What does the passage of Prop 1 mean for small communities?

It’s been five weeks since Michigan votes decided to legalize recreational marijuana, but Williamston City Manager Corey Schmidt said he does not expect a huge change for community residents. “To the extent that is, if it’s occurring in public, there could be some ramifications there,” said Schmidt. “But as of right now, when I talked to our police chiefs and whatnot, we just don’t expect a huge change.”

With the passing of Proposal 1, all communities who are against it still have the opportunity to opt-out of dispensaries within their city limits. Communities had this ability to opt-out when medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan. The Williamston City Council has been debating this issue for months.

Tensions rise as unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries continue to grow in Lansing

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.

Regulation of medical marijuana could generate millions for state

By JASMINE WATTS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Medical marijuana could generate up to $63.5 million in revenue for Michigan, according to a recent study. Hillsdale College economist Gary Wolfram’s analysis shows how a proposed regulatory framework for medical marijuana could boost the economy by getting more patients registered for medical marijuana and allowing more forms of use. “In 2008 medical marijuana became legal in Michigan,” said Wolfram. “This analysis is a matter of what would happen if it was regulated and taxed.”

The analysis estimates that 10,000 new jobs could be created in the industry. “These jobs will include everything from growing the plant to jobs behind the counter,” Wolfram said.

New tax, regulations proposed for medical marijuana

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.

Mason City Council regulates medical marijuana dispensaries

By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer

Mason City Council members adopted an ordinance and a moratorium on regulating local medical marijuana dispensaries on Monday, March 17. Ordinance 196 requires that marijuana dispensaries be licensed and regulated by the city. The moratorium pushes back any licensing 180 days. Councilmembers were prompted to vote on the preventative measures after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the city of Wyoming couldn’t ban the use or growth of medical marijuana within its boundaries. “I feel that the moratorium gives us protection while we wait for the fluidity of legislation or the federal government to rule one way or another,” said Mayor Pro Tem Robin Naeyaert.

Voters have spoken, but police have final say

By LAUREN GIBBONS
Capital News Service
LANSING — Supporters of marijuana decriminalization proposals passed in five Michigan cities say the move is a symbolic step towards better regulation, but residents still might want to wait before lighting up, according to law enforcement officials. Ballot proposals expanding legal marijuana use beyond current state and federal law earned voter approval by wide margins Nov. 6 in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Ypsilanti. Voters in Detroit and Flint supported decriminalization of less than one ounce of marijuana for those older than 21 and 19, respectively. Grand Rapids voted to make marijuana possession a civil infraction, Ypsilanti determined marijuana possession to be the city’s “lowest police priority,” and Kalamazoo received voter authorization to construct up to three medical marijuana dispensaries within city limits.

Late bills flow with little chance of passage

By SILU GUO
Capital News Service
LANSING – Coming up soon is the end of the political year, but some lawmakers are still proposing bills, even if they might not pass this term. “It is not impossible but it is hard, really hard,” said Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, “especially for a newly introduced bill.”
Kahn introduced a bill on Oct. 17 to allow the sale of marijuana through licensed facilities. The bill would control an individual’s possession and use of the drug. He was asked to introduce it because he is a physician.

Public disagreement with medical marijuana ban

by Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON – Williamston residents don’t agree with a zoning ordinance amendment that makes medical marijuana dispensaries illegal within the city. The amendment was passed March 12 after over a year of debate and three moratoriums that suspended the growing of marijuana in the city. It will become effective on April 2. Although the amendment does not directly mention medical marijuana, it clearly bans its growth by declaring that any uses or purposes contrary to federal laws are prohibited. Michael Gradis, the community development director, said that there was not a lot of public comment or participation during the debate.

Students, others seek clarity in conflicting interpretation of medical marijuana law

By Alex Mitchell
Capital News Service
LANSING—Michigan’s Attorney General says police become drug traffickers under federal law if they return confiscated medical marijuana to patients. But Lansing defense attorney Matt Newburg says that’s ridiculous since Michigan’s law states marijuana can be returned after verifying a patient’s information. Such disputes are evidence of the confusion surrounding medical marijuana, leaving students and others struggling to understand a law that can seemingly change overnight. That’s why the Michigan State University Rotaract Club, a branch of Rotary International, recently invited Newburg to discuss marijuana laws. The way the law is enforced incentivizes cops to arrest patients, said Newburg, whose firm deals almost exclusively with criminal defense cases pertaining to medical marijuana.