Alternative to opioids: Marijuana

The grips of the opioid crisis hold prevalent, and many citizens suffering from chronic pain are searching for a better option – could marijuana be the answer? For some, the thought of using one drug to replace another just doesn’t add up. Scott Greenlee, director of the Healthy and Productive Michigan initiative and former Michigan Republican Party vice chairman, spoke on his concerns with marijuana use. “Last time I checked, Michigan is still part of the United States and it [marijuana use] is against the law federally,” Greenlee said. “Just because some states have ignored that, I don’t believe Michigan should pick and choose which federal laws they’re going to start or stop following.”
For others, marijuana was a key factor in finding a path away from opioids.

War on opioids affects local community

The opioid crisis has impacted communities across the nation, and Lansing is no exception. Walnut Neighborhood, located between Old Town and downtown Lansing, is currently struggling with an incoming drug rehabilitation facility proposed in their community. With a lot of turn-of-the-century homes, this neighborhood was part of the original plat of designed homes for Lansing. This is also where the former Michigan School for the Blind campus is located. A house on that land, known as the Superintendent’s house, is where the proposed drug rehabilitation facility is going to be.

Lansing Housing Commission to fill mental health void

On March 30, the Lansing City Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting where Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson, director of human relations and community services at the Lansing at City Hall, discussed the lack of mental health resources for the Lansing Housing Commission (LHC). Federal dollars have continuously been cut. As a result, the LHC does not have the funds to help individuals who have mental health challenges, Johnson said. Cindi Borgman, housing and residential supervisor at Community Mental Health, said this is a result of the state having a general fund deficit for the last few years. “We (the state) had to eliminate services,” Borgman said.

Taste and tour of Old Town

Taste and Tour Old Town is a annual event that brings over 500 people to view the lofts in the neighborhood. The area restaurants help out by having different things for visitors to taste and some of the restaurants join together so that every business can be involved. This year, the event is going to happen on April 7 from 12 a.m. –  5 p.m. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 day of and $15 for loft tour only. Vanessa Shafer, Executive Director of the Old Town Commercial Association, said “the event had different lofts,apartments and food tastings.”

Chad Jordan, owner of Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, said that “ the event is a fundraiser for the Old Town Commercial Association.

Pablo Malnado, owner of Pablo’s Panaderia, said the restaurant  is involved with Taste and tour and they give out food which brings new customers.