is not a mortal threat to civilized society.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Cannibals of Freedom: Medical Cannabis Meets Peace and Liberty - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.

I decided to kick off summer by spending time with many individuals, who associate and refer to themselves as The Michigan Peace and Liberty Festival, at their annual event.  This event began with a few liberty minded friends who wanted to gather once a year in a family friendly camping area and discuss freedom and how ours is diminishing.  It morphed in to a pretty big gathering in 6 short years, bringing in over 120 people, many from all over Michigan, other states, and other countries.  I was impressed by many of the individuals I encountered. I was also happy that people from all walks of life and races were in attendance, after all, liberty is for everyone regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

I reserved a spot early for a 2 night stay in a rustic cabin and gave a presentation on the history of the struggle between freedom, and servitude.  I also explained Parasitic Anthropophagy Syndrome (PASY): That is that when one acts to take the freedom of others, that person is also working to destroy their own freedom.  Further, that PASY is the cause of people demanding the denial of the life, liberty and/or property of others.  Moreover, how this leads to a country of individuals working to take each other’s freedom by force through legislation and regulation, like in our state and country.  I mean, seriously, if you cannot smoke a plant, sell lemonade, build a barn, have your friend’s boat at your dock overnight, or earn a living without paying for the permission to do so from a parasitic government, you ARE NOT FREE! 

Generally, the individuals in attendance were positive to the presentation.  I received several compliments and some thanked me.  One dear lady asked if I had written a book on the subject so she could learn more.  However, as always, there was one individual who was hostile to the presentation.  Indeed, instead of making his comments publicly for all to hear, he approached me while alone after I finished.  He then began to tell me I was wrong on several key points (without any evidence of course), called me a liar, and attempted to tell me what to think, presumably because it would be more acceptable to him.  It was at that point that I ended the conversation and walked away, as he had just provided living proof as to how PASY works and there could be no further discussion. 

Think about it, at a “peace and liberty” festival an individual exercised PASY by attempting to live through me by controlling me through verbal intimidation (indirect force), thereby satisfying his desire to force me to agree with his “beliefs”.  I do not care if someone disagrees with me, because I know the facts I state with absolute certainty.  After all, the works I cited, logic and several thousand years of human servitude provide ample evidence to support the facts I presented.  What is important to note is that a person who allegedly supports liberty is more than willing to deny me the liberty to think and speak my thoughts.  The person is confused as to the true meaning and costs of liberty, which are:  One must accept that others may disagree, and that in a truly free society, force, whether direct or indirect, can only be used to defend the life, liberty and property of those within that society, and can never be used to make others satisfy your desires, wishes, or beliefs, regardless of what those may be or how they may be justified. 

For my part I do not judge “groups”, as a group does not breath, think, or act, only individuals do these things.  Nor I will not allow another to intimidate me or tell me what to think.  I can say the majority of individuals at the festival are peace loving, tolerant people who truly wish to be free and understand that force should be used only to protect life, liberty and property.  The night time activities around the campfire, socializing, and trading values for values without interference from parasitic government officials was great.  Also, the presentations ranged from freedom, America’s failed foreign policy, unschooling, and even aerial yoga was taught and practiced.  The one thing that I liked most is that its held at a private camping area.  After all, it is all about peace and liberty, not government permits and permission.  I will attend the Michigan Peace and Liberty Festival again next year, and hopefully the individuals on the board will once again grant me the honor of speaking. 

If you’ve never heard of this festival, check it out because it’s a great way to socialize with other liberty minded people in a family friendly setting, and you will have a great time.  If you have questions direct them to:

MMMR Recipe: Space Cake

A space cake is as awesome as it sounds. Imagine your favorite cake, but infused with the enthusiastic and buzzing power of cannabis! Pretty much ever coffees hop in Amsterdam will offer space cakes in one form or another, and they have become increasingly popular with those who want to reach that high, but in a discreet and tasty manner.

With this in mind, we have put together an out-of-this-world space cake recipe so that you can make your very own at home.


8 grams of cannabis bud, or the equivalent strength in either cuttings or hash.
1 3/4 cups of flour
1 cup of non-salted butter
1 cup of granulated sugar cup of milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoons of baking powder teaspoon of salt
Any other ingredients you want to improve the cake with, such as cocoa powder, vanilla extract, dried fruit, icing/frosting, buttercream, chocolate chips, or anything else – your imagination is your only limit.

A grinder
A mixing bowl
Spatula or mixing spoon
A cake oven tin
Non-stick spray or lining paper
An oven
A microwave
A small bowl
A skewer
Optional: A wire rack

1. Grind up all your cannabis until it is consistent and small (the finer it is, the better).
2. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
3. Put your butter in a bowl and place it in the microwave for 20 seconds. You want it to melt into a gloopy, pasty consistency.
4. Mix your freshly ground up cannabis into the butter.
5. Add all of the sugar, flour, milk, cannabis butter, eggs, plus anything else you want to your mixing bowl. Mix everything together until you get a batter with a nice even consistency. This may take a few minutes, but it will ensure your cannabis is spread evenly as possible throughout the cake mix. Note: if the mix is a little bit too dry, add a splash of extra milk; if it is too wet, add some extra flour.
6. Grease your cake tin with non-stick spray, or line it with non-stick baking paper.
7. Carefully pour your cake batter into the tin, spreading it around so that it is evenly distributed.
8. Place your tin in the oven and leave for 25 minutes to bake.
9. After 25 minutes, stab the centre of the cake with a skewer. If it comes out clean, it is ready, if batter sticks to it, leave the cake in the oven for another 5 minutes.
10. Allow the cake to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin; then place it upside down on the wire rack and remove the tin, allowing it to cool for a further 30 minutes.
11. Once cooled, decorate the cake with anything you want.

Health & Science - Kathy Hess

Why Marijuana Consumers Have Smaller Waistlines vs. Non-Users

It’s a well-established fact that marijuana causes users to experience acute hunger, a phenomenon known as the munchies. But curiously, research also has found that the average cannabis consumer actually has a slimmer waistline compared to non-users.

For a while, that stereotype-defying finding has left researchers scratching their heads. Thankfully, a new study out of Indiana University, which is pending publication, offers a compelling, theoretical explanation.

Before we get into the specifics of the study, let’s take a look at some background: humans have endocannabinoid systems that are responsible for things like regulating sleep, appetite, stress and metabolism. Ingredients in marijuana like THC and other cannabinoids are known to stimulate receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which can produce a wide range of physiological effects.

OK, but how does this explain why cannabis users are generally slimmer than non-users?

Well, the researchers started with a simple observation. Western diets, exceptionally high in carbs and sugar—are associated with a series of chronic health conditions such as obesity. One commonality among people who suffer from these conditions is that they have a higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the body.

There is “abundant evidence” that this increased ratio of omega fats causes overstimulation of a main cannabinoid receptor, which “leads to metabolic syndrome, contributing to chronic diseases,” the study authors wrote.

People who are able to reduce their level of this specific cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) often experience weight loss. There are different ways to achieve this effect, but one possibility identified in earlier research is the introduction of cannabis into the equation. Marijuana causes a down regulation of CB1R, a receptor that “plays a major role in assimilation, storage and conservation of energy.”

In layman’s terms, this means that while consuming cannabis certainly heightens hunger among users in the short-term, it also helps people properly manage that food after it’s entered the body. Even four months after you stop using cannabis, that effect is still present. Therefore, the researchers concluded, the impact of cannabis use on the CB1R receptor “more than offsets the short-term increase in energy stores that follow” a case of the munchies.

Again, however, this is a theoretical explanation based on existing research about the endocannabinoid system, marijuana and metabolism. As the researchers emphasized in their conclusion, the study raises many questions, including:

“How many other conditions respond in opposite directions during acute and long-term exposures to Cannabis? How does this paradox impact therapeutic uses of Cannabis? Do the long-term effects of Cannabis use arising from downregulation of CB1R exacerbate the underlying condition that drove patients to therapeutic use of Cannabis in the first place? For example, if a patient uses Cannabis for anxiety, will the resulting downregulation of CB1R result in increased anxiety between therapeutic doses? How does dosage influence this relationship? Is CB2R also downregulated during Cannabis use, and if so, what are the implications for treatment of CB2R-related conditions with Cannabis?”

For the time being, we’ll have to wait on those answers. But if you were perplexed by headlines and social media posts about marijuana consumer being skinner than their non-using counterparts, this study may well serve as an important piece of the puzzle.


Legalizing Marijuana Helps Police Solve Other Crimes, New Study Shows

Marijuana activists have long disputed that legalization would free up police departments to focus on other crimes. Yet six years after Colorado and Washington State voted to end prohibition, what does the data show?

A study recently published in the journal Police Quarterly shows that advocates were right after all. Police clearance rates, a figure that represents the number of crimes that resulted in an arrest divided by the total number of reported crimes, increased in both states post-legalization.

A logical argument. Before a state makes it legal to possess marijuana there are officers who will take time to investigate and charge individuals for low-level cannabis offenses. But when a state legalizes, they no longer have to allocate law enforcement resources to marijuana-related crimes, therefore enabling officers to go after different, and sometimes more serious, cases.

But up until this study, there wasn’t much researching exploring the direct relationship between legalization and crime clearance rates. For the first time, researchers demonstrated (in CO and WA) that police were able to make more arrests for various crimes post-legalization. That includes violent crimes, property crimes, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts.

“While our results cannot specifically explain why police clearance rates have increased in Colorado and Washington, we think the argument that legalization did in fact produce a measurable impact on clearance rates is plausible,” the researchers concluded. “Our models show no negative effects of legalization and, instead, indicate that crime clearance rates for at least some types of crime are increasing faster in states that legalized than in those that did not.”

“As we document here, prior to legalization, several crimes clearance rates were either flat or decreasing. However, in the post-legalization period, we see considerable improvement. We cannot offer with absolute certainty that these changes are entirely the result of marijuana legalization, though we are quite certain that legalization has not unduly hampered police performance, at least as measured by clearance rates. Moreover, in the absence of other compelling explanations, the current evidence suggests that legalization produced some demonstrable and persistent benefit in clearance rates, benefits we believe are associated with the marijuana legalization proponents’ prediction that legalization would positively influence police performance.”

Alright, so how did crime clearance rates change post-legalization?

There were some modest differences in clearance rates between Colorado and Washington State, but the overall trend revealed an increase in these two states compared to all other states, the study found. Here’s a breakdown of the clearance rate changes for four different crime types:

Grow Tip - The Cannabis Hobbyist - Kathy Hess

With the promising outlook of cannabis being legal for recreational consumption as well as medical, there may be a lot more Michiganders digging into the gardening of cannabis.  For recreational growers it will be more of a hobby as the voter initiative limits the amount a non caregivers can grow is twelve plants, and that number could possibly be lowered after the initiative is ratified.  Below we’ve provided some tips for the grower, but more so for the hobbyist grower who will be greatly limited in comparison to caregivers.

Growing cannabis is a relatively time-consuming process that requires constant attention and resources. Therefore, it’s worth doing everything as correctly as possible in order to maximize your end result, especially making it “worth it” to a hobby gardener.

Start off right.
The quality of a cannabis crop is partially determined before the first seed is ever planted. Seed selection is a massive part of the process and will heavily influence the final outcome of your buds. Every grower will have their own preference when it comes to strains. Some prefer a powerful, cerebral sativa high that leaves them feeling energized and motivated. Others opt for stony indica highs that result in calm and restful states.

Genetic considerations should also be made depending on the type of environment that a gardener has access to. For example, if growing in a small indoor space, then auto flowering strains might be the best option. However, if growing in a large outdoor space, then perhaps you would prefer genetics that result in huge, towering bushes.

Another factor to consider before beginning the garden is whether to use clones or seeds. Starting a garden using clones may have some advantages, but it is indeed risky business. Clones produce plants that are an exact genetic copy of the original “mother” plant from which they were taken. The genetic traits that carry over can include certain weaknesses and diseases that the original plant experienced. Therefore, if you receive a clone from a plant with an unknown history, you run the risk of starting your garden in a negative position.

It’s very important to selected feminized seeds before embarking on a growing operation with the aim of producing massive, top-quality yields. Doing so will ensure you avoid catastrophes that can greatly slow down the process and even reduce the yield of an entire crop.

Feminized seeds are bred to harbor no male chromosomes, meaning that every plant grown from them will be a female plant that offers smoke-able flowers. Since only female cannabis plants produce medical and recreational marijuana, they are favored by most cultivators over their male counterparts.

Therefore, choosing to start a garden with feminized seeds allows growers to avoid the time-consuming process of identifying any male plants early in the flowering phase and removing them from the grow space.

Not only will using feminized seeds save time, they will also help you avoid potentially disastrous errors. If any males within the grow space are missed, they will start to release pollen and subsequently pollinate the surrounding females. Once a female has been pollinated, her efforts to grow large buds coated in sticky resin will cease, instead diverting her energy into creating seeds instead. This is the last thing you want if you’re hoping for a potent harvest of cannabis flowers.

You can purchase seeds from reputable local authorized provisioning centers and from several reputable seed banks.  Some of your local centers may have employees knowledgeable about the number of plants the seeds come from, but many do not, and many fake it to make the sale.

The benefit of seed banks is that most are pretty diligent on providing some genetic information, such as variety and breakdowns of THC/CBD percentages, if its auto-flower, and most all banks will label which seeds are available as feminized.

Pure Michigan - Chad Morrow


Wow, what a crazy month in Michigan it has been for those involved with cannabis. We have great reason to celebrate with the state finally approving the first state licenses under the MMFLA. Unfortunately its still a task involving enormous efforts to avoid board member Don Bailey’s obvious bias and guaranteed no vote if he can find anything to be used against an applicant, including assumptions with no solid evidence of wrong doing. With that said, 4 companies proved it possible to achieve licensure as licenses were approved for all types of facilities except a testing facility, which is sure to come soon. The feeling of accomplishment throughout the cannabis community was only able to be enjoyed temporarily as the Michigan Appeals court issued one of the most absurd rulings to date shortly after, ruling that wet cannabis isn’t protected by the MMMA, and now upon harvest, drying cannabis can land a caregiver in a jail cell. Lets take a closer look at whats happening.

First, a huge Congratulations goes out to VB Chesaning upon being granted the very first state license for a cannabis facility in Michigan. Not only did they get approved for a license, but they did so with quite a statement, being approved for 4 Class C 1500 plant grows, giving them a total of 6000 licensed plants to cultivate, and being approved unanimously by the board. Opportunities for employment are already making their way around social media. Then there was CannArbor, a company approved for 2 state licenses, a dispensary and a processor license, while they await approval for their cultivation facility. Last but certainly not least, the state issued the first state license for a secure transport company, and it was awarded to Capitol Transport. The Mitten State is officially a testing facility license away from being able to actually think about an implemented and operating system being capable of a soft launch so to speak.

Unfortunately, not every applicant is having that same luck. There have been some denied for undisclosed arrest, which is black and white and they’re denied rightfully so. This past meeting, board member Don Bailey made his bias even more apparent. Many applicants were approved for pre qualification with 3-2 votes with the board over ruling Baileys objections and arguments where he would really reach for evidence to deny. It was apparent other board members were growing frustrated with his agenda as well. At one point Bailey claimed to have more specific info about applicants than other board members. Board member Nicole Cover asked Bailey to keep his hat straight and focused and to remember this is only prequalification regarding an applicant. Bailey snapped back “I’m not gonna check my common sense or experience at the front door, I believe that’s why I was picked for this board” and board member Vivian Pickard then asserted that maybe Bailey should make sure the rest of the board has the same information so they can be on the same page going into these meetings. Nicole Cover even asserted that some members are reading to much into some things and being presumptuous. Speaking of assumptions, Bailey claimed an applicant was involved in tax evasion and money laundering, without any evidence or charges to reference. The icing on the cake for this day was when Don Bailey suggested to LARA that the state allow the Michigan state police to do what they do, and launch investigations into those he has concerns with. I believe all the patients and caregivers in Michigan know by now that if the police are investigating you and you’re involved in this industry, an arrest is usually imminent. The testing of entries for the High Times Cannabis Cup was used as a reason to argue for denial of a testing facility by Don Bailey, as well as an applicants disclosure that they saw the High Times Cannabis Cup as a proper place to market. Bailey asserted that we only have a medical law and not a rec law, and anyone wanting to participate in events like that pose a risk to public safety and law enforcement. One applicant even claimed they were denied for reasons they weren’t even allowed to address in the application!! Another reason Bailey used to attempt to deny qualification to a company by the name of Helio, was the purchase of extraction equipment in 2016. Claiming that the purchase of the equipment was reason enough to believe they didn’t follow the law of 2008, so why would they follow the new laws and regulations. Again, a level headed Vivian Pickard stated that Don Bailey was assuming the equipment was utilized and assuming it was utilizes in Michigan. A small shop in Frederick, Michigan by the name of HumbleBee made Bailey’s radar and was harassed being called a straw man operation with family members applying for members who can’t. At which point Andrew Brisbo from LARA stated they have checks and balances in place to dig that information up, no flags were raised. They were approved 3-2 over Bailey and Rick Johnsons no votes. Ironically, they were served with a cease and desist within 48 hours to their processing facility for questionable reasons. Is it a coincidence they are in a county policed by the same bunch that Bailey retired from, we’ll let you decide. One thing is for certain, without the common sense approach of board members Cover, Pickard, and LaMontaine, Michiganders may very well have been left waiting months longer for the progress we’re seeing.

With such such focus on state licensing and legalization on the horizon, it came as a huge shock to the cannabis community when the appeals court heard the case of Michigan vs. Mansour, and issued one of the most absurd rulings to date, twisting and contorting any common sense and logic, and leaving patients and caregivers more vulnerable now than ever before. If you’re a caregiver or a patient growing their own medicine, pay close attention. Wet cannabis is no longer protected and leaves you vulnerable to over zealous police agencies like many patients in Michigan have already encountered. Cannabis harvested from the plant but not dried isn’t useable so its not covered by the act. The logic, or lack of, being used, is that the law protects patients and allows them to have 12 plants and/or up to 2.5 ounces of dried useable cannabis. The minute you cut the plant, its no longer counted as a plant, and weight becomes the subject of useable cannabis, anything wet is not useable and not protected. Outdoor growers will have huge concerns come harvest time. Freezing wet bud for extraction purposes will not save you from police harassment any longer. Social media is chaotic with news reports, statements, opinions, concerns, fears, and so much more as a result. One suggestion is to just hang the plant whole, roots and all so its counted as a plant. That won’t work either and I’m telling you now, don’t try it. The MMMA defines plant in §3.

(j) “Plant” means any living organism that produces its own food through photosynthesis and has observable root formation or is in growth material.

A plant hanging upside down with roots in tact isn’t capable of producing food through photosynthesis in the process of drying. This is another attack upon caregivers and patients in Michigan by the appeals court. Fortunately, The Rockweiler himself, Neil Rockind has stepped up to the plate to argue this at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is more reasonable than the appeals court, and there is no better attorney to argue on behalf of patients and caregivers than the heavyweights from Rockind Law. Many of you already know that the author of this article was represented by Rockind Law and the purpose of a court date was to contest, successfully, a personal protection order served upon the author by board member Don Bailey himself. I have a feeling Mr. Rockind will make the appeals court look as bad as his firm made Don Bailey look in the ppo hearing. Caregivers and patients alike can feel confident that this opinion will be reversed, but for now, it’s the law of the land.

These are reasons:
we must get the people out to vote in November. Michiganders must vote yes and pass legalization. Upon passage of the initiative, Michigan will become a much better place for cannabis consumers. Shops with MFLA licenses will convert over to licensed RMLA licenses and will then operate under RMLA rules and not MFLA rules. The power of the BMMR board doesn’t carry over to RMLA licensed shops. Cannabis felons can’t be employed in the industry under the MFLA, yet they can be under RMLA licenses. We’re only a few months away from one of the most important elections of our lives, lets make it count.

Adventures of Marijuana Jones - Kathy Hess


Dubai is hot. Hot and dusty.. Mainly hot. And damn if choosing Dubai as the first stop on my History of Cannabis Research tour of the Middle East wasn’t an eye opener to the level of distain some nations in this region hold for maryjane.

Dubai has a narcotic security scanner that travelers to Dubai, or even just traveling through, must walk across, and it has the ability to scan for traces of cannabis on your shoes.  Yes, even the tiniest of traces of cannabis on the soles of your shoes can get you jail time. I consider myself lucky to have traded the beaded sandals that adorned my feet during my recent travels through India.  The housekeeper who assisted me at the last hotel there had admired them with such passion, she was beside herself with joy when I insisted that she keep them, and would not let me leave without gifting me a cabochon jeweled hair comb I had admired previously. That little comb might have just saved my life, as I’m sure any drug testing performed on myself if the sandals had flagged me would have shown high traces of cannabis in my system after amounts of bhang I consumed.

Dubai is a police state and there is a zero tolerance policy to the usage of soft drugs is punishable by 4 years for possession and life terms with the possibility of death for cultivating and distributing. If you are merely suspect to possession or use of weed you will be given high priority as a threat and will be otherwise till proven innocent. The laws on soft drugs are the same throughout the UAE though in Sharjah you may be given a warning and be put on probation if you are caught without any weed but fail your drug test.

Yes, simply having weed in your system here in Dubai still constitutes towards possession. If they perform a drug test and find cannabis in your system (yes, even as a passenger on layover to another destination) it could mean an even longer sentence. Minimum is four years, and that’s just for testing positive. And considering the amount of travelers passing through the busiest international airport in the world, your travels to the ME might just have you passing through the gates here.



Did I mention how hot it is? It is only in recent times that a privileged few have found some respite from the heat through the miracle of air conditioning. The rest of the people are not so fortunate. They must endure temperatures that often soar to over 100 F. The excessive heat dictates that the people work only in the mornings and the evenings ("Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun").

The sun also dictates the kinds of animals and plants that will survive. The camel has adapted in a way that allows it to go without water for days. Our camel rides through the wadis of Oman completely changed my concept of “desert” and the possibilities of what can thrive there.
Similar to the camel, plants are able to survive by being able to retain their water. It is because of this capacity to minimize evaporation that plants such as cannabis are able to live in the parching Arabian heat.

The means by which cannabis accomplishes this amazing feat is by producing a thick, sticky resin that coats its leaves and flowers. This protective canopy prevents life-sustaining moisture from disappearing into the dry air.

But this thick stocky resin is not an ordinary goo. It is the stuff that dreams are made of, the stuff that holds time suspended in limbo, the stuff that makes men forgetful, makes them deliriously happy, makes them ravenously hungry or completely disinterested in food. It is a god to some and a devil to others. It is all of these things and more. This resin, this shield against the sun, this sticky goo... hashish.



The camel ride across the border was beautifully scenic, but it was the story telling by our fantastic guide Ashraf that revealed some of the history of the land via legends. According to Ashraf, little is known of the first Arab who discovered the marvelous properties of hashish. Yet one of his most colorful of stories tells how Haydar, the Persian founder of a religious order of Sufis, discovered hashish in A.D. 1155.

According to the legend, Haydar was an monk who lived a life of privation and self-chastisement in a monastery which he built in the mountains of Persia. For ten years he lived in this distant retreat, never leaving it for even a brief moment, seeing no one except his disciples.

One hot summer day, however, Haydar fell into a state of depression and wandered off into the fields to be alone. When he returned, his disciples, who had become alarmed at his unusual absence, noted a strange air of happiness and whimsy in his demeanor. Not only that, the hitherto reclusive monk even allowed them to enter his personal chambers, something he had never done before.

Astounded by this dramatic change in their master's character, his disciples eagerly questioned the monk about what it was that had put him into this frame of mind. Haydar responded to their curiosity with amusement and proceeded to tell them how he had been wandering in the fields and had noticed that of all the plants near the monastery, only one had not been standing motionless in the oppressive heat of the day. Unlike its torpid and inanimate neighbors, this unusual plant seemed to dance joyfully in the sun's warmth. Overwhelmed by curiosity, Haydar picked a few of its leaves and ate them to see what they would taste like. The result was the euphoric state his disciples now observed
in him.

Upon hearing of this wonderful plant and desirous of sharing their master's pleasure, Haydar's pupils entreated him to show them this strange plant so that they too could partake of its marvelous virtues. Haydar agreed, but not before he made them promise under oath that they would not reveal the secret of the plant to anyone but the Sufis (the poor). So it was, according to legend, which the Sufis came to know the pleasures and contentment of hashish.



I’m lucky to have gained access to the National Library of Jordan while I was in Amman. I was able to do a bit more research through old text, and surprised to find that Ashraf wasn’t too far off with his stories. The apocryphal oath by which Haydar entrusted his disciples not to reveal the secret of hashish to anyone but the Sufis underlies the close association between the drug and the Sufi movement in the Arab community.

The Sufis appear to be the hippies of the Arab world. Their origins were in Persia where they began as a group of ascetics who banded together to discuss religious topics and to recite the Koran aloud. Some of these bands eventually formed fraternities and established monasteries such as those founded by Haydar.

One of the ways the Sufis encouraged the attainment of these spiritual insights was through the arousal of ecstatic states. The most commonly way was through intoxication by means of drugs such as hashish. It was because of their frequent usage of hashish that the Sufis were credited both with the dissemination of the drug and with the downfall of Islamic society. For the Sufis, however, hashish was merely a means of stimulating mystical consciousness and appreciation of the nature of Allah. To the Sufi, a Moslem critic wrote, eating hashish is "an act of worship".

Since the Sufi had no interest in advancing himself in society or in economic gain, they were looked down upon by the Establishment in their respective eras as being lazy and worthless. In many cases, their behavior was attributed to the effects of hashish. Most Sufis were form the lower classes. One of the main reasons the Sufis chose hashish over other intoxicants like alcohol was that hashish was cheap.

Their heretical religious stance and their refusal to conform to the standards of Arab society combined to make the Sufis pariahs in the Arab world. And because hashish was so much a part of the Sufi's everyday life, it came to be looked upon as the cause of their unholy, contemptible, and disgusting behavior. By eliminating hashish, the Arab world felt it could rid itself of a loathsome drug habit that encouraged defiance, insubordination, and a general disregard for the status quo. While the efforts to eliminate hashish were often quite dramatic (I’m thankful to avoid Dubai from now on) all attempts proved futile.

I’m excited to have Ashraf by my side again for the next leg of my journey.  I’m looking forward to more of his informative stories on our way camel ride to Cairo Egypt.

Free the Weed 90 - by John Sinclair

Almost every month in the past two years since the Reality TV boss, billionaire and bully called Donald Trump entered the presidential primaries, I’ve had to talk myself out of writing about the unprecedented actions and unbelievable pronouncements of this lying sack of shit who is now the president of my country.

Here’s a guy who called out to Russia one day in 2016 to find the 30,000 e-mails attributed to Hillary Clinton’s private account, and that very evening the Russians started to hack into the Democratic Party’s correspondence files, later collaborating with a creep called Julian Assange to use them to thwart her run for the U.S. presidency.

Now Resident Rump has spent a year and a half tearing down everything good that America had achieved politically and socially in all the years previously. Not that everything was the way it was supposed to be, but starting with the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s and after the past eight years of Barack Obama we’d come to enjoy many civic policies and programs that tried to make America a better place for everybody—not just whining white people.

Now this ignorant dunderhead is dismantling our health care system, our employment protections, and our very government itself under the banner of Make America Great Again. He’s crippled every department of government with his idiotic appointments—State, Education, Housing & Human Services, Environmental Protection, on down the line—and who knows what’s next?

I take it as a good thing that people are beginning to show avid opposition to Rump and his minions by protesting their presence in our midst at restaurants and public spaces. It’s important to show them how deeply wrong we think they are and that we will fight to keep the America we have made. If the German people would have opposed Hitler and his goons in this way, perhaps they wouldn’t have gotten so far with their disgusting campaign to take over the world for the Aryan race.

Rump often claims that our news media is the enemy of the people, but what he means is that much of the news media is opposed to Rump and Rumpism in all its awful forms. I’m an avid newspaper reader and always have been, but I’m usually at odds with most of the reporting and commentary. Now I’m agreeing with more and more of what I read, and I’ve never seen so much opposition to a president or political movement since the War on Communism.

My favorite mainstream journalist, Paul Krugman of the New York Times, has been particularly relentless in his analysis and criticism of the Rump administration. On June 22 he said: “The speed of America’s moral descent under Donald Trump is breathtaking. In a matter of months we’ve gone from a nation that stood for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a nation that tears children from their parents and puts them in cages.

“What’s almost equally remarkable about this plunge into barbarism is that it’s not a response to any actual problem. The mass influx of murderers and rapists that Trump talks about, the wave of crime committed by immigrants here are things that simply aren’t happening. They’re just sick fantasies being used to justify real atrocities.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator George F. Will calls Rump a “sad, embarrassing wreck of a man” and “America’s child president” who “speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week.” This is after Rump named the European Union as America’s greatest foe and went to Russia to plant some big kisses on the ass of Vladimir Putin, the head of the secret police of the former USSR who continues to rule with an iron hand.

Remember the Cold War? It was waged for 50 years of my lifetime by the USA and Russia, starting under the regime of the gangster from Kansas City, Harry S. Truman and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and flourishing through the eight-year reign of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Any departure from Cold War orthodoxy was swiftly punished by the secret government headed by the CIA, who brought the Bay of Pigs and the War in Vietnam to the liberal presidency of John F. Kennedy before fully eliminating him in league with the corporate gangsters called the Mafia.

Under Lyndon Baines Johnson the CIA expanded the War in Vietnam almost exponentially, physically eliminated serious opponents of the status quo like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and paved the way for their ultimate champion, Richard M. Nixon, to assume the office of the presidency in 1969.

Maybe you remember some of this now? Nixon extended the war against communism in Vietnam another six years and it ended only after he had been forced from office for his crimes summarized under the term Watergate. He launched the War On Drugs that has plagued America and the western world ever since. His vice-president was a criminal from Maryland who was also forced from office, and Nixon himself was evicted before he could finish his second term.

Jimmy Carter provided America with four short years of full democracy before the CIA overtly seized control of the government and installed Ronald Reagan as frontman for CIA chief George H.W. Bush, who enjoyed 12 full years of unchallenged rule. Maybe you remember him… or his son, George W. Bush, who ruled for eight years after the turn of the present century before the brief respite provided by another champion of actual democracy, Barack Obama.

We were looking to head further into the future with the election of our first female president, but then Rump conspired with Putin and the Russians to steal the presidency and start dismantling our democracy in an election further rigged from the inside by the Republican Party and their relentless gerrymandering of the voting map so that this punk could win the election while losing the popular vote by a count of 3,000,000 citizens.

For all his effort, however, as Peter Baker pointed out on June 23 in the New York Times, Trump isn’t really making the backwards progress he brags about: “His 17 months in office have in fact been an exercise in futility for the art-of-the-deal president. No deal on immigration. No deal on health care. No deal on gun control. No deal on spending cuts. No deal on NAFTA. No deal on China trade. No deal on steel and aluminum imports. No deal on Middle East peace. No deal on the Qatar blockade. No deal on Syria. No deal on Russia. No deal on Iran. No deal on climate change. No deal on Pacific

No deal, motherfucker! But “we are, as the president has said many times, ‘a stupid country,’ and every day of this presidency proves his point,” Timothy Egan said in the Times on July 21: “Trump supporters stuck with him through his boasting of sexual assault, through the comforting words he gave neo-Nazis after Charlottesville, through the revelation that he paid off a porn star, through his policy of ripping children from their mothers’ arms and putting them in cages.

“Tea Party budget hawks stayed with him after he signed a tax bill that will burden Americans with a deficit of more than $1 trillion next year. Poor whites stayed with him after repeated attempts to take away their health care. Farmers stayed with him after he started a trade war that will cost them dearly. [And] his cult was with him through a collusion-in-real-time sellout of his own country in Helsinki…[demonstrating once more the] ongoing collusion between Trump and Russia.”

Finally, in the words of another of my favorite mainstream commentators, Charles M. Blow (NYTimes, July 16): “This is an incredible, unprecedented moment. America is being betrayed by its own president. America is under attack and its president absolutely refuses to defend it. Simply put, Trump is a traitor and may well be treasonous.”

Timothy Egan concludes: “A majority of Americans are against this sellout of our principles, and against this president. We’re a democracy, still, not a stupid nation, and we can prove it in November.”

Or not. Use your brain: Impeach the criminal president. Give us our country back! And for god’s sake, FREE THE WEED!


July 21-22, 2018

© 2018 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

V.G.I.P Update -August 2018 - by Kathy Hess

We still have a ways to go, and the fight is going to get bare-knuckled as we get closer to the end. Be sure, there will be several prohibition lobbies and organizations that will be working overtime to try to convince the people of Michigan to vote “No”. They’ve spent millions in states like CA, OR, WA and CO to keep the green illegal. (Obviously millions wasted, but that won’t stop them.) They will use old, disproven, “Refer Madness” tactics to scare people.  But we can do this with knowledge on our side.

We have two important tasks before us. 1.) We have to get out and Vote! Mark your calendars, make a day of it, and offer to take neighbors to the polls with you.  Only 55% of the eligible voters cast ballots in the 2016 election, encourage others to get out and Vote!  2.) We need to educate ourselves, about those running for office in all races and about the true language of the proposal.

If you’re thinking that it doesn’t matter who you vote for this November, as long as you get to vote a “yes” on the marijuana proposal, everything will be fine, you’re are sadly mistaken.  Our electorates will still have the ability to amend the proposal after the voters approve it, with 2/3rds majority vote.  If we elect a number of congressman and senators who have been historically (currently) anti cannabis, there is a good chance they could amend the proposal, strip provisions and further restrict the citizens the ability to cultivate, the amount one can posses or the rules on transfer.  So be sure to know where your candidates stand on the issue of cannabis. 

Anti groups will undoubtedly lie about what the proposal will mean for residence, employers and minors.  Know the facts, be ready to dispute their claims, to squash the inevitable fear mongering they will sling.  We’ve broken the proposal into two halves. The first is below; the second half will be in August’s issue. 

Here is the 2018 Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative proposal (Part 2):

Sec. 9. 1. Each application for a state license must be submitted to the department. Upon receipt of a complete application and application fee, the department shall forward a copy of the application to the municipality in which the marihuana establishment is to be located, determine whether the applicant and the premises qualify for the state license and comply with this act, and issue the appropriate state license or send the applicant a notice of rejection setting forth specific reasons why the department did not approve the state license application within 90 days.

2. The department shall issue the following state license types: marihuana retailer; marihuana safety compliance facility; marihuana secure transporter; marihuana processor; marihuana microbusiness; class A marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100 marihuana plants; class B marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500 marihuana plants; and class C marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000 marihuana plants.

3. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the department shall approve a state license application and issue a state license if:

(a) the applicant has submitted an application in compliance with the rules promulgated by the department, is in compliance with this act and the rules, and has paid the required fee;

(b) the municipality in which the proposed marihuana establishment will be located does not notify the department that the proposed marihuana establishment is not in compliance with an ordinance consistent with section 6 of this act and in effect at the time of application;

(c) the property where the proposed marihuana establishment is to be located is not within an area zoned exclusively for residential use and is not within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12, unless a municipality adopts an ordinance that reduces this distance requirement;

(d) no person who holds an ownership interest in the marihuana establishment applicant:

(1) will hold an ownership interest in both a marihuana safety compliance facility or in a marihuana secure transporter and in a marihuana grower, a marihuana processor, a marihuana retailer, or a marihuana microbusiness;

(2) will hold an ownership interest in both a marihuana microbusiness and in a marihuana grower, a marihuana processor, a marihuana retailer, a marihuana safety compliance facility, or a marihuana secure transporter; and

(3) will hold an ownership interest in more than 5 marihuana growers or in more than 1 marihuana microbusiness, except that the department may approve a license application from a person who holds an ownership interest in more than 5 marihuana growers or more than 1 marihuana microbusiness if, after January 1, 2023, the department promulgates a rule authorizing an individual to hold an ownership interest in more than 5 marihuana growers or in more than 1 marihuana microbusiness.

4. If a municipality limits the number of marihuana establishments that may be licensed in the municipality pursuant to section 6 of this act and that limit prevents the department from issuing a state license to all applicants who meet the requirements of subsection 3 of this section, the municipality shall decide among competing applications by a competitive process intended to select applicants who are best suited to operate in compliance with this act within the municipality.

5. All state licenses are effective for 1 year, unless the department issues the state license for a longer term. A state license is renewed upon receipt of a complete renewal application and a renewal fee from any marihuana establishment in good standing.

6. The department shall begin accepting applications for marihuana establishments within 12 months after the effective date of this act. Except as otherwise provided in this section, for 24 months after the department begins to receive applications for marihuana establishments, the department may only accept applications for licensure: for a class A marihuana grower or for a marihuana microbusiness, from persons who are residents of Michigan; for a marihuana retailer, marihuana processor, class B marihuana grower, class C marihuana grower, or a marihuana secure transporter, from persons holding a state operating license pursuant to the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, 2016 PA 281, MCL 333.27101 to 333.27801; and for a marihuana safety compliance facility, from any applicant. One year after the department begins to accept applications pursuant to this section, the department shall begin accepting applications from any applicant if the department determines that additional state licenses are necessary to minimize the illegal market for marihuana in this state, to efficiently meet the demand for marihuana, or to provide for reasonable access to marihuana in rural areas.

7. Information obtained from an applicant related to licensure under this act is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.

Sec. 10. 1. Notwithstanding any other law or provision of this act, and except as otherwise provided in section 4 of this act or the rules promulgated thereunder, the following acts are not unlawful, are not an offense, are not grounds for seizing or forfeiting property, are not grounds for arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, are not grounds for search or inspection except as authorized by this act, and are not grounds to deny any other right or privilege:

(a) a marihuana grower or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana grower who is 21 years of age or older, cultivating not more than the number of marihuana plants authorized by the state license class; possessing, packaging, storing, or testing marihuana; acquiring marihuana seeds or seedlings from a person who is 21 years of age or older; selling or otherwise transferring, purchasing or otherwise obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for goods or services;

(b) a marihuana processor or agent acting on behalf of a marihuana processor who is 21 years of age or older, possessing, processing, packaging, storing, or testing marihuana; selling or otherwise transferring, purchasing or otherwise obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for goods or services;

(c) a marihuana secure transporter or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana secure transporter who is 21 years of age or older, possessing or storing marihuana; transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for services;

(d) a marihuana safety compliance facility or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana safety compliance facility who is 21 years of age or older, testing, possessing, repackaging, or storing marihuana; transferring, obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for services;

(e) a marihuana retailer or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana retailer who is 21 years of age or older, possessing, storing, or testing marihuana; selling or otherwise transferring, purchasing or otherwise obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; selling or otherwise transferring marihuana to a person 21 years of age or older; or receiving compensation for goods or services; or

(f) a marihuana microbusiness or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana microbusiness who is 21 years of age or older, cultivating not more than 150 marihuana plants; possessing, processing, packaging, storing, or testing marihuana from marihuana plants cultivated on the premises; selling or otherwise transferring marihuana cultivated or processed on the premises to a person 21 years of age or older; or receiving compensation for goods or services.

(g) leasing or otherwise allowing the use of property owned, occupied, or managed for activities allowed under this act;

(h) enrolling or employing a person who engages in marihuana-related activities allowed under this act;

(i) possessing, cultivating, processing, obtaining, transferring, or transporting industrial hemp; or

(j) providing professional services to prospective or licensed marihuana establishments related to activity under this act.

2. A person acting as an agent of a marihuana retailer who sells or otherwise transfers marihuana or marihuana accessories to a person under 21 years of age is not subject to arrest, prosecution, forfeiture of property, disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, denial of any right or privilege, or penalty in any manner, if the person reasonably verified that the recipient appeared to be 21 years of age or older by means of governmentissued photographic identification containing a date of birth, and the person complied with any rules promulgated pursuant to this act.

3. It is the public policy of this state that contracts related to the operation of marihuana establishments be enforceable.

Sec. 11. (a) A marihuana establishment may not allow cultivation, processing, sale, or display of marihuana or marihuana accessories to be visible from a public place outside of the marihuana establishment without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids.

(b) A marihuana establishment may not cultivate, process, test, or store marihuana at any location other than a physical address approved by the department and within an enclosed area that is secured in a manner that prevents access by persons not permitted by the marihuana establishment to access the area.

(c) A marihuana establishment shall secure every entrance to the establishment so that access to areas containing marihuana is restricted to employees and other persons permitted by the marihuana establishment to access the area and to agents of the department or state and local law enforcement officers and emergency personnel and shall secure its inventory and equipment during and after operating hours to deter and prevent theft of marihuana and marihuana accessories.

(d) No marihuana establishment may refuse representatives of the department the right during the hours of operation to inspect the licensed premises or to audit the books and records of the marihuana establishment.

(e) No marihuana establishment may allow a person under 21 years of age to volunteer or work for the marihuana establishment.

(f) No marihuana establishment may sell or otherwise transfer marihuana that was not produced, distributed, and taxed in compliance with this act.

(g) A marihuana grower, marihuana retailer, marihuana processor, marihuana microbusiness, or marihuana testing facility or agents acting on their behalf may not transport more than 15 ounces of marihuana or more than 60 grams of marihuana concentrate at one time.

(h) A marihuana secure transporter may not hold title to marihuana.

(i) No marihuana processor may process and no marihuana retailer may sell edible marihuana-infused candy in shapes or packages that are attractive to children or that are easily confused with commercially sold candy that does not contain marihuana.

(j) No marihuana retailer may sell or otherwise transfer marihuana that is not contained in an opaque, resealable, child-resistant package designed to be significantly difficult for children under 5 years of age to open and not difficult for normal adults to use properly as defined by 16 C.F.R. 1700.20 (1995), unless the marihuana is transferred for consumption on the premises where sold.

(k) No marihuana establishment may sell or otherwise transfer tobacco.

Sec. 12. In computing net income for marihuana establishments, deductions from state taxes are allowed for all the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying out a trade or business.

Sec. 13. 1. In addition to all other taxes, an excise tax is imposed on each marihuana retailer and on each marihuana microbusiness at the rate of 10% of the sales price for marihuana sold or otherwise transferred to anyone other than a marihuana establishment.

2. Except as otherwise provided by a rule promulgated by the department of treasury, a product subject to the tax imposed by this section may not be bundled in a single transaction with a product or service that is not subject to the tax imposed by this section.

3. The department of treasury shall administer the taxes imposed under this act and may promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to MCL 24.328 that prescribe a method and manner for payment of the tax to ensure proper tax collection under this act.

Sec. 14. 1. The marihuana regulation fund is created in the state treasury. The department of treasury shall deposit all money collected under section 13 of this act and the department shall deposit all fees collected in the fund. The state treasurer shall direct the investment of the fund and shall credit the fund interest and earnings from fund investments. The department shall administer the fund for auditing purposes. Money in the fund shall not lapse to the general fund.

2. Funds for the initial activities of the department to implement this act shall be appropriated from the general fund. The department shall repay any amount appropriated under this subsection from proceeds in the fund.

3. The department shall expend money in the fund first for the implementation, administration, and enforcement of this act, and second, until 2022 or for at least two years, to provide $20 million annually to one or more clinical trials that are approved by the United States food and drug administration and sponsored by a non-profit organization or researcher within an academic institution researching the efficacy of marihuana in treating the medical conditions of United States armed services veterans and preventing veteran suicide. Upon appropriation, unexpended balances must be allocated as follows:

(a) 15% to municipalities in which a marihuana retail store or a marihuana microbusiness is located, allocated in proportion to the number of marihuana retail stores and marihuana microbusinesses within the municipality;

(b) 15% to counties in which a marihuana retail store or a marihuana microbusiness is located, allocated in proportion to the number of marihuana retail stores and marihuana microbusinesses within the county;

(c) 35% to the school aid fund to be used for K-12 education; and

(d) 35% to the Michigan transportation fund to be used for the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges.

Sec. 15. A person who commits any of the following acts, and is not otherwise authorized by this act to conduct such activities, may be punished only as provided in this section and is not subject to any other form of punishment or disqualification, unless the person consents to another disposition authorized by law:

1. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described in sections 4(1)(a), 4(1)(b), 4(1)(c), 4(1)(d), 4(1)(g), or 4(1)(h), a person who possesses not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, cultivates not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, delivers without receiving any remuneration to a person who is at least 21 years of age not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, or possesses with intent to deliver not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished by a fine of not more than $100 and forfeiture of the marihuana.

2. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described in section 4, a person who possesses not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, cultivates not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, delivers without receiving any remuneration to a person who is at least 21 years of age not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, or possesses with intent to deliver not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5:

(a) for a first violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished by a fine of not more than $500 and forfeiture of the marihuana;

(b) for a second violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 and forfeiture of the marihuana;

(c) for a third or subsequent violation, is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000 and forfeiture of the marihuana.

3. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described by section 4(1)(a), 4(1)(d), or 4(1)(g), a person under 21 years of age who possesses not more than 2.5 ounces of marihuana or who cultivates not more than 12 marihuana plants:

(a) for a first violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished as follows:

(1) if the person is less than 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $100 or community service, forfeiture of the marihuana, and completion of 4 hours of drug education or counseling; or

(2) if the person is at least 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $100 and forfeiture of the marihuana.

(b) for a second violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished as follows:

(1) if the person is less than 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $500 or community service,
forfeiture of the marihuana, and completion of 8 hours of drug education or counseling; or

(2) if the person is at least 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $500 and forfeiture of the marihuana.

4. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described in section 4, a person who possesses more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, cultivates more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, or delivers without receiving any remuneration to a person who is at least 21 years of age more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, shall be responsible for a misdemeanor, but shall not be subject to imprisonment unless the violation was habitual, willful, and for a commercial purpose or the violation involved violence.

Sec. 16. 1. If the department does not timely promulgate rules as required by section 8 of this act or accept or process applications in accordance with section 9 of this act, beginning one year after the effective date of this act, an applicant may submit an application for a marihuana establishment directly to the municipality where the marihuana establishment will be located.

2. If a marihuana establishment submits an application to a municipality under this section, the municipality shall issue a municipal license to the applicant within 90 days after receipt of the application unless the municipality finds and notifies the applicant that the applicant is not in compliance with an ordinance or rule adopted pursuant to this act.

3. If a municipality issues a municipal license pursuant to this section:

(a) the municipality shall notify the department that the municipal license has been issued;

(b) the municipal license has the same force and effect as a state license; and

(c) the holder of the municipal license is not subject to regulation or enforcement by the department during the municipal license term.

Sec. 17. This act shall be broadly construed to accomplish its intent as stated in section 2 of this act. Nothing in this act purports to supersede any applicable federal law, except where allowed by federal law. All provisions of this act are self-executing. Any section of this act that is found invalid as to any person or circumstances shall not affect the application of any other section of this act that can be given full effect without the invalid section or application.

World News - August 2018

Cannabis Oil Crosses Border Legally, One Time.

GREAT BRITAIN- Following many months of tireless efforts, Warwickshire county resident Hannah Deacon managed to obtain a license from the Home Office back in June to allow her to obtain and treat her son, Alfie Dingley, with cannabis oil. Young Alfie suffers from Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy and experiences regular daily seizures without the oil.

But Deacon was able to pass through customs at London City Airport Tuesday evening after returning from a trip to Amsterdam where she had obtained medicinal cannabis oil for her son.

“Today, for the first time ever in this country, we have brought back THC oil through the airport legally,” said Deacon after coming through customs. “Which is amazing. It is very, very important for him to have a normal, happy life, so it’s a momentous occasion for us, his whole family, and for him, most importantly.”

Deacon had secured and brought back a supply of thirty milliliters of oil from the Netherlands, enough to last Alfie for up to five months.

Alfie’s General Practitioner, who approves the medication for prescription, is also charged with storing and dispensing the oil to Alfie. When the supply of medicine is exhausted, Deacon will likely have to repeat the entire approval process unless cannabis oil is rescheduled in the meantime.


Caribbean to Consider Cannabis Confirmation

CARIBBEAN ISLANDS- The heads of Caribbean nations have agreed to “review marijuana’s current status with a view to reclassification,” noting “human and religious rights” issues stemming from criminalization as well as “the economic benefits to be derived” from legalization.

The move, which was announced by The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organization of nations including Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and others, comes after a committee formed by the group recommended replacing cannabis criminalization with legal regulation.

“The medical and scientific evidence is clear that marijuana has substantial value,” commission Chair Rose-Marie Belle Antoine said. “Thousands of people are being imprisoned especially the most vulnerable and most marginalized in the region.”

The 19 Caribbean heads of state attending the group’s meeting in Jamaica this week “welcomed” the report, according to the official communiqué released at the conclusion of the gathering on Saturday, which also notes that “the current classification of marijuana as an illicit drug presented a challenge in the conduct of research to fully understand and ascertain the medicinal benefits to be derived.”

“They are recommending the decriminalization of marijuana. […] that it be deemed a substance that is controlled and managed as alcohol,” CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said of the commission’s report.

The communiqué issued by the heads of state reads:

“Heads of Government welcomed the Report of the Regional Commission on Marijuana. They noted its findings, conclusions and recommendations in particular with respect to human and religious rights; the social and developmental impact of use among adolescents; the economic benefits to be derived and issues related to its classification.

 “They agreed that action should be taken at the national level by the relevant authorities to review marijuana’s current status with a view to reclassification taking into account all international obligations. […] Member States would need to review the Report in more detail to determine action at each national level in relation to law reform models as proposed by the Commission.

 “We also agreed that each member state, in accordance with its own circumstances, would determine its own pathway to pursue the law reforms necessary as proposed by the Regional Marijuana Commission,” Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said at a press conference.

The move by Caribbean nations comes just weeks after Canadian lawmakers voted to legalize marijuana. Mexico’s incoming presidential administration is poised to end cannabis prohibition as well.


‘Chill Waves’ No Longer Crash South Australia 

AUSTRALIA- South Australia’s standing as a “cool state” has come under threat this week, with a push to change the way weed possession is prosecuted. Marijuana has been decriminalized in the state since 1987. Previously, getting busted with less than 25 grams would only see you hit with a maximum fine of $500; but it was more common to receive one for $125.

But this all looks set to change with the state government introducing laws to parliament to quadruple penalties for possession, pushing the maximum fine to $2000. Furthermore, they’re also out to create a new maximum prison sentence of two years, the same as ecstasy and heroin. Other plans also include introducing random drug checks and sniffer dogs in schools.

The changes are part of an ongoing push to increase penalties around possession that have been unfolding since last year. These increases were stoked by Deputy Coroner Anthony Schapel’s inquest into the 2012 murder of teenager Lewis McPherson.

McPherson was killed by fellow teen, Liam Humbles, who was drunk and high at the time of the crime. The coroner is reported to have said: “The maximum monetary penalty for the offences of possession, smoking and consumption of cannabis, cannabis resin and cannabis oil [should] be increased from $500 to a figure that reflects the deleterious effects that the consumption of those substances can have on the individual, especially the young”.

Opponents of the changes have spoken out, arguing that the change in the law would overload the legal system with small cases. They also stood by the current system, which favors counseling and diversion programs over jail time.

South Australian Member of Legislative Council (Greens Party) Tammy Franks also mentioned that laws like this target vulnerable groups who are less likely to pay to defend themselves in court. She called it a “war on the homeless, Aboriginal people and the poor”.


Cannabis Company Gets $10M from Snoop Dog

GREAT BRITIAN- Snoop’s venture capital company Casa Verde Capital is among several to put $10 million into British cannabis venture Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies. (OCT) The firm also announced Blunt Talk/Star Trek/ X-Men star (and medical cannabis fan) Sir Patrick Stewart has become a patron.

“I am proud to become a patron of OCT. It’s wonderful that OCT have got together the funding that means that Britain will lead the way in what is, in my view, one of the world’s most exciting fields of medical research.” stated Patrick Steward. “The possibilities seem to me, to be virtually limitless.” Stewart (who says he uses cannabis medicine to help with his arthritis) will serve on OCT’s Advisory Board, with further appointments set to be announced.

OCT, established in 2017 to harness the prospective medical benefits of cannabinoids, also announced it has recently successfully completed a new round of funding. Research has now started across several new areas including treatments for cancer, pain management, a number of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and MS and a range of inflammatory diseases.

“Snoop is a fan of cannabis, it’s fair to say” Neil Mahapatra, Chairman of OCT, “At a time when medical cannabis markets are opening across the world, it is still surprising how little focus appears to be dedicated to understanding the underlying molecular actions of cannabinoids.

We want to help fill this knowledge gap, ultimately developing medical products that could help a large number of people.”

National News - August 2018

SCOTUS Nominee’s Stance on Marijuana

WASHINGTON DC- POTUS’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, will shape the country’s legal system for decades to come, if he is confirmed by the Senate. But how might the federal judge rule in cases dealing with marijuana legalization?

When it comes to cannabis and the right of states to set their own laws, it’s really anybody’s guess at this point. Kavanaugh doesn’t appear to have weighed in on the issue specifically, but it’s possible he’ll be asked about his views during confirmation hearings by pro-legalization Judiciary Committee members like Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) or Kamala Harris (D-CA).

However, a brief overview of the nominee’s judicial record reveals someone who routinely defers to the regulatory authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has for decades refused to change marijuana’s restrictive status under
federal law.

For example, Kavanaugh sided with the majority in a 2007 case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which determined that terminally ill patients don’t have a constitutional right to access drugs that haven’t received FDA approval.

A 2012 case concerning drug testing—for which Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion—is also revealing. The federal judge argued that mandating drug testing of government employees at specialized residential schools for at-risk youth doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment.

“A residential school program for at-risk youth who have a history of drug problems can turn south quickly if the schools do not maintain some level of discipline,” he wrote. “To maintain discipline, the schools must ensure that the employees who work there do not themselves become part of the problem. That is especially true when, as here, the employees are one of the few possible conduits for drugs to enter the schools.”

Kavanaugh also upheld the authority of the FDA in a 2013 case. He argued that the federal agency’s procedure for approving or denying expedited approval of medical devices should be respected. “A court is ill-equipped to second-guess that kind of agency scientific judgment.”

Kavanaugh said that because the drug testing program is “narrowly targeted” and the government “has a strong and indeed compelling interest in maintaining a drug-free workforce,” the mandate doesn’t amount to a violation of the constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Though these cases don’t provide an especially comprehensive window into the SCOTUS nominee’s views on marijuana specifically, they do appear to reflect a pattern: Kavanaugh puts his faith in the FDA, which has denied that marijuana has any proven medical benefits, and his interpretation of the limitations of the Fourth Amendment seems to stand in contrast to drug policy reform advocates.


Jury Clears MM Patient

GEORGIA-  The jury heard the case over three days of trial, spent two hours deliberating last week and ultimately found Javonnie McCoy not guilty on all counts, his attorney Catherine Bernard wrote in a Facebook post. McCoy was acquitted through a process known as jury nullification.

It’s not an especially unique choice in a Georgia court—except that the defendant,  McCoy, admitted that he was guilty. McCoy, who said he grew cannabis for personal use to treat chronic headaches he developed after being severely beaten in 2003, was transparent in the courtroom. And it paid off.

“The jury appreciated his honesty throughout the case—including testimony at trial and statements to police—and recognized that a good, hard working man living a quiet life and not bothering anyone didn’t deserve a felony conviction for his actions,” Bernard said.

Jury nullification isn’t unheard of, but McCoy’s case seemed to symbolically challenge prohibitionist policies that put patients and non-violent users in prison, with a criminal record that could follow them for the rest of their lives. While Georgia allows patients to use CBD extracts for medical purposes if a doctor recommends it, cultivating the plant is a felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison.

In other words, even if the judge wanted to give McCoy a pass, their hands would be tied. Only the jury’s leniency and right to nullify allowed the defendant avoid a serious conviction.

“Most people—and even many lawyers—are surprised to learn that juries are not required to follow the law,” Vince Sliwoski, an attorney at the Harris Bricken/Canna Law Group, wrote. “When a jury’s conscience takes over and tells it that someone does not deserve criminal punishment for his or her actions, regardless of the law, the jury can choose to acquit.”

Sliwoski offered an interesting, hypothetical scenario. What if a jury in federal court was tasked with deciding the fate of an individual charged for violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)? “The possibility of jury nullification in a CSA case against a cannabis business is both fascinating and realistic.”


Committee Blocks Marijuana Votes (Again)

WASHINGTON DC- Lawmakers on a key congressional committee once again blocked colleagues in the full House from being able to vote on marijuana-related amendments.

But the Republican-controlled Rules Committee, led by Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), continued its recent tradition of preventing floor votes on any and all measures to scale back federal cannabis prohibition.

Before this block, his panel had blocked at least 34 other cannabis-related amendments from reaching the floor for votes during the current Congress. The full House of Representatives has not been allowed to consider marijuana reform proposals since the spring of 2016.

Bipartisan groups of lawmakers cosponsored two new cannabis measures, which they were seeking to attach to legislation to fund parts of the federal government through Fiscal Year 2019.

(A third marijuana-related measure considered proposes shifting money away from forest and rangeland research toward “eradicating, enforcing, and remediating illegal marijuana grow operations on National Forest System land.” That measure was cleared for a floor vote.)

Under a ballot measure approved by D.C. voters in 2014, low-level marijuana possession and home cultivation is legal. But because of an ongoing federal appropriations rider enacted in past years included in the new FY19 bill, local officials have been prevented from adding a system of taxed and regulated cannabis sales.


Criminal Cannabis Market Shrinking

COLORADO- There are no completely accurate methods to measure the size of illicit markets, no matter what is being bought and sold. There are, however, some figures that can be taken as proxies of these markets. In the case of cannabis, it could be argued that seizures and confiscations can be, in a way, interpreted as surrogates of the actual illicit market sales.

Seizure figures can help us better understand the direction of the illegal markets: are they growing or shrinking?

Total confiscations declined by 35 percent from 2016 to 2017, signaling a similar drop in illicit market marijuana sales over last year – and an even larger drop when compared to previous years.
However, it’s important to notice that confiscations can relate to different phenomena. The decline can also be interpreted as:

• A signal of a reduction of illegal cannabis production and sales.
• A reflection of a reduced interest by the DEA and other agencies.
• A proxy of a decline in the efficiency or efficacy of said law enforcement agencies.
• A sign of the surging impediments and hurdles these federal agencies face as more states legalize weed.

 It can be difficult to quantify with precision just how large the illegal market is and moreover, to what extent it is contracting. In order to determine a baseline, the analysis of plant confiscations by state as disclosed by the DEA in its annual report as well as marijuana seizures reported along the southern border by Homeland Security.

The decline in overall activity could very well be attributed to an enforcement protocol that is more lax than in years past as provisions in the federal budget preclude the deployment of resources to shut down legal pot businesses… But the key is LEGAL businesses so, in theory, illegal markets should continue to feel pressure from fed intervention.

As it can be appreciated, black market sales accounted for only 1/3 of sales in Colorado, and half of sales in Washington.

 “The successful reduction of the illicit markets in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon provides evidence that legalization works, and continues to support the assertion that ‘more legalization is better.’ Colorado has been most successful, licensed most liberally, and taxed the least; its legal market has grown the most and done the most damage to the illicit market. With the addition of California and Canada to the ranks of adult-use markets, it can now be expected that the overall North American illicit market will continuously decline throughout the forecast period and beyond,” it reads.