Michigan Initiative Approved to Start Collecting Signatures


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The Michigan State Board of Canvassers officially approved the ballot language put forth by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

The campaign committee will have 180 days to gather the 252,523 valid signatures needed to place the issue on the November 2018 ballot. An official signature collection kick-off event will be held before the end of May.

If ultimately passed by Michigan voters in November 2018, the initiative would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older; legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp; license marijuana businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana; and tax marijuana at retail levels with proceeds to support K-12 public schools, roads, and local governments.

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Ballot Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Filed in Michigan


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The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has filed a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Michigan.

The signature drive is expected to begin shortly after the State Board of Canvassers meets to review and approve the petition language. After that, the campaign must collect enough signatures to place the marijuana legalization initiative on Michigan’s November 2018 statewide ballot.

Like Michigan’s medical marijuana law, the initiative would create five categories of licensed marijuana businesses that would be regulated by the state and subject to local control. This would include cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters, and retailers.

The initiative would allow adults age 21 and older to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their residences. The law would also legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.

If the initiative is approved by voters in November 2018, Michigan would join Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana for adults.

For more information about the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, please visit RegulateMI.org.

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MPP to Host Events in Michigan to Explore 2018 Initiative to Regulate Marijuana


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2000px-seal_of_michigan-svgThis year, MPP was instrumental in passing a number of marijuana policy reform initiatives around the country. We are very interested in bringing our expertise to Michigan for a November 2018 initiative. We’d like to team up with local advocates and make Michigan the first in the Midwest to replace prohibition with sensible regulation.
In mid-December, MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia and Director of State Policies Karen O’Keefe will hold public forums in three major Michigan cities to hear from local advocates, and to discuss what it’ll take to legalize marijuana in the Great Lakes State.
Thursday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m.
Grand Rapids Community College
 
Friday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m.
The Om of Medicine, Ann Arbor
 
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2:00 p.m.
University of Michigan Detroit Center, downtown Detroit
Please spread the word to other sensible Michiganders. Together, we can consign marijuana prohibition to the dustbin of history!
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Michigan Lawmakers Adopt Regulatory System for Medical Marijuana, Allow Extracts


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The Michigan Legislature passed a series of bills this month that overhaul the state’s medical marijuana program. This is the culmination of a multi-year debate on how, and whether, the state should allow and regulate medical marijuana businesses. It is a major — and controversial — milestone for patients and those who serve them. The bills now head to the governor, who is expected to sign them.
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For many years, federal and state law enforcement authorities obtained warrants, raided locations, arrested compassionate business owners, took property, and jailed individuals they said violated state law. It has been clear that Michigan’s patchwork system, in which some local communities embrace businesses that state law considers illegal, needed revision. News stories involving aggressive law enforcement tactics, particularly in rural communities in Michigan, have been far too common.
Based on similar laws in other medical marijuana states, the bills passed today represent an opportunity for businesses to get much-needed legal protections. While few business owners like the idea of being subject to more regulation and greater costs, the updates to Michigan’s program were important and to some extent inevitable.

 

In addition to providing for state-legal dispensaries, the bills will finally allow Michigan patients to use extracts and products like oils and edibles that are made from them.

MPP thanks the National Patients Rights Association and those who support it for working so hard to help guide these changes in the best direction possible

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Michigan House Approves Medical Marijuana Regulation Bills


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Three bills that would add much-needed guidelines for medical marijuana businesses passed on a vote in the Michigan House today. These bills would establish clear, statewide protections for dispensaries, ensure patients can legally access non-smoked medical cannabis products, and establish tracking requirements for businesses involved in medical marijuana production.

As we approach the end of the year, time is running short. If you are a Michigan resident, be sure your senator knows you support quick passage.image-michigan-cropped

The changes appearing in these bills are long overdue. HB 4209 provides the basic framework, including a business licensing system and testing and labeling requirements, among other provisions. HB 4210 makes critical changes to the definition of “medical marijuana” so that non-smoked forms can be available to patients. The third bill, HB 4827, establishes production and inventory tracking requirements.

Last minute improvements were made — most notably a reduction in a proposed tax on medical cannabis sales. The proposed tax of 8% (in addition to the standard state sales tax) was lowered to 3%. While this provision and others are still not perfect, the vast majority of the proposed new system is reasonable and similar to other regulated programs around the country.

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Legalization Bill Introduced in Michigan


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Rep. Jeff Irwin

Yesterday, Rep. Jeff Irwin introduced HB 4877, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in Michigan and treat cannabis similarly to alcohol.

This historic bill would provide protections for Michiganders and state visitors aged 21 and over, license and regulate businesses, establish testing requirements for cannabis, and many other sensible provisions. Six representatives joined with Rep. Irwin in support, including Reps. Singh, Robinson, Hovey-Wright, Chang, Hoadley, and Roberts.

In addition to Rep. Irwin’s bill, two efforts are currently underway in Michigan to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adults through the voter initiative process. Michigan now has several options to end the failed policy of prohibition, and 2016 could be the year Michigan joins those that have chosen a better path.

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Michigan Official Rejects Autism as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program


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On Thursday, a Michigan official denied an application to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state.

Detroit Free Press reports:

The decision followed three years of efforts by parents of autistic children, their lawyers and supporters to have Michigan become the first state to specify that marijuana could be used to treat autism.

Mike Zimmer, appointed in December as director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — LARAlara — said he was concerned that an approval would apply not just to serious cases of autism but to all cases. And he said that parents applying to use medical pot would need the approval of two medical doctors, yet there was no requirement that either doctor be experienced in treating autism.

No state specifically allows medical cannabis for autism, although California and Washington, D.C., allow using the drug for any condition that a medical doctor believes it may help, said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit group that favors legalizing marijuana.

A bill that would broaden Michigan’s medical marijuana act to allow other forms of medical pot — House Bill 4210, sponsored by state Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto — has been in the House Judiciary Committee since February, after a similar bill failed to pass last year.

While this is disappointing, it does provide a road map of sorts for a successful application next time. Hopefully, autism sufferers will soon be able to access medical marijuana in Michigan.

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Michigan Legislature to Consider Bills to Regulate Marijuana


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Rep. Jeff Irwin

Michigan Rep. Jeff Irwin believes in regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol, and he is now in the process of introducing a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in Michigan and treat marijuana similarly to alcohol. Rep. Irwin is now seeking representatives to co-sponsor this historic bill, and you can help.

If you are a Michigan resident, please take just a few moments to send a message to your representative to ask that he or she sign on as co-sponsor to this bill, which we believe is the first of its kind in the Great Lakes State.

Voters in Colorado support marijuana legalization more today than when their law was passed in 2012. Both national and Michigan polls regularly find majority support for this better approach.

In addition to Rep. Irwin’s legislation, three organizations have either begun gathering signatures for a legalization ballot initiative for the 2016 election or announced possible interest in doing so. For more information on the different efforts, take a look here.Whether through the legislative process or a voter initiative, legalization is the future of marijuana in Michigan.

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Another Michigan City Decriminalizes Marijuana


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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.

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Michigan Lawmakers Consider Bills to Improve Medical Marijuana Program


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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.

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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.

 

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