MPP to Host Events in Michigan to Explore 2018 Initiative to Regulate Marijuana
Michigan Lawmakers Adopt Regulatory System for Medical Marijuana, Allow Extracts
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
Michigan House Approves Medical Marijuana Regulation Bills
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.
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.
Legalization Bill Introduced in Michigan
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.
Michigan Official Rejects Autism as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program
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 — LARA — 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.
Michigan Legislature to Consider Bills to Regulate Marijuana
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.