The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act establishes state law immunity to prosecution of those who use marijuana for medical purposes. This act was voter initiated and establishes qualifying patient and primary caregiver status. In Bath Township, Planning Director Brian Shorkey created a survey for the Bath community on new medical marijuana facility regulations, and whether or not it is right for the Township. “We want to hear from our residents first,” Shorkey said. “This is a big step within our community.
By LAINA STEBBINS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Depending on who’s talking, Michigan’s new medical marijuana laws could streamline marijuana operations into a lucrative source of local revenue, or allow for an unnecessary expansion of the medical marijuana industry in the state. Still another group says the laws overlook confusion about dispensaries’ legality, which has led to police raids and facilities going out of business. The new legislation — which was signed into law in December 2016 and takes effect in December 2017 — creates three classes of medical marijuana growers, allows dispensaries to apply for licenses according to the new three-tiered class system, creates a statewide tracking system for commercial marijuana and sets a state tax on dispensaries. One thing that will stay the same, much to the dismay of many medical marijuana providers, or “caregivers” – is a provision left over from the 2008 “Medical Marihuana Act” allowing communities to decide whether to allow medical marijuana facilities to operate in their area, and on what terms. That means cities and townships can still pass ordinances banning medical marijuana facilities in their area, even if facilities were already in existence. “The real power is in the local units of government,” said Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson.
When attorney Jeffrey Hank drafted East Lansing’s successful ballot proposal to decriminalize the possession of marijuana in 2015, residents under the age of 21 were left in a legal limbo. “There was still a huge debate whether to go 18, 19 or 21 years of age,” said Hank. “We went with 21 because it was the most politically safe.” The proposal mandated that those over 21 could possess up to an ounce of marijuana, but those under 21 could still face a misdemeanor charge, along with a hefty fine and jail time, if caught in possession of the drug. On Oct.
By Emily Elconin
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter
Co-owners Brian Hamilton and Ronnie Sartain of Puff N’ Stuff dispensary located at 229 W. Grand River Ave. in Old Town share a passion for the legalization of medical marijuana. After sustaining personal injuries from a motorcycle accident and a broken ankle, Hamilton and Sartain made a decision to stop using opiates to alleviate pain and start using cannabis as an alternative painkiller. Although medical marijuana is considered by some experts to be a viable alternative to traditional painkillers, tensions continue to rise in Lansing regarding a new ordinance that addresses regulation and zoning for medical marijuana facilities. As dispensaries surrounding the outskirts of Old Town still remain unregulated, the amount of dispensaries open raises concern for public safety in the community.
By Alexander Smith
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
Medical marijuana dispensaries are all over Lansing, and each one is different. Some look professional, others look questionable, and on some streets, they are right across from each other. Spacing between dispensaries is one of the many regulations laid out in the official city ordinance, but the ordinance has never been enforced. In State of Michigan v. McQueen, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act does not permit patient-to-patient transfers of marijuana. In his dissent, former Justice Michael F. Cavanagh said the majority’s decision meant “…virtually all medical-marijuana dispensaries are illegal and thus enjoinable as a nuisance because those operations facilitate patient-to patient transfers of marijuana.”
City Ordinance 1168 was passed in 2011 and laid out regulations and licensing procedure for dispensaries in Lansing.
By BROOKE KANSIER
Capital News Service
LANSING – Medical marijuana patients might have a bit harder time paying for their pot if tax legislation that recently passed the House becomes law. Current medical marijuana regulations don’t include any tax on the drug, but that could change under a three-bill package that passed the House in a landslide vote. One sponsor, Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, also a chiropractor, said the legislation is an important move for Michigan as the possibility of legalization looms.
“We need to address this before it addresses us,” Callton said. “What happens in some places that legalize is you have no laws, no regulatory structure. It was really hard for them to get Pandora back in the box.
By AMELIA HAVANEC
Capital News Service
LANSING – For years, police officers have used portable Breathalyzers to check drivers’ blood alcohol level. But there’s never been a portable marijuana-testing equivalent at officers’ disposal, according to Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. Jones is sponsoring a bill with Sens. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, and Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, that would allow on-site drug checks. It would authorize State Police to collect Breathalyzer test results and saliva samples during a traffic stop for the duration of a year.
Mayor Virg Bernero was spotted at Hash Bash on April 4, 2015. Hash Bash is an annual event in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a main goal to motivate the legalization of marijuana. Bernero was a speaker at the event and a support of the legalization of marijuana. Listen to Bernero’s take on marijuana legalization in the video below:
With the possible decriminalization of marijuana looming in East Lansing, Lansing dispensaries and resource centers don’t seem to be too troubled by the possibility of more competition popping up in East Lansing. On May 5, East Lansing voters will decide whether to decriminalize marijuana in the community, following a similar move by Lansing in fall of 2013. Tiffany Savoie, manager of Pure Options located on South Pennsylvania Avenue, would like to see more dispensaries open in hopes that they follow laws correctly, unlike some that are open now. Pure Options is a provisioning center that unites caregivers and medical marijuana patients, and also provides medicine for those patients. “I think that it would be a good thing if the proposal passed because it would set into place rules and regulations that a lot of dispensaries in the area aren’t abiding to,” said Savoie.
“It can happen to anyone. I’ve seen it a lot,” Aaron Emerson said. Unsuspecting teens are becoming addicted to prescription pills, and moving on to more dangerous drugs. It’s in our medicine cabinets and prescribed by doctors. Prescription drugs, such as opioids, are available for helping people overcome pain and other medical issues, yet sometimes lead people down an addictive road.