Tag Archives: Michigan

Another Michigan City Decriminalizes Marijuana

Yesterday, 66% of East Lansing, Michigan, voters approved a local charter amendment to decriminalize marijuana possession and transfer by adults 21 and older of up to one ounce of marijuana. Under Michigan state law, possession of a small amount of marijuana — even a single gram — is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Unfortunately, East Lansing police could still choose to arrest under the harsh state law, despite the mandate from voters.

Please take a moment to ask your state legislators to bring East Lansing’s reform to all of Michigan!

This idea is hardly new. Nineteen states have already decriminalized or — in four cases — legalized marijuana. In neighboring Ohio, possession of up to 100 grams is punishable by a small fine, not by jail time. These laws save law enforcement resources that would otherwise be spent prosecuting and jailing non-violent marijuana users, allowing police and prosecutors to spend more time going after violent criminals.

Michigan Lawmakers Consider Bills to Improve Medical Marijuana Program

This year, the Michigan Legislature will again have an opportunity to pass much-needed protections for medical marijuana patients and providers. Two bills will be presented in the coming days — one would help ensure that patients have regular and safe access to their medicine through provisioning centers, and another would create clear legal protections for marijuana extracts, a key ingredient in tinctures, edibles, and topicals. MPP strongly supports both these efforts.

Mike callton 1
Rep. Mike Callton

Rep. Mike Callton will again sponsor a bill to clearly allow and regulate medical marijuana provisioning centers. Rep. Lisa Lyons has stepped forward to sponsor a bill that ensures that extractions and the products made from them clearly fall under the definition of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, heavy lobbying efforts in the closing days of the 2014 legislative session by the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association succeeded in derailing these popular efforts late last year, despite the hard work by advocates and strong support from both legislators and the governor’s office.

The state’s seriously ill patients deserve better than a continuation of the same patchwork policies, and cities like Detroit have been particularly vocal about the need for reform.

If you are a Michigan resident, please take a minute to ask your representative to co-sponsor these important bills.

 

Down to the Wire in Michigan Legislature

We are down to the final two days of the 2014 legislative session in Michigan, and this is the last opportunity to pass two critically important bills. HB 5104 would protect patients who consume non-smoked forms of marijuana, while HB 4271 would create clear legal protections for medical marijuana provisioning centers (dispensaries) to ensure patients have safe and regular access to medical marijuana.

Both bills must pass out of the Senate committee and receive a vote on the floor before time runs out on Thursday. Law enforcement has been lobbying hard against these compassionate measures, and it’s crucial your senator hears from you. If you are a Michigan resident, please ask your senator to support these bills and demand that the Senate take up both measures today.

Then, please ask the governor to support these critical measures for the good of all Michiganders!

Currently, non-smoked forms of marijuana are not considered “usable marijuana,” and therefore can’t be legally consumed by those who prefer not to smoke –- sometimes leading to tragic consequences. At the same time, provisioning centers do not have clear protections under Michigan law, which harms patients who should have safe, regulated access to medicine. These bills both make huge improvements for patients. Both passed by wide margins in the House, and now we are down to the final steps in the Senate.

Help spread the word by passing this message to friends, relatives and supporters in Michigan.

 

Michigan Court Overturns Medical Marijuana Conviction Because of Prosecutor’s Closing Rant

Last month, a Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of a man charged with cultivating marijuana for medical purposes. During the original trial, the prosecutor used her closing arguments to viciously criticize Michigan’s medical marijuana program.

The prosecutor’s closing argument was clearly and thoroughly improper. The prosecutor embarks on a political commentary, and a personal diatribe discrediting the MMA as a whole, claiming (without supporting evidence) that its protections are being abused by recreational users and exploitative physicians…and suggests that those suffering from chronic pain are simply cheating the system. She also denigrates the general population of lawful medical marijuana users, claiming that they attract violence to the community and advocate that everyone be allowed to “walk around stoned.” Finally, she states that it is unfortunate that the jury cannot judge the MMA…By making these unfounded, irrelevant and inflammatory statements, the prosecutor essentially argues that defendant’s affirmative defense is nothing more than a drain on the community, and that even if he is innocent under the MMA he is simply exploiting the system. As a result, the prosecutor encouraged the jury to convict defendant despite the protections of the Section 8 defense. This affected defendant’s substantial rights.

Hearing people in law enforcement use their positions to inappropriately cast dispersions on medical marijuana laws and patients is nothing new, but this is a rare occurrence where the consequences negatively impacted the prosecutor instead of the patient on trial. Police and prosecutors in medical marijuana states need to respect their laws instead of using people’s lives and freedom to protest policies they do not like.

Majority of Americans Continue to Support Making Marijuana Legal in the U.S.

According to a recent Gallup Poll, 51% of Americans favor making the use of marijuana legal — similar to the 50% who supported it in 2011 and 2012 — but down from 58% support last year.

The October 12-15 Gallup poll was conducted in the run-up to the midterm elections, in which various marijuana policy reform ballot measures were before voters in Alaska, Oregon, Washington D.C., and Florida, as well as in many cities in Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, and elsewhere.

Last year was the first time that Gallup found an overwhelming majority in favor of making marijuana legal, at a solid 58%. This year, however, support is shown to be at 51%, which is still a majority, though the percentage is closer to where it was in 2011 and 2012.

According to the communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project, Mason Tvert:

While most observers would agree there was solid majority support in 2013, many thought 58% was questionably high. Rarely, if ever, do you see public opinion on a controversial social issue jump as much as seven points in the course of one year. It will be interesting to see if the same opponents who declared such a large increase was impossible last year will have the same analysis of such a large decrease this year.  

Things are moving in one direction when it comes to the tangible products of public opinion. I would take passage of laws in two states and our nation’s capital over some jumpy poll results any day. If Gallup finds 49% support in 2016 after five more states vote to end marijuana prohibition, I could live with that. 

The bottom line is that public support for making the use of marijuana legal has clearly increased and continues to increase as more Americans recognize that it makes no sense to punish responsible adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. Four states, the nation’s capital, and two East Coast cities now legally allow the use of marijuana. It is clear that momentum is growing across the nation for marijuana policy reform.