News flash to the Obama administration: if your recent crackdown on medical marijuana was intended to discourage states from passing or considering laws that allow for dispensaries, it’s not working. Since a rash of intimidating letters from U.S. Attorneys were distributed early last year, state regulated dispensaries have opened in Maine, and laws that call for them were enacted in Vermont and Delaware. Four other “states” (Washington D.C. is one) are in some stage of implementing regulated dispensaries, and two states, Colorado and New Mexico, have regulated dispensaries that have been up and running throughout this time.
Now Michigan might be joining them. Earlier today legislation was introduced in Lansing that would explicitly recognize medical marijuana dispensaries—known as “provisioning centers” under the bill. It sets minimum statewide security and safety regulations, but allows local municipalities to regulate them further. The bill aims to clarify what the Michigan press often calls a legal “gray area,” in which dispensaries currently operate but are often raided or shut down and subject to radically different treatment from one city to the next.
The irony of Obama’s crackdown is that it uses the Controlled Substances Act to prevent states from doing just that – controlling substances. In fact, Representative Mike Callton, a Republican, says he’s sponsoring the bill to help keep surplus marijuana out of the black market. “It also provides for local control,” Callton said. “A locality can determine if that’s right for their community and if that’s right for their community, how many do they want?”
Jimmy Kimmel drew laughs at this weekend’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner for calling out the president on his senseless crackdown. Let’s hope the continuing tide of states defying that crackdown shows the president this is no laughing matter.