Senator Calls Out Big Pharma For Opposing Legal Marijuana
A prominent Democratic U.S. senator is slamming pharmaceutical companies for opposing marijuana legalization.
"To them it's competition for chronic pain, and that's outrageous because we don't have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said. "It's not the same thing. It's not as highly addictive as opioids are."
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
"On the federal level, we really need to say it is a legal drug you can access if you need it," she said.
Gillibrand, in an appearance on Good Day New York on Friday morning, was responding to a question about whether marijuana is a "gateway drug" that leads people to try more dangerous substances.
"I don't see it as a gateway to opioids," she said. "What I see is the opioid industry and the drug companies that manufacture it, some of them in particular, are just trying to sell more drugs that addict patients and addict people across this country."
Legalization advocates have long speculated that "Big Pharma" is working behind the scenes to maintain cannabis prohibition. And in 2016, Insys Therapeutics, which makes products containing fentanyl and other opioids, as well as a synthetic version of the cannabinoid THC, donated half a million dollars to help defeat a marijuana legalization measure that appeared on Arizona's ballot that year.
Numerous studies have shown that legal marijuana access is associated with reduced opioid overdose rates.
Research published this month, for example, concluded that "legally protected and operating medical marijuana dispensaries reduce opioid-related harms," suggesting that "some individuals may be substituting towards marijuana, reducing the quantity of opioids they consume or forgoing initiation of opiates altogether."
"Marijuana is a far less addictive substance than opioids and the potential for overdosing is nearly zero,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of Health Economics.
Last week, Gillibrand became the second cosponsor of far-reaching Senate legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and withhold federal funding from states that have racially disproportionate enforcement of cannabis laws.
“Millions of Americans’ lives have been devastated because of our broken marijuana policies, especially in communities of color and low-income communities,” she said at the time. "Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address."
Gillibrand is also a sponsor of far-reaching medical cannabis legislation and recently signed a letter calling for new protections for state marijuana laws to be inserted into federal spending legislation.
"I think medical marijuana could be treatment for a lot of folks," she said in the interview on Friday. "A lot of veterans have told us that this is the best treatment for them. I do not see it as a gateway drug."
Many political observers have speculated that Gillibrand will run for her party's presidential nomination in 2020. She and at least two other potential Democratic contenders have already endorsed marijuana legalization.
Tom Angell publishes Marijuana Moment news and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Follow Tom on Twitter for breaking news and subscribe to his daily newsletter.
NIDA says there is no gateway theory of marijuana.
LANSING, MI - It was chilly on the morning of Dec. 15., but Michigan State Police stood outside a state office building. They were there for safety, ready, as the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation opened its doors, for some applicants to show up with the $6,000 application fee in cash.
Michigan lawmakers authorized a new medical marijuana industry in 2016, and the state began accepting applications to be a part of it on Dec. 15, 2017. But businesses seeking inclusion are already running into a roadblock: banks won't take their money.
"It's not that banks don't want to. It becomes a very significant risk," said Patricia Herndon, senior vice president of government affairs for the Michigan Bankers Association.
Michigan created a $837M medical marijuana industry with nowhere to put its cash
Updated Feb 14, 7:46 AM; Posted Feb 14, 7:45 AM
By Emily Lawler
Federally, marijuana is considered a Schedule I substance, a category that means the government considers it to have no medical use and a high potential for addiction. The revenue from a state-authorized medical or recreational marijuana business can potentially be viewed as drug money by the federal government.
In Michigan, medical marijuana is legal and its industry is projected to expand rapidly. A House Fiscal Agency analysis of the bill lawmakers approved projected it would grow to $837 million annually. As of Feb. 2 there were already 146 businesses who have submitted prequalifications with the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, and another 618 had started the online application process.
But without being able to rely on basic banking services, those medical marijuana business owners are struggling with how to remain above-board.
Paul Samways, an accountant with Cannabis Accounting, said he's currently going out to clients to count their cash. And when the businesses start operating under the new scheme, it only gets more complicated if they can't cut checks or store money.
"These guys aren't hiding stuff in their mattress, they want to be above-board, they want to make sure everybody knows what's going on, they want to pay their taxes... how do you do it without a bank account?" Samways asked.
Banks shy away from marijuana money
Acting as a bank for a medical marijuana business was a thorny issue to begin with, and one that's gotten more difficult in wake of a memo issued by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month.
Banks that want to handle medical marijuana business money have to do a lot of due diligence at a high upfront cost to ensure compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering rules, Herndon said.
But on Jan. 4, Sessions repealed an Obama-era policy known as the Cole memo, which instructed federal prosecutors since 2013 not to prioritize the enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws in some instances where states had their own marijuana laws on the books. Now, federal prosecutors are using their discretion on the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.
Sessions policy shift on marijuana could have implications for Michigan
"That rescission adds even greater uncertainty to this," Herndon said. "I will say that they continue to look at this, there's been no declaration from the U.S. district attorney that there's going to be an active force in that direction."
Before that move, there had been an uptick nationally in banks serving the medical marijuana industry. According to a report from the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, 400 financial institutions were banking with marijuana businesses in September of 2017, which represented steady growth.
And some states have found ways around needing buy-in from financial institutions. In Hawaii, state officials collaborated with a cashless service called CanPay and Safe Harbor Private Banking, a marijuana-specific financial institution, to let medical marijuana businesses handle transactions.
In Maryland and Florida, banks have quietly popped up to fill the void.
But Florida's bank is backing out now. With Michigan's industry coming online at the same time banks are grappling with the Sessions memo, it's not clear any financial institutions will rush to fill the void.
Samways looked into the possibility of starting a state-chartered credit union that would accept medical marijuana money a few years ago. The problem he ran into, he said, was that he couldn't get a master account in the federal reserve without compromising the medical marijuana money.
"What happens is if you don't have a federal reserve master account, you can't cash checks or take debit cards or transfer money into the money super-highway," he said.
As of now, Herndon said, no Michigan bank has publicly come forward as accepting medical marijuana money.
Lawmakers look for solutions
Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., is the sponsor of House Bill 5144, which was signed into law last month. It makes several refinements to the medical marijuana law the state passed in December of 2016. Among the changes, it specifies that an accountant or financial institution providing services to someone licensed under the Medical Marihuana Act wouldn't be subject to penalties.
Kesto said the intent was not to hold banks accountable for providing somebody with their banking records.
"Because in order to apply for a license you have to go and get your banking records. So if you went to the teller or the clerk or whoever was going to assist you, then we don't want to subject them to any criminal laws that then may be out there. We specifically codify that," Kesto said.
The same idea applies to certified public accountants, he said.
To apply for a license to be a medical marijuana grower, processer, tester, transporter or dispensary, applicants have to prove they meet a capital requirement, which is often dependent on financial records. It's CPAs who provide an attestation that applicants have met those requirements.
And that's just for the application process. But when marijuana businesses actually start pulling in money, they'll run into another problem, one Kesto acknowledges. Where are they supposed to store it?
"I think that it makes a lot of people nervous. I bet the people who have to hold that cash are nervous, because that makes them a target as well," Kesto said. "Law enforcement is probably nervous because they have to enforce the laws if there's theft, or robberies, or what have you. So I think that we have to be cognizant of that."
Rep. Pete Lucido, R-Shelby Twp., is looking to answer that with House Joint Resolution CC, which would create a state bank capable of handling money from marijuana businesses. Without some kind of solution, he said, Michigan would have a huge industry that basically lacked the ability to put its revenue back into the economy. Right now, he said, people could get stuck keeping it in mattresses and coffee cans.
"What other safe harbor do we have? If the banks can't touch the proceeds and the credit unions can't touch the proceeds from the sale of marijuana, then what do we leave those that are in the business that are regulated by the state as it relates to licensing? Even the labs that test it would be barred from putting the proceeds into the bank or credit union because it violates federal law," Lucido said.
So far, Lucido said, South Dakota is the only other state with a state bank. South Dakonta authorized it close to 100 years ago and don't have medical marijuana. But Michigan has a chance to open their own and be a leader, he said.
He doesn't necessarily think a state bank competing with private banking services is a good idea. But right now, it's what he's got.
"I would surely think that if the banking industry and credit union industry have an alternative, they can sure knock on my door and give it to me," Lucido said.
Magnitude of problem could grow with legalization
Try as state lawmakers might, it's not clear that they have the power to address the issue, at least through regular banks.
"Very little can be done at this point, at the state level, to impact the prohibitions and the obstacles that are put into place that are keeping us from jumping into this," Herndon said.
Right now the state's talking about a potentially $837 million medical marijuana industry with banking issues. But if a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use passes, even more businesses and more dollars could have trouble accessing traditional banking systems.
Josh Hovey, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group pushing for legalization, said based off what other states have experienced, "We're thinking that once the market is fully established that Michigan could be generating anywhere from $100 million to $200 million a year in tax revenue."
That's a lot of money to think about collecting from a cash-only business. But he's hopeful Congress will broker a federal solution.
"I think it's something that Congress is starting to look at and realizing that there's a whole lot of money out there that the IRS needs to be collecting, that state governments need to be collecting," Hovey said.
But absent that - or any potential state action - Michigan's marijuana industry will likely be a cash one.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions January 4th memo regarding marijuana enforcement is historic... and it should promptly be consigned to the dustbin of history. Mr. Session’s very name is a history lesson. Like his father and grandfather, he was named after Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederacy and P.G.T. Beauregard, the first prominent general of the Confederate Army. These were the men who lead the people of Alabama in their desire and purpose to join the “slave-holding states” to secede from the U.S. and form a government where “in no case shall citizenship extend to any person who is not a free white person.” See Alabama Ordinance of Secession. Mr. Sessions memo overturning Obama era guidelines for federal marijuana prosecutions is entirely consistent his historic roots. Here’s why.
When the South failed in its quest to preserve the “peculiar institution” of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation followed. “Separate but equal” became the rallying cry to keep whiteness supreme. With Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this became impossible. American society convulsed. In 1968, Richard Nixon took the White House by appealing to the “silent (white) majority” and exploiting Southern fears of the recently empowered African-Americans. The South has been Republican ever since. Here’s how Nixon did it.
He declared a War on Drugs. John Ehrlichman a Nixon staffer revealed the real roots of the criminal prohibition of marijuana and other substances: “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
By 1980 with the ascension of Ronald Reagan (and Nancy Reagan’s vacuous “Just Say No”), the drug war was hitting its stride. George H.W. Bush amended the Posse Comitatus Act to allow the military to be used as a domestic police force in the drug war, effectively para-militarizing police forces across the nation. In 1994, Bill Clinton passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. In the 22 years since the bill was passed, the federal prison population more than doubled. War is a bi-partisan vice, and scare-mongering reliably delivers votes. It is to this era that Mr. Sessions seeks to return us with his memo. That is because the war on drugs has been extraordinarily successful in its primary purpose: to vilify Blacks and the Anti-war left, arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and put them in jail.
By 2000, incarceration numbers began to become available in parts of the South demonstrating that the drug war increasingly was a war on African Americans, particularly Black males of prime breeding age. One in three black men in the United States between the ages of 20 and 29 years old was under correctional supervision or control. Among the nearly 1.9 million offenders incarcerated on June 30, 1999, more than 560,000 were black males between the ages of 20 and 39. At those levels of incarceration, newborn Black males in this country had a greater than 1 in 4 chance of going to prison during their lifetimes, while Latin-American males have a 1 in 6 chance, and white males have a 1 in 23 chance of serving time. The United States was incarcerating African-American men at a rate that was approximately four times the rate of incarceration of Black men in South Africa. The rate of imprisonment for black women was more than eight times the rate of imprisonment of white women; the rate of imprisonment of Hispanic women was nearly four times the rate of imprisonment of white women.
We can trace those disparities directly to discriminatory and selective enforcement of the drug laws. Most illicit drug users were white. There were an estimated 9.9 million whites (72 percent of all users), 2.0 million blacks (15 percent), and 1.4 million Hispanics (10 percent) who were illicit drug users. Yet, blacks constituted 36.8% of those arrested for drug violations, over 42% of those in federal prisons for drug violations and almost 60% of those in state prisons for drug felonies; Hispanics accounted for 22.5%. Drug laws had become the new Jim Crow.
Texas was particularly bad. By 2000, there were more Texans under criminal justice control, 706,600 -- than the entire populations of Vermont, Wyoming or Alaska. Texas’s incarceration rate of 1,035 per 100,000 population tops every state but Louisiana. If Texas were a separate nation, it would have the world’s highest incarceration rate, well above the United States at 682 per 100,000 or Russia's 685. The state's prison population had tripled since 1990, rising more than 60 percent in the past five years -- from 92,669 to 149,684. Black Texans were incarcerated at a rate seven times that of whites -- and at a rate 63 percent higher than the national rate for blacks. Blacks supplied 44 percent of the inmates in Texas although they constituted only 12 percent of the state's population. More than half of all Blacks were in jail in Texas for nonviolent offenses. They ended up picking cotton, herding cattle or, contracted out as labor to assemble computers.
Then came 9/11. Criminal justice reform took a backseat to terror wars until those wars too lost all legitimacy. It was not until the election of Barack Obama and the appointment of Eric Holder that the real roots of this massive, fraudulent, unjust war on drugs began to be addressed. Over the course of that presidency, states were allowed to advance their experiments with medicinal and later adult use marijuana. Civil asset forfeiture at the federal level was reigned in and the use of private, for-profit prisons was curtailed. A key part of this reform was a statement of guiding principles for federal prosecutors regarding marijuana. These guidelines allowed states to proceed with some predictability in their local marijuana programs. Mr. Sessions has undone all of this. Why is this important?
Because the numbers have only grown worse. An African-American in Michigan is three times more likely to be arrested for violating marijuana laws compared to a white person, although surveys and research indicate little difference between usage rates between the two groups. In all, African-Americans comprise about 14 percent of Michigan's population, but 35 percent of marijuana arrests. Overall, African-Americans in Michigan are incarcerated at roughly five times the rate of whites.
The numbers in the white flight counties of the Eastern District of Michigan are even more unconscionable. In St. Clair County, African-Americans make up 2.5% of the total population yet account for 43% of arrests for drug law violations. In Oakland County, African-Americans make up 14.4% of the population yet account for 48% of arrests for drug law violations. In Lapeer County African-Americans make up 1.2% of the population yet account for 10.4% of arrests for drug law violations. In Genesee County African-Americans make up 20% of the population yet account for 76% of drug arrests. This according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Medical marijuana patients and programs are squarely in the cross-fire of a war with deeply racial roots. We say that the only citizen more vulnerable to police misconduct than a young black male in Texas is a medical marijuana patient in Michigan. Mr. Sessions knows all of this. It is in his blood. In his name. This is not accidental. Mr. Sessions and his ilk want to return us to an age when names like Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard are names to be proud of and ditzy slogans like “just say no” and “good people don’t smoke marijuana” substitute for real science. Mr. Sessions war is arbitrary, capricious, and racist. His dismissive memo merely enshrines the worst of policies and promotes selective and discriminatory enforcement of the law.
Can a community that has been abused for years by a corrupt, federal, militarized police force that is selectively enforcing the law on the basis of race organize to end its oppression?
Yes. See e.g. the American Revolution. In 1776, the British Redcoats had become a federal military police force with wide ranging powers to enforce the contraband laws Then, as now, most contraband consisted of drugs, primarily tea and tobacco. Then, as now, the police were allowed to issue “writs of assistance” (roving search warrants devoid of probable cause) allowing them to seize and keep the property of those persons believed to be illicitly trafficking. Then, as now, such power and temptation corrupted the police authorities, resulted in selective enforcement of the law and produced wide scale violations of God-granted liberties. Then, the community organized to resist. The Boston Tea Party, the American Revolution and the Bill of Rights ensued. Among the rights enshrined is the right to organize and to oppose abuses by a federal, corrupt, militarized police force. 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“I thought those guys (the KKK) were alright until I learned they smoke pot.” -- Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III
As this news hit in the last throes of 2017, it seems appropriate to take a step back and understand why exactly marijuana was banned all of those years ago. Please continue reading to find the answers on this long and weird journey through time.
Elderly Couple Stopped In Nebraska With 60 Pounds Of Weed ‘For Christmas Presents’
Marijuana (also known as cannabis sativa or cannabis indica or hemp) has been a medicine for thousands of years. Marijuana is found in all recorded history, on every continent as a medicinal crop. Egypt to China to India to Assyria (Iraq) and Arabia. From the Greeks and Romans to present day.
In the early USA, hemp was an integral part of life. George Washington grew hemp and many colonists grew hemp for cordage and canvas, including ropes and sails for ships. Newspapers in 1841 went into great detail on how to cultivate hemp, including separating the male plants from the female plants.
Many papers also reported stories about having a laugh while smoking hemp, as is the case with this 1850 report from a Paris correspondent for the Medical Times.
(click for a larger view)
There are many examples in American newspapers including poems, insults, references and propaganda on the subject of hasheesh (the old timey spelling of hashish), marijuana, cannabis and hemp. Just look at this article from 1908, they found marihuana in this man’s pocket!
1906 – The Pure Food and Drugs Act Requires Labeling of ingredients of Medicine, Including Cannabis.
Previous to the Pure Food and Drugs Act, many medicines were treated the way Coca-Cola is today. “A secret formula” or “A proprietary blend” of spices and medicines and even poisons including arsenic and strychnine. Writing cannabis on a label did not ban cannabis related medications.
Many major pharmaceutical companies which are still around today, used to sell cannabis based medicines. Pharmacists used to make cannabis based compounds and elixirs and extracts and pills as well.
Newspapers had been printing a lot of yellow journalism on the subject of marijuana over a number of years. Articles were passed around from newspaper to newspaper, with editors changing and inserting local opinion into the reprinted stories.
Sample Articles from Chronicling America:
These are only a handful of articles, more comprehensive research must be done.
“Senseless Brutality. A Mexican Priest Flogs the Corpse of a Dead Wizard.,” The Memphis Appeal(Memphis, TN) , April 18, 1887, Page 1, Image 1, col. 6.
“Victims of a Mexican Drug. From the Mexican Herald.,” The Sun (New York, NY), August 12, 1897, Page 6, Image 6, col. 5. The New York Sun relays a report from the Mexican Herald that “Marihuana, our local hasheesh, continues to impel people of the lower orders to wild and desperate deeds.”
“Stronger Than Opium. Attempt to Smuggle Mariguana into Yuma Prison.,” Tombstone Prospector(Tombstone, AZ), September 15, 1897, Page 4, Image 4, col. 4.
“Across the border. Mexican Herald.,” The Oasis (Arizola, AZ), July 15, 1899, Page 6, Image 6, col. 1. A report from the Mexican Herald of a scene in a civil registry office: “A marihuana fiend suddenly appeared in the office brandishing a knife, declared that he was Herod and his mission was the extermination of new-born infants.”
“Across the border. Two Republics.,” The Oasis (Arizola, AZ), December 30, 1899, Page 10, Image 10, col. 1.
“Dangerous Mexican Weed to Smoke,” Phipllipsburg Herald (Phillipsburg, KS), August 18, 1904, Page 8, Image 8, col. 3.
“Teacher Starr of Chicago Man of Sensations,” San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA), August 25, 1905, Page 8, Image 8, col. 2.
“Stops Sale of Maddening Drug,” New-York Tribune (New York, NY), December 24, 1905, Page 3, Image 3, col. 4.
“War on Marihuana Smoking. Mexican Government Wants to Exterminate a Weed That Crazes,” The Sun(NewYork, NY), May 26, 1907, Page 17, Image 17, col. 4.
“Use for Deadly Weed. Mexican Marihuana Plant to be Grown in Texas for Drug Purposes.,” Florida Star(Titusville, FL), October 16, 1908, Page 3, Image 3, col. 4. The Florida Star reports that James Love, who operates an agricultural experimental station in Texas, has received permission from the state agricultural department to plant in Texas ten pounds of marihuana seed he has imported from Mexico. The article states Mr. Love’s belief is that the plant “can be put to good commercial use as a drug.”
“Goats that Feed on Dope,” New-York Tribune (New York, NY), April 11, 1909, Page 55, Image 55, col. 5. A fanciful tale of an alleged Mexican goat-herder whose goats have become addicted to marihuana.
“Yerbas Medicinales [Marihuana advertised for sale],” La Revista de Taos (Taos, NM), February 7, 1913, Page 4, Image 4, col. 7.
“On Account of His Oriental Nature the Mexican’s Mind is a Puzzle to the Foreigner,” The Sun (New York, NY), May 17, 1914, Page 37, Image 37, col. 1.
“Marihuana Sale Now Prohibited. Council Passes Emergency Ordinance to Stop Sale of Mexican Drug.,” El Paso Herald (El Paso, TX), June 3, 1915, Page 6, Image 6, col. 3.
“New Anti-marijuana Ordinance Very Stringent,” El Paso Herald (El Paso, TX), June 7, 1915, Page 9, Image 9, col. 3. The El Paso Herald reports concern from local physicians and pharmacists over El Paso’s prospective anti-marihuana law. The Herald’s article states that “It is put up by the foremost drug manufacturers in the country and is frequently prescribed, as it is a sedative of value.”
“Is the Mexican Nation ‘Locoed’ by a Peculiar Weed?,” The Ogden Standard (Ogden City, UT), September 25, 1915, Page 13, Image 13, col. 1. Mexican “bandits” are being emboldened to take on Uncle Sam by the intoxicating effects of marihuana.
“Marihuana Smokers Shut Off from their ‘Makins’,” El Paso Herald (El Paso, TX), September 13, 1917, Page 6, Image 6, col. 3.
“The One Wicked Drug the Lawmakers Forgot,” The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT), December 24, 1922, Page 24, Image 24, col. 1.
The Mexican Revolution in 1910 caused many Mexicans to move to the USA. Racism and xenophobia increased in the bordering states. Residents and leaders wanted any and all excuses to jail and deport Mexicans. According to various timelines of the history of marijuana, the first anti-marijuana laws started in individual southern states bordering Mexico.
Racism was used against marijuana during international treaties and drug control laws as well.
Historians cannot find the reason why Canada banned cannabis in the 1920s, except for racism against the Chinese.
Cannabis prohibition was based on and helped by alcohol prohibition. Alcohol prohibition, largely thought of as targeting alcohol itself, was chiefly about prohibiting saloons. The Saloons of the 1800s and 1900s also hosted gambling, dancing with women, vaudeville, musical shows and frequently employed saloon girls to entice and encourage alcohol consumption. “The Saloon Must Go” was the Anti Saloon League’s motto.
“That prohibition of the sale of liquor would reduce the prevalence of commercialized prostitution is evident from the efforts which have been made to separate the sale of liquor from the prostitution in certain cities which tolerated vice or segregated districts.” says George J Kneeland (Social Hygiene ,Jan 1916.)
Music, dancing, girls and musicians? Sounds very similar to the REEFER MADNESS propaganda against Jazz Clubs in the 1930s.
From the Senate Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency and Marijuana Decriminalization, including 4 years of research during 1971-1975, no clues were found to explain why marijuana was banned.
Why was marijuana banned?
Racism against blacks, Mexicans and “undesirables”
Harry J Anslinger was a racist and a liar.
Marijuana continues to be banned because:
Selective police action enforces racism
Competition from pharmaceutical companies
Nixon hated protesting hippies.
Competition from the Alcohol industry
Police and Prison guard unions want marijuana prisoners
Uninformed do-gooders like MADD, who have not seen the statistics of lower alcohol driving deaths in states that have legalized marijuana.
Evangelical Christians, Catholics and other religious groups.
Jeff Sessions and Chris Christie.
Michael Komorn is dedicated to defending his clients from both criminal charges and civil asset forfeiture. During a committee meeting on House Bill 4158, a bill to reform asset forfeiture, House Committee member Triston Cole tried to find any possible way to attack Komorn's client testimony. With Michael's 9 years of dedicated experience to medical marijuana , he was ready to get deep into analyzing each question. Finally turning the questions around on Mr. Cole and defending his clients, once again, but this time in the public eye of a committee meeting. Watch below as Michael knows every nook and cranny detail of the Michigan Medical Marijuana program, and uses that knowledge to support the bill.
But Lucido's bill may be in trouble. Police and prosecutor unions including PAAM are fighting tooth and nail to keep those assets and any auctions they run to sell off peoples property. Police have been relying on asset forfeiture which has encouraged them to abuse the system. The majority of forfeitures were for $1000, who would hire a $3500 lawyer to fight to get $1000 back? Most people walk away from their own property forfeitures because the economics of it.
Lucido Wants To Finish The Job On Reform of Civil Asset Forfeiture
Rep. Peter LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.) says he wants to finish the job of reforming civil asset forfeiture in Michigan and has introduced HB 4158 to prohibit its use by police unless a person has been convicted of a crime.
He told the House Judiciary Committee today that improvements made last year require police to report how much property they seize and end residents needing to post bond to get their property back. However, he wants more (See "No Bond Needed To Get Seized Property Back Under Passed Bill," 3/22/16).
"Last year, Michigan law enforcement agencies seized over $15 million and change, along with 2,037 vehicles. They seized 806 weapons, 276 financial securities, and 15,160 other pieces of personal property," Lucido told the committee. Before that, agencies weren't required to report seizures, so it is not known how much property police confiscated, he said.
Police use civil asset forfeiture as a way to battle drug trafficking. The process allows police to seize property believed to have been used in the course of committing a crime, like the vehicle that drugs are transported in or cash from drug deals.
Lucido said no one should profit from criminal activity, but he contends the process is being used in some cases excessively, and in some cases to supplement police department budgets.
"No one was charged with a crime in 523 cases of those 5,290 cases," Lucido said about last year's statistics. "Ten percent of the crimes, that they claim were crimes, but (people were) never charged, never convicted, and lost their property without even being charged as a criminal. Another 196 people were charged but never convicted."
Committee Chair Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake) held an extended session of the committee meeting, but didn't call a vote on the bills. He said he would take more testimony on the proposal in the coming week. Today's testimony was all from individuals in support of ending the practice. He expects law enforcement agencies will testify next week in defense of the use of civil asset forfeiture. He said the committee has to hear from both sides.
Attorney Michael KOMORN brought several of his clients before the committee to tell of their experiences with civil asset forfeiture. Amanda JOSLIN, a medical marijuana user, said police raided her home in 2015, seizing her home, car, a game system and her son's paychecks from his job. She said they even took a steam mop.
Eventually, charges were dismissed against her, but she got none of the property back.
Joslin contended that while civil asset forfeiture may have been intended to combat drug dealing, police have concluded "they can take money from the low-hanging fruit, which is the medical marijuana community."
Ted NELSON, who is retired from the Michigan State Police, spoke in favor of eliminating civil asset forfeiture. He said it was intended to battle drug smuggling and to confiscate the cash generated by drug sales. Now it is being used excessively.
"If they needed a couch for their office, they would take a couch. In my opinion, that is not was civil asset forfeiture was intended to do," Nelson told the committee.
Former State Trooper: Cops, Prosecutors Misuse Problematic Asset Forfeiture Law
‘Civil asset forfeiture erodes the public trust in law enforcement’
By EVAN CARTER | Feb. 8, 2018 | Follow Evan Carter on Twitter
Editor's Note: This article was updated to note that when civil asset forfeiture first began to be used in Michigan, narcotics enforcement would obtain the proceeds of criminal activity.
The Michigan State Police detective who helped train the state police in how to conduct civil asset forfeiture says the police are misusing it.
Former Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Ted Nelson, who developed a curriculum on civil asset forfeiture for the department and taught it for more than a decade, made those comments to the state House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 6.
The committee hearing was the first of many which are scheduled to be heard on House Bill 4158 over the next couple weeks. After that, the committee may vote on whether to send the bill to the full state House of Representatives.
The bill would require police officers and other law enforcement officials to convict someone in a criminal court before they could take ownership of cash and other assets they seize, for property valued at $50,000 or less.
“Law enforcement is an extremely important vocation in our society and it is as important today as yesterday,” Nelson told the committee. “I believe that the policy and procedures of civil asset forfeiture erodes the public trust in law enforcement.”
Nelson told Michigan Capitol Confidential that during his 26 years with the department, he saw law enforcement officials receive by forfeit items, such as furniture, that they believed could be used in department offices or sold for a profit. Nelson, who supports HB 4158, said this type of behavior wasn’t the reason civil asset forfeiture was introduced.
Nelson said he first received training on civil asset forfeiture in the late 1980s when the practice was considered part of the war on drugs. At the time, civil forfeiture was used mainly for major drug crimes, in which narcotics enforcement would obtain the proceeds of criminal activity.
Nelson developed a curriculum to teach the state police’s drug teams. He was the expert state police troopers called when they seized money and they weren’t sure it could be tied to a drug crime.
“We’re the foot soldiers of the Constitution and sometimes we forget that,” Nelson said.
Nelson said he doesn’t believe enacting HB 4158 would change how police officers do their job, but he believes it would change how prosecutors do their job.
Shelby Township Republican Rep. Peter Lucido is the primary sponsor of the legislation. At the hearing, he said law enforcement officials can use mechanisms other than civil asset forfeiture to ensure that those believed to have participated in criminal activity cannot make a profit from ill-gotten gains or get rid of illicit substances.
“We lost the war on drugs, and civil asset forfeiture has penalized the poor,” Lucido said to the committee. “Officers were sworn to protect, and not take.”
Attorney Michael Komorn, who is president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, attorney John Shea and national civil asset forfeiture expert Lee McGrath also testified in support of the bill.
Not everyone who appeared before the committee supported the bill, however.
Waterford Police Chief Scott Underwood said that while he wouldn’t directly offer an opinion on the legislation being discussed, he believes civil asset forfeiture is a useful tool for law enforcement.
“I would say that for the most part, that civil asset forfeiture comes from good police work,” Underwood said to the committee. “The numbers with asset forfeiture don’t lead, they follow.”
Lucido said in an interview that while he doesn’t want to imply police officers are corrupt, he believes that civil asset forfeiture is too easily abused.
“If even one cop abuses it, it’s too much,” Lucido said to Michigan Capitol Confidential. “I had cops who took kid’s piggy banks and dart boards and I’m done with it.”
Currently, law enforcement officials do not need to convict, prosecute, or even charge a person of a crime before they can get ownership of seized property through civil asset forfeiture procedures.
In 2016, one out of every 10 Michigan residents whose property was taken by law enforcement using civil asset forfeiture was never charged with a crime. According to a Michigan State Police report, more than 700 people were either not charged with a crime, or charged with a crime but not convicted. Since 2000, the state has taken possession of forfeited property worth $20-$25 million annually.
The legislation may be part of a larger package aimed at reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture law. If the measure passes and is signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan will join the 14 states (along with the District of Columbia) that already require a conviction for law enforcement to take possession of seized property.
State lawmakers eye forfeiture reform
Local officials support 'common sense' legislation
BY KYLE KAMINSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAVERSE CITY — A bill aimed at protecting property rights of the accused is amassing support from local officials as it gains steam among state lawmakers.
House Bill 4158 — introduced this month by Republican state Rep. Peter Lucido — would safeguard residents from court-ordered property seizures unless they’ve been convicted of a crime. Lucido contended its passage would affect hundreds annually.
“We have people that get their property taken by police who are not detached, neutral magistrates or judges,” Lucido said. “That’s violation of property rights 101. … It’s called due process under the Fourth amendment and the 14th amendment.”
Lucido noted law enforcement — specifically through task forces like the Traverse Narcotics Team — have been overly empowered by laws that allows police to confiscate property from those suspected to be involved with drugs.
Michigan’s law enforcement agencies collected more than $244 million in gross forfeiture proceeds between 2001 and 2013, averaging about $19 million per year, according to a report from the Institute for Justice. And none required a conviction.
Police agencies, in turn, are authorized by law to offload those assets and keep a portion of the proceeds to buy equipment and “enhance all law enforcement activities.” Records show TNT seized at least $400,000 during the past six years.
The bill would prohibit forfeitures unless a suspect is found guilty of a crime in court, amending a section of an existing state law. It would take effect next year if passed into law, and would only apply to seizures under $50,000.
“$50,000 is a little bit much to have in your pocket,” Lucido explained.
Local and state officials — including those who soon could be stripped of their authority to confiscate property — have praised the spirit of the bill. Others, while recognizing need for further reform, were hesitant to endorse the changes.
“It would be easier for us and more fair to those who are having their property forfeited to have a criminal conviction,” said Grand Traverse County Undersheriff Nate Alger. “Our system is based on being innocent until proven guilty.”
Attorney General Bill Schuette this week said conviction before seizure is a “good principle” to maintain. County Prosecutor Bob Cooney noted most local forfeiture cases include a criminal conviction but said current laws force them to continue.
“I wish the state would better fund narcotics teams and not incentivize them in anyway to go after forfeiture dollars,” Cooney said. “At the same time, those laws were set up to take away profits from those selling illegal drugs. That’s the idea.”
Lucido’s bill eliminates the requirement people negotiate for the return of their possessions but some officials — like Kalkaska County Prosecutor Mike Perreault — are concerned it could unfairly entwine property seizures with plea bargains.
His office tries to avoid forfeiture altogether. The bill could connect those cases with criminal matters and force him into the business regardless, he suggested.
“I’m a little concerned that by tying them to a criminal conviction, it’s going to bring me people who try to barter their way out of things,” Perreault said. “I could also see the argument then that we’re only prosecuting people to take their stuff.”
Advocacy groups for years have lobbied against statutes that allow civil forfeiture cases to proceed. Some contended they disproportionally impact lower income residents because of often costly legal battles attached to reclaiming property.
Others have said seizures lead to “policing for profit” because police, in most cases, can keep the proceeds for their own department. Michigan State Police officials have contended the concept helps save taxpayer dollars and deprives criminals of cash.
State Rep. Larry Inman said he supports Lucido’s bill and noted police shouldn’t be able to keep property without a conviction. Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel said “common sense” dictates police first need to prove someone guilty of a crime.
“I know forfeiture is a huge asset, especially for drug enforcement teams. There’s never enough money to fund those things,” Schendel said. “But I like to err on the side of the people and the Constitution.”
A legislative analysis contended the bill would have an indeterminate fiscal impact for law enforcement. It noted its passage likely would result in declined forfeiture-related revenues and impact federal revenue sharing for Michigan State Police.
The bill — introduced last week in the House — was recently referred to the Committee on Judiciary. Lucido said lawmakers soon will hear testimony as it pushes forward in the legislature. Visit record-eagle.com for continued coverage.
On Friday May 4, 2018 a review panel recommended 10 new conditions to be added to the list of ailments for approval for use of medical marijuana in Michigan.
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Spinal cord injury
Inflammatory bowel disease
A Michigan regulator (Shelly Edgerton) who is The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director has until July 10, 2018 to make a decision on nine of the recommendations and until Aug. 6 to make a decision on another. Only post-traumatic stress disorder has been added since 2008.
The conflict between state medical marijuana laws and the Federal Controlled Substances Act has been playing itself out in courts across the country. In addition, Congress has passed an act to prohibit the Department of Justice from prosecuting patients and caregivers in medical marijuana states. The DEA and DOJ have taken the position that this appropriations act rider means nothing, and have argued as such in court on many occasions in courts nationwide.
Funny, they said we should "change the laws" if we wanted marijuana to be legal, so we legalized medical marijuana. Then they said marijuana was still illegal. So we got congress to protect medical marijuana states. Then the Department of Justice said these laws still didn't apply to them.
Our client hired us because he felt that his medical marijuana card protected him from this marijuana ticket that a park ranger gave him for possessing his medical marijuana in a national forest park in Michigan.
Kayaks? Canoes? The Department of Justice is blind.
We filed a motion to dismiss based on the the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment to the Appropriations Act (the appropriations act is how the legislature funds the government departments). The Department of Justice prosecutor fought us on all counts of our motion, forcing us to dig our way out of a bunch of different rabbit holes of other medical marijuana cases across the country.
Ultimately, after doing the proper research , filing motions, writing briefs and responses to opposition replies, we finally got the victory our client deserved. The magistrate agreed with all of our well thought out arguments and dismissed the ticket.
All this over "three marijuana joints".
At least our client was lucky! Noted poet, activist and Michigan native John Sinclair was given 10 years for 2 joints of marijuana in Ann Arbor of all places.
Such an injustice brought John Lennon and Yoko Onno to Michigan where he made a song for John Sinclair to protest and demand his freedom from unjust marijuana laws.
John Sinclair sat in jail for years before his appeal was finally heard by the Michigan Supreme Court which overturned the draconian marijuana laws. Marijuana was legal again, until the Michigan Legislature reinstated the marijuana laws a few months later.
Lessons for all patients and caregivers:
Never talk to the police (or park rangers)! Never answer questions! Ask if you are free to go, and then go if they say yes! Always ask for an attorney to be present during any questioning. Always call your lawyer before talking with the police!
Never consent to a search! Without consent, the police officer would have no cause to search you.
Never smoke in public! The park is a public place.
Do not take marijuana with you on or in:
Any School Grounds or school bus.
Any Correctional facility, or any state or federal government buildings
Any Federal Park or land, including border areas with Canada.
Any Native American Reservation or Tribal Land.
If you want the protections of the MMMA, you MUST stay in compliance with the MMMA. Plant limits, weight limits, etc. Being outside the boundaries of the MMMA could land you in jail.
I rarely support any prosecutor, being a defense attorney, most prosecutors in my opinion are not nice people. Some will smile at you and act friendly but would rather waste time and aggressively use their prosecutorial discretion to go after sick patients to the fullest extent of the law.
99% of the time these prosecutors will file motions to prevent a medical marijuana patient from saying the words "medical marijuana" in court.
Which is why I am so impressed by Dana Nessel. Not only has Dana stuck her neck out there to protect medical marijuana patients and uphold the voters wishes on marijuana laws, she also says she will prioritize the rape kits that have gone untested and ignored for years in Michigan. She actually cares about helping victims of rape, not prioritizing the drug laws against the majority of the USA who have used marijuana.
The Attorney General is the "top cop" in Michigan and controls how the police enforce marijuana laws.
The choice is now between Dana Nessel and the GOP candidates for AG.
None of the GOP gubernatorial candidates supported marijuana , except Lt Gov Brian Calley in his support for medical marijuana. Although, in 2015, Brian Calley rejected the idea for using medical marijuana to treat autism when the petition was rejected by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel.
If you want the next Attorney General in Michigan to go crazy after the majority of adults who use or have used marijuana vote for the republican. If you want an attorney general who will focus on real crimes with real victims, please support Dana Nessel in the November vote!
Michael Komorn With Attorney General Candidate and Democratic Party Nominee Dana Nessel and Former Fox 2 News Host and Current Medical Marijuana Patient Advocate Anqunette Sarfoh .
On the one hand you have bureaucrats at LARA, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and on the other hand you have out of touch legislators. Both are trying to jump head first into the brick wall that the last 100 years of marijuana prohibition.
UPDATE: 5-30-18: LARA has posted updated Emergency Rules to extend marijuana business license deadline to Sept 15th 2018
While this is all going on, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency with the Department of Justice, headed by Jeff Sessions, is doing everything it can to block industrial hemp and medical marijuana.
Polls and surveys conducted across the USA all agree that about 50% of the entire US population has used or enjoys marijuana. With marijuana selling anywhere from $5-$30 per gram, its no wonder that legalizing marijuana brings jobs and tax dollars out of the black market and into the regulated market.
The prohibition of alcohol gave us Al Capone and the American Mafia, the prohibition of marijuana and other drugs gave us El Chapo and the Mexican Cartels.
The oversight and operational grant money, stolen out of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Fund was supposed to be for education and oversight of the medical marijuana program.
Instead, funds from the program have been used to buy any toy that the drug tasks forces want. Tasers and bullet proof vests? For sick patients ? None of this makes any sense.
In the FY2018 budget, Gov Rick Snyder proposed removing that $3 million grant.
Courts are not about justice or helping, their main focus is solely to collect fees and fines.
Call any court at any time and the information provided on the automated phone system is exclusively about how to stream line payments. Any other concern or question of the court requires you to go through an endless and bottomless rabbit hole of phone tree tag. If , by some miracle you do get through to a live voice, it becomes immediately apparent that the person behind the phone is neither user friendly or ready with answers for the reason why you have called.
When did this practice become the norm? When did this unhelpful court attitude become acceptable? Who has empowered these civic employees to be rude and dismissive? What happened to the old adage that the customer is always right? Who told these people that they have an allegiance to anyone other than the people who have business with the court?
Think they treat lawyers or law firm employees any differently? HAH! I have to use the same phone numbers and go through the same hoops that any person does when interacting with the court. Except I have to use their voice mail systems. Imagine having to contact a court for a client only to get a voice mail and wait for the system to tell you to leave a message after the tone, only to hear “mailbox is full”. This only happens every day to me, in multiple courts with multiple judges, prosecutors, clerks and even police officers!
Courts, prosecutors and Judges all take lunch breaks, but so do all of the clerks, all at the same time. Don’t even bother trying to call anyone from 11:30-1pm. Likewise, Court is over at 4pm, everyone including the clerks leave. There is no automated answering service, just voice mail with full mailboxes after 4pm.
There is a small window of time when you are able to get a live person at a court. Between 9:00-11:00am and then 1:00pm-3:45pm.
The probation and drug testing industrial complex has taken over the courts.
I Represented Client/Medical Marihuana patient in a probation violation today in court. I was not her lawyer at the time she plead guilty and was sentenced to probation. The allegations of the probation violation were that my client had continued to test positive for THC, in violation of the court's order.
“Your client can't use medical marijuana while on probation. The Certifying physician is not in the probation departments list of approved doctors.”
Generally speaking the court is looking to the following main issues when setting bond;
is the accused a danger to the community
is the accused a flight risk
With these legal principles in mind the judge or magistrate where there's an allegation of a domestic violence case, or an alcohol-related driving case, will conclude for purposes of setting bond they have an interest in protecting the community from a person who consuming alcohol. In that scenario despite being presumptively innocent, allegations of assault and battery or something worse, the court in the interest of protecting the community or because of the defendants “danger to the community” would set a bond with the condition of no contact with the alleged victim.
Each of these examples draw from allegations, or the facts set forth in the complaint that resulted in the issuance of the charges. Their intent associated with the elements of the crime or certainly socially with alcohol which is a substance that is not medicinal, and is exclusively perceived as being recreational and subject to abuse, within the court system.
In other words the use of alcohol is routinely perceived as the roots or reason or identifiable concern by the court, independent of whether it is needed, identified, or even alleged, is something almost every single court prohibits a person on bond from doing even in cases where alcohol may not be involved.
These were the facts...
Client was put on probation for an alcohol driving offense. Judge sentenced her to 2 years probation, 10 days in jail immediately, followed by 2 years probation. Outpatient treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous, fines and costs.
At the time of her sentencing and prior to commencing the 10 days she paid a $2300 fine.
The additional terms of probation were:
Report to the probation officer.
Complete an intensified outpatient treatment program at Dawn Farms,
Participate in alcoholics anonymous,
Complete two years of probation.
It is important to note, that the court at the time of sentencing entered/ ordered the traditional terms of sentencing which include
Upon release from the jail after completing 10 days in jail, the client reported to the probation department as directed to by the court.
Upon appearing at the probation department and going through the intake process, my client interacted with her probation officer's assistant. At that time she presented to the assistant to her probation officer her medical marijuana card which was copied and entered into the file.
Over the next year ( the first year of her 2 year probation) she proceeded to complete the inpatient treatment program. She enrolled in AA and another Secular program similar to AA called SMART. In fact after enrolling in these 2 programs, she habitually attended 2 times a week for the next 2 years.
Additional terms of her probation included write in or non-reporting probation, which required her to call or write in to her probation officer monthly.
All of these requirements were completed as ordered by the Court.
At approximately the one year mark of her probation, my client got a call from her probation officer, directing her to take a drug test. Of course being a medical marihuana patient, she tested positive for THC. To my client, this was not a suprise because she had let the probation department know was in fact a medical marihuana patient. In her initial intake at the probation department she had made it clear of this status. Furthermore, she believed she had a right to engage in the medical ise of marihuana.
333.26424 Sec. 4. (a) A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, provided that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marihuana that does not exceed a combined total of 2.5 ounces of usable marihuana and usable marihuana equivalents, and, if the qualifying patient has not specified that a primary caregiver will be allowed under state law to cultivate marihuana for the qualifying patient, 12 marihuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. Any incidental amount of seeds, stalks, and unusable roots shall also be allowed under state law and shall not be included in this amount. The privilege from arrest under this subsection applies only if the qualifying patient presents both his or her registry identification card and a valid driver license or government-issued identification card that bears a photographic image of the qualifying patient.
My client’s probation officer however didn’t see things the same way...
Upon learning of the drug test results, the probation officer told my client that she was in violation of the terms of her probation.
Your client can’t use medical marijuana while on probation. The certifying physician is not in the probation departments list of approved doctors.
This is frankly disgusting. A probation department telling a person which physician they can or cannot go to for treatment? What kind of justice is that?
This was all done in the last two weeks of probation for my client. They wanted and waited to violate her right at the end of her probation.
Client hired me, I was able to argue the law, got her off the hook for the Violation of Probation VOP and she was able to finish her probation in the mean time, and has been alcohol free for two years and has really changed her whole life around. Although I can’t take credit for that, I am glad happy to see that her right to be a medical marijuana patient was recognized by the court.
A New study out of Israel for the treatment of Autistic children using medical marijuana was released last month. Although the study says it used Cannabidiol, the study used an oral oil containing both CBD and THC at a ratio of 20:1. It is sad that the USA cannot study marijuana for autism and that we have to rely upon other countries to do the research. This is the main reason why people have taken it into their own hands to legalize medical marijuana because the FDA and DEA refuse to allow cannabis to be studied for benefits of medical conditions.
Parents who have been able to treat their autistic children with medical cannabis already knew what the results of trials would be. When the child's behaviors and communication improve, the parents stress levels go down.
This study goes on to say that oils made from the cannabis plant helped tremendously with autism spectrum disorder symptoms:
Behavioral outbreaks were much improved or very much improved (on the CGIC scale) in 61% of patients.
The anxiety and communication problems were much or very much improved in 39% and 47% respectively.
Disruptive behaviors, were improved by 29% from 4.74±1.82 as recorded at baseline on the HSQ-ASD to 3.36±1.56 following the treatment.
Parents reported less stress as reflected in the APSI scores, changing by 33% from 2.04±0.77 to 1.37±0.59
Minnesota is the only state that I've seen which actually studies it's patients in it's medical marijuana program. The Minnesota DOH released a report of all of its patients a year ago, and in March, released a report about patients with intractable pain who are enrolled in the medical marijuana program.
Minnesota studies and conducts trials and surveys while Michigan conducts criminal trials for patients and caregivers. This is all the fault of Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette who continue to allow patients and caregivers to be thrown into courts and jail for being part of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program.
The new 2018 report of Intractable Pain Patients in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis program can be read here:
The first year report of Minnesota Medical Marijuana patients is here:
The DEA is supposed to be using science to inform and regulate the pharmaceutical and health of the United States. But yet, the appointed chiefs of the DEA continue to be ill-informed, ignorant and plain out lie about the substances they are supposed to be researching.
This is precisely why the USA is in an opioid drug crisis right now. Because the DEA is ran by idiots.
Read the 2017 NASEM report that DEA Acting Administrator Patterson has ignored here. It contains solid evidence of the medical use of marijuana to treat many different conditions, and was a basis to our scientifically backed petitions.
Read our petitions to add qualifying conditions here:
My client is facing a number of years in jail. A confidential informant aka C.I. is involved. In most cases a C.I. is a person who is caught committing a crime by the police, and instead of being put on trial, the police use them as undercover informants. Usually the buying and selling of controlled substances. Using the "little fish" to catch "bigger fish" is the justification of this, but it routinely backfires and the C.I.'s have been murdered in a large number of cases.
Back in my client's case, I get the C.I. on the witness stand and start asking her questions. Why are you testifying in this case? Why did you become a C.I. ? The C.I. responds she did this out of the concern for the children and safety of Michigan's Citizens. What? You would put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation ... for nothing in return? No payment? No Salary? No vacation days? Unheard of, because it was not the truth.
The C.I. committed perjury. Not really a deal changer, although it makes the witness less credible, its not a conspiracy at this point.
But the prosecutor in the case denied she was a C.I. , denied documents related to her being a C.I. existed, and denied he knew she was a C.I. Interestingly, the prosecutor in my client's case was also the prosecutor in the C.I.'s case. The prosecutor also failed to correct the record after the court relied upon this witness's false testimony.
The prosecutor was then appointed as a judge, the next prosecutor notified me about the perjury. But did not notify anyone else that the prosecutor committed all of these cover-ups.
All I have to do now is undo a case based on a lying witness, disrobe a judge, disbar a prosecutor and be a champion for truth and justice. Sounds real easy.
Here is a case that sounds similar to mine. Although my case is just another medical marijuana case. All of these Very Important People are throwing their careers' away just for a medical marijuana conviction. Makes no sense at all.
Checks and Balances are put in place to protect the human rights of every citizen of the United States of America. One of those rights is the right to due process, meaning that you have the right to be secure in your home and with your property unless a court says otherwise. And you have the right to have your day in court before a jury of your peers.
Asset Forfeiture has been tainted by police, prosecutors and courts where police just steal your stuff, leave, then go auction it off later. In some cases, not even a single criminal charge is filed. In other cases, prosecutors bring criminal charges, lose the criminal case, but continue with the forfeiture case. Other taint comes when police take all of the cash from you, but the amount they took is less than what it would cost to hire a lawyer to get it back. Why would anyone hire a $3000 lawyer to fight over a seized $2000 car ?
We need more civil asset forfeiture and this bill would help a little bit.
The Brookings Institute released a comprehensive report on Marijuana legalization in Uruguay in March. In the report the researchers detail how well the program has worked and why the limitations placed upon legalization have only backfired against the country.
The implementation of legalization in Uruguay has directly mirrored the implementation of medical marijuana here in Michigan. With local police forces ignoring and treating marijuana as if it were still illegal in many cases, while the state licenses and regulates the market.
Timeline of legalization in Uruguay
The report made the following recommendations:
Parents and caregivers of children and persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder have been fighting to try medical marijuana as an option after exhausting all other treatment options available. This fight has been going on for at least 5 years, when LARA denied the petition for autism in 2013. In 2013, the review panel voted 2 yes and 7 no votes.
The 2013 petition lacked any research or studies, so parents Dwight Z. and Dr Christian Bogner submitted a new autism petition with studies and help from researcher Joe Stone in 2014.
10/4/13 Final Determination of Department - Autism
8/27/15 Final Determination of Department - Autism
LARA rejected the 2014 petition because they had made a "final decision" on autism in 2013. Michael Komorn, president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, filed a lawsuit against LARA to get them to hear the 2014 petition. After months of stalling from LARA they finally decided to hear the petition, and in May 2015, the review panel heard the petition and testimony. LARA tried a dirty trick by not sending the research and studies to the panel. This was brought to the attention of the panel that research was submitted, so the board came back a week later to give time to the panelists to review the research. The panel then voted 4 yes and 2 no votes to approve Autism as a qualifying condition.
In August 2015, the Director of LARA, Mike Zimmer, then rejected adding autism as a qualifying condition to the Medical Marihuana program against the wishes of the panel. In his rejection, Mr. Zimmer gave the reason that edibles may be illegal due to a confusing ruling from the Court of Appeals among other objections.
Parents and caregivers of people diagnosed with autism continued to fight, and worked together to submit another autism petition. Adding 20 new peer-reviewed research studies from the past 4 years. The new autism petition was submitted in February and was sent by LARA and heard by the review panel on 4-27-2018. Wonderful and brave parents Amie Carter and Jamie Cooper testified before the panel, laying their hearts and family stories out there for the world to gawk at.
At the following review panel meeting on 5-4-2018, the review panel approved of 10 conditions including Autism in a 6 yes and 1 no vote.
Voting no on a condition is voting to subject the rejected-condition patient to arrest for the medical use or possession of marihuana.
A suggestion was made by a panel member that the marijuana legalization ballot initiative would save any concerns for the denied patient conditions. This is not true. There are several differences between legalization and the medical marijuana program that would negatively affect a patient.
First, the recreational marijuana initiative will apply a large tax and other costs that would not apply to patients if they were part of the MMM program.
Second, patients are treated in the law differently regarding several issues.
· CPS / Parenting / Custody issues
· Immunities and Affirmative Defense
Patients should not be punished for their use of cannabis when it is medical and not for adult recreation.
Medical use and recreational use have significant distinctions, that were played out in the discussion of the panel and specifically the experience shared by Dr. Crocker who sees a variety patients with various diseases that are treated by cannabis. It makes no sense to deny the petition for these conditions when the evidence supports the therapeutic and palliative relief.
1. The panel are ignoring the reality of what a “no vote” is and means to patients.
2. The excuses used to deny or vote no have been:
· Not enough research
· Not enough clinical trials
Panel members have lamented on this topic for years, but this argument makes no sense. Why would they approve of some conditions but not others, as they have given this reason for rejecting conditions? No condition has been thoroughly researched to use with marijuana. Absolutely zero clinical trials for any condition have been performed with crude marijuana flowers. Even though marijuana smoking has been shown to absolutely stop epileptic seizures, reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients, open up airways in asthma patients, return appetite to AIDS patients, prevent nausea, reduce anxiety/stress and control pain signals.
There are few, small, less than 100 people research studies on a few small conditions. Those studies are conducted only with Marinol, Sativex or other pharmaceutical formulations, not crude marihuana flowers and extracts. The FDA refuses to study crude marijuana extracts and flowers, and prefers a mono chemical therapy. One plant chemical, THC. Recently the FDA has been testing CBD. Two plant chemicals total from over 400 known cannabinoids (plant chemicals) within the cannabis plant.
At this rate, the FDA will have tested each of the 400 cannabinoids separately within 16,000 years. Counting 40 years for THC-only studies, 40 years x 400 cannabinoids = 16,000 years.
Which is why, the American people have bypassed the FDA and have approved marijuana as a medicine on a state by state basis. Sick people cannot wait for the FDA to continue to hamper research and deny that marijuana is a medicine. All because the FDA refuses and prefers a single chemical standardized consistent drug.
These are terrible reasons because research on marijuana has been hampered. We mentioned this in our petition
· Dr. Crocker and other physicians have conflated marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke and then offered and relied upon this unproven fact that the two smokes are the same and have the same health effects.
Marijuana smoke is different than Tobacco smoke and has different effects on humans and animals.
See The large studies on lung function by Dr Tashkin and all of the other studies that show the only difference between a non-smoker and a marijuana-only smoker is that the marijuana-only smoker has a larger forced air lung capacity.
Effects of smoked marijuana in experimentally induced asthma.
Effects of cannabis on lung function: a population-based cohort study
· Legalization, if the review panel does not approve a condition, the sick patient can possess by adult recreational means.
The review panelist who made this comment is a physician and in her reason for denial of the petition is saying that a person should self-medicate! Unheard of advice from a physician.
· The panel mentioned several times that they wanted “severe” conditions, severe brain injury vs brain injury or severe autism vs autism.
Aren't people with less severe conditions allowed treatment? Are we equal or are severe conditions more important? Nothing about this reason makes any sense to deny a condition from this non-toxic safe medication.
The review panel is supposed to look at each individual petition, and only those petitions, to determine if the condition should be added to the MMMA. Frequently, the panel members have made comments or asked questions about other conditions while debating petitions.
"Why are we voting on "chronic pain" when "severe and chronic pain" is a qualifying condition?"
"Why are there petitions for Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?"
"Brain Injury is too vague, but Traumatic Brain Injury is a condition that may be more appropriate"
"Colitis is too broad, colitis can be infectious or non-infectious"
Panelist Dr Lewandowski said there was only one "good" study that showed "clinical improvement with dronabinol in this submission" of obsessive compulsive disorder and "this meet the expectation in support of peer-reviewed information".
All of the research we submitted in our petitions was peer-reviewed except for one paper on Autism, all of the studies showed palliative or therapeutic benefit and efficacy. The requirements by LARA are the following:
Provide a summary of the evidence that the use of marihuana will provide palliative or therapeutic benefit for that medical condition or a treatment of that medical condition. Rule 33(1)(a).
Include articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals reporting the results of research on the effects of marihuana on the medical condition or treatment of the medical condition and supporting why the medical condition or treatment should be added to the list of debilitating medical conditions under section 3(b) of the MMMA, MCL 333.26423(b). Rule 33(1)(b).
Note that Lewandowski's remarks about clinical improvement is not a requirement within the MMMA, the LARA Administrative rules, nor the Petitions themselves. The whole point about medical marijuana programs is that we cannot get marijuana into clinical studies. Cannabis's schedule 1 status, FDA monotherapy rules, NIDA grant bias for harms not benefits, DEA hoop jumping, propaganda and political football including bribery, corruption and market forces (from private prison unions, alcohol, tobacco and Big Pharma industry not wanting competition) makes it incredibly difficult and near impossible to study marijuana for medical benefits.
· Non chronic non severe pain
· Organ Transplant
An initiation of legislation to allow under state law the personal possession and use of marihuana by persons 21 years of age or older; to provide for the lawful cultivation and sale of marihuana and industrial hemp by persons 21 years of age or older; to permit the taxation of revenue derived from commercial marihuana facilities; to permit the promulgation of administrative rules; and to prescribe certain penalties for violations of this act.
The people of the State of Michigan enact:
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act
The purpose of this act is to make marihuana legal under state and local law for adults 21 years of age or older, to make industrial hemp legal under state and local law, and to control the commercial production and distribution of marihuana under a system that licenses, regulates, and taxes the businesses involved.
The intent is to prevent arrest and penalty for personal possession and cultivation of marihuana by adults 21 years of age or older; remove the commercial production and distribution of marihuana from the illicit market; prevent revenue generated from commerce in marihuana from going to criminal enterprises or gangs; prevent the distribution of marihuana to persons under 21 years of age; prevent the diversion of marihuana to illicit markets; ensure the safety of marihuana and marihuana-infused products; and ensure security of marihuana establishments.
To the fullest extent possible, this act shall be interpreted in accordance with the purpose and intent set forth in this section.
Sec. 3. As used in this act:
(a) “Cultivate” means to propagate, breed, grow, harvest, dry, cure, or separate parts of the marihuana plant by manual or mechanical means.
(b) “Department” means the department of licensing and regulatory affairs.
(c) “Industrial hemp” means a plant of the genus cannabis and any part of that plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3% on a dry-weight basis, or per volume or weight of marihuana-infused product, or the combined percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid in any part of the plant of the genus cannabis regardless of moisture content.
(d) “Licensee” means a person holding a state license.
(e) “Marihuana” means all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, growing or not; the seeds of the plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin, including marihuana concentrate and marihuana-infused products.
For purposes of this act, marihuana does not include:
(1) the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, except the resin extracted from those stalks, fiber, oil, or cake, or any sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination;
(2) industrial hemp; or
(3) any other ingredient combined with marihuana to prepare topical or oral administrations, food, drink, or other products.
(f) “Marihuana accessories” means any equipment, product, material, or combination of equipment, products, or materials, which is specifically designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marihuana into the human body.
(g) “Marihuana concentrate” means the resin extracted from any part of the plant of the genus cannabis.
(h) “Marihuana establishment” means a marihuana grower, marihuana safety compliance facility, marihuana processor, marihuana microbusiness, marihuana retailer, marihuana secure transporter, or any other type of marihuana-related business licensed by the department.
(i) “Marihuana grower” means a person licensed to cultivate marihuana and sell or otherwise transfer marihuana to marihuana establishments.
(j) “Marihuana-infused product” means a topical formulation, tincture, beverage, edible substance, or similar product containing marihuana and other ingredients and that is intended for human consumption.
(k) “Marihuana microbusiness” means a person licensed to cultivate not more than 150 marihuana plants; process and package marihuana; and sell or otherwise transfer marihuana to individuals who are 21 years of age or older or to a marihuana safety compliance facility, but not to other marihuana establishments.
(l) “Marihuana processor” means a person licensed to obtain marihuana from marihuana establishments; process and package marihuana; and sell or otherwise transfer marihuana to marihuana establishments.
(m) “Marihuana retailer” means a person licensed to obtain marihuana from marihuana establishments and to sell or otherwise transfer marihuana to marihuana establishments and to individuals who are 21 years of age or older.
(n) “Marihuana secure transporter” means a person licensed to obtain marihuana from marihuana establishments in order to transport marihuana to marihuana establishments.
(o) “Marihuana safety compliance facility” means a person licensed to test marihuana, including certification for potency and the presence of contaminants.
(p) “Municipal license” means a license issued by a municipality pursuant to section 16 of this act that allows a person to operate a marihuana establishment in that municipality.
(q) “Municipality” means a city, village, or township.
(r) “Person” means an individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership of any type, trust, or other legal entity.
(s) “Process” or “Processing” means to separate or otherwise prepare parts of the marihuana plant and to compound, blend, extract, infuse, or otherwise make or prepare marihuana concentrate or marihuana-infused products.
(t) “State license” means a license issued by the department that allows a person to operate a marihuana establishment.
(u) “Unreasonably impracticable” means that the measures necessary to comply with the rules or ordinances adopted pursuant to this act subject licensees to unreasonable risk or require such a high investment of money, time, or any other resource or asset that a reasonably prudent businessperson would not operate the marihuana establishment.
Sec. 4. 1. This act does not authorize:
(a) operating, navigating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana;
(b) transfer of marihuana or marihuana accessories to a person under the age of 21;
(c) any person under the age of 21 to possess, consume, purchase or otherwise obtain, cultivate, process, transport, or sell marihuana;
(d) separation of plant resin by butane extraction or another method that utilizes a substance with a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit in any public place, motor vehicle, or within the curtilage of any residential structure;
(e) consuming marihuana in a public place or smoking marihuana where prohibited by the person who owns, occupies, or manages the property, except for purposes of this subdivision a public place does not include an area designated for consumption within a municipality that has authorized consumption in designated areas that are not accessible to persons under 21 years of age;
(f) cultivating marihuana plants if the plants are visible from a public place without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids or outside of an enclosed area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the area;
(g) consuming marihuana while operating, navigating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle, or motorboat, or smoking marihuana within the passenger area of a vehicle upon a public way;
(h) possessing marihuana accessories or possessing or consuming marihuana on the grounds of a public or private school where children attend classes in preschool programs, kindergarten programs, or grades 1 through 12, in a school bus, or on the grounds of any correctional facility; or
(i) Possessing more than 2.5 ounces of marihuana within a person’s place of residence unless the excess marihuana is stored in a container or area equipped with locks or other functioning security devices that restrict access to the contents of the container or area.
2. This act does not limit any privileges, rights, immunities, or defenses of a person as provided in the Michigan medical marihuana act, 2008 IL 1, MCL 333.26421 to 333.26430, the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, 2016 PA 281, MCL 333.27101 to 333.27801, or any other law of this state allowing for or regulating marihuana for medical use.
3. This act does not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this act in any workplace or on the employer’s property. This act does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while under the influence of marihuana. This act does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marihuana.
4. This act allows a person to prohibit or otherwise regulate the consumption, cultivation, distribution, processing, sale, or display of marihuana and marihuana accessories on property the person owns, occupies, or manages, except that a lease agreement may not prohibit a tenant from lawfully possessing and consuming marihuana by means other than smoking.
5. All other laws inconsistent with this act do not apply to conduct that is permitted by this act. 2
Sec. 5. 1.
Notwithstanding any other law or provision of this act, and except as otherwise provided in section 4 of this act, the following acts by a person 21 years of age or older are not unlawful, are not an offense, are not grounds for seizing or forfeiting property, are not grounds for arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, are not grounds for search or inspection, and are not grounds to deny any other right or privilege:
(a) except as permitted by subdivision (b), possessing, using or consuming, internally possessing, purchasing, transporting, or processing 2.5 ounces or less of marihuana, except that not more than 15 grams of marihuana may be in the form of marihuana concentrate;
(b) within the person’s residence, possessing, storing, and processing not more than 10 ounces of marihuana and any marihuana produced by marihuana plants cultivated on the premises and cultivating not more than 12 marihuana plants for personal use, provided that no more than 12 marihuana plants are possessed, cultivated, or processed on the premises at once;
(c) assisting another person who is 21 years of age or older in any of the acts described in this section; and
(d) giving away or otherwise transferring without remuneration up to 2.5 ounces of marihuana, except that not more than 15 grams of marihuana may be in the form of marihuana concentrate, to a person 21 years of age or older, as long as the transfer is not advertised or promoted to the public.
2. Notwithstanding any other law or provision of this act, except as otherwise provided in section 4 of this act, the use, manufacture, possession, and purchase of marihuana accessories by a person 21 years of age or older and the distribution or sale of marihuana accessories to a person 21 years of age or older is authorized, is not unlawful, is not an offense, is not grounds for seizing or forfeiting property, is not grounds for arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, and is not grounds to deny any other right or privilege.
3. A person shall not be denied custody of or visitation with a minor for conduct that is permitted by this act, unless the person’s behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.
Sec. 6. 1.
Except as provided in section 4, a municipality may completely prohibit or limit the number of marihuana establishments within its boundaries. Individuals may petition to initiate an ordinance to provide for the number of marihuana establishments allowed within a municipality or to completely prohibit marihuana establishments within a municipality, and such ordinance shall be submitted to the electors of the municipality at the next regular election when a petition is signed by qualified electors in the municipality in a number greater than 5% of the votes cast for governor by qualified electors in the municipality at the last gubernatorial election. A petition under this subsection is subject to section 488 of the Michigan election law, 1954 PA 116, MCL 168.488.
2. A municipality may adopt other ordinances that are not unreasonably impracticable and do not conflict with this act or with any rule promulgated pursuant to this act and that:
(a) establish reasonable restrictions on public signs related to marihuana establishments;
(b) regulate the time, place, and manner of operation of marihuana establishments and of the production, manufacture, sale, or display of marihuana accessories;
(c) authorize the sale of marihuana for consumption in designated areas that are not accessible to persons under 21 years of age, or at special events in limited areas and for a limited time; and
(d) designate a violation of the ordinance and provide for a penalty for that violation by a marihuana establishment, provided that such violation is a civil infraction and such penalty is a civil fine of not more than $500.
3. A municipality may adopt an ordinance requiring a marihuana establishment with a physical location within the municipality to obtain a municipal license, but may not impose qualifications for licensure that conflict with this act or rules promulgated by the department.
4. A municipality may charge an annual fee of not more than $5,000 to defray application, administrative, and enforcement costs associated with the operation of the marihuana establishment in the municipality.
5. A municipality may not adopt an ordinance that restricts the transportation of marihuana through the municipality or prohibits a marihuana grower, a marihuana processor, and a marihuana retailer from operating within a single facility or from operating at a location shared with a marihuana facility operating pursuant to the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, 2016 PA 281, MCL 333.27101 to 333.27801.
Sec. 7. 1.
The department is responsible for implementing this act and has the powers and duties necessary to control the commercial production and distribution of marihuana. The department shall employ personnel and may contract with advisors and consultants as necessary to adequately perform its duties.
No person who is pecuniarily interested, directly or indirectly, in any marihuana establishment may be an employee, advisor, or consultant involved in the implementation, administration, or enforcement of this act. An employee, advisor, or consultant of the department may not be personally liable for any action at law for damages sustained by a person because of an action performed or done in the performance of their duties in the implementation, administration, or enforcement of this act. The department of state police shall cooperate and assist the department in conducting background investigations of applicants. Responsibilities of the department include:
(a) promulgating rules pursuant to section 8 of this act that are necessary to implement, administer, and enforce this act;
(b) granting or denying each application for licensure and investigating each applicant to determine eligibility for licensure, including conducting a background investigation on each person holding an ownership interest in the applicant;
(c) ensuring compliance with this act and the rules promulgated thereunder by marihuana establishments by performing investigations of compliance and regular inspections of marihuana establishments and by taking appropriate disciplinary action against a licensee, including prescribing civil fines for violations of this act or rules and suspending, restricting, or revoking a state license;
(d) holding at least 4 public meetings each calendar year for the purpose of hearing complaints and receiving the views of the public with respect to administration of this act;
(e) collecting fees for licensure and fines for violations of this act or rules promulgated thereunder, depositing all fees collected in the marihuana regulation fund established by section 14 of this act, and remitting all fines collected to be deposited in the general fund; and
(f) submitting an annual report to the governor covering the previous year, which report shall include the number of state licenses of each class issued, demographic information on licensees, a description of enforcement and disciplinary actions taken against licensees, and a statement of revenues and expenses of the department related to the implementation, administration, and enforcement of this act.
Sec. 8. 1.
The department shall promulgate rules to implement and administer this act pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to MCL 24.328, including:
(a) procedures for issuing a state license pursuant to section 9 of this act and for renewing, suspending, and revoking a state license;
(b) a schedule of fees in amounts not more than necessary to pay for implementation, administration, and enforcement costs of this act and that relate to the size of each licensee or the volume of business conducted by the licensee;
(c) qualifications for licensure that are directly and demonstrably related to the operation of a marihuana establishment, provided that a prior conviction solely for a marihuana-related offense does not disqualify an individual or otherwise affect eligibility for licensure, unless the offense involved distribution of a controlled substance to a minor;
(d) requirements and standards for safe cultivation, processing, and distribution of marihuana by marihuana establishments, including health standards to ensure the safe preparation of marihuana-infused products and prohibitions on pesticides that are not safe for use on marihuana;
(e) testing, packaging, and labeling standards, procedures, and requirements for marihuana, including a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol level for marihuana-infused products, a requirement that a representative sample of marihuana be tested by a marihuana safety compliance facility, and a requirement that the amount of marihuana or marihuana concentrate contained within a marihuana-infused product be specified on the product label;
(f) security requirements, including lighting, physical security, and alarm requirements, and requirements for securely transporting marihuana between marihuana establishments, provided that such requirements do not prohibit cultivation of marihuana outdoors or in greenhouses;
(g) record keeping requirements for marihuana establishments and monitoring requirements to track the transfer of marihuana by licensees;
(h) requirements for the operation of marihuana secure transporters to ensure that all marihuana establishments are properly serviced;
(i) reasonable restrictions on advertising, marketing, and display of marihuana and marihuana establishments;
(j) a plan to promote and encourage participation in the marihuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marihuana prohibition and enforcement and to positively impact those communities; and
(k) penalties for failure to comply with any rule promulgated pursuant to this section or for any violation of this act by a licensee, including civil fines and suspension, revocation, or restriction of a state license.
2. In furtherance of the intent of this act, the department may promulgate rules to:
(a) provide for the issuance of additional types or classes of state licenses to operate marihuana-related businesses, including licenses that authorize only limited cultivation, processing, transportation, delivery, storage, sale, or purchase of marihuana, licenses that authorize the consumption of marihuana within designated areas, licenses that authorize the consumption of marihuana at special events in limited areas and for a limited time, licenses that authorize cultivation for purposes of propagation, and licenses intended to facilitate scientific research or education; or
(b) regulate the cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of industrial hemp.
3. The department may not promulgate a rule that:
(a) establishes a limit on the number of any type of state licenses that may be granted;
(b) requires a customer to provide a marihuana retailer with identifying information other than identification to determine the customer’s age or requires the marihuana retailer to acquire or record personal information about customers other than information typically required in a retail transaction;
3 (c) prohibits a marihuana establishment from operating at a shared location of a marihuana facility operating pursuant to the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, 2016 PA 281, MCL 333.27101 to 333.27801, or prohibits a marihuana grower, marihuana processor, or marihuana retailer from operating within a single facility; or
(d) is unreasonably impracticable.
Sec. 9. 1.
Each application for a state license must be submitted to the department. Upon receipt of a complete application and application fee, the department shall forward a copy of the application to the municipality in which the marihuana establishment is to be located, determine whether the applicant and the premises qualify for the state license and comply with this act, and issue the appropriate state license or send the applicant a notice of rejection setting forth specific reasons why the department did not approve the state license application within 90 days.
2. The department shall issue the following state license types: marihuana retailer; marihuana safety compliance facility; marihuana secure transporter; marihuana processor; marihuana microbusiness;
class A marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 100 marihuana plants;
class B marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 500 marihuana plants;
class C marihuana grower authorizing cultivation of not more than 2,000 marihuana plants.
3. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the department shall approve a state license application and issue a state license if:
(a) the applicant has submitted an application in compliance with the rules promulgated by the department, is in compliance with this act and the rules, and has paid the required fee;
(b) the municipality in which the proposed marihuana establishment will be located does not notify the department that the proposed marihuana establishment is not in compliance with an ordinance consistent with section 6 of this act and in effect at the time of application;
(c) the property where the proposed marihuana establishment is to be located is not within an area zoned exclusively for residential use and is not within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12, unless a municipality adopts an ordinance that reduces this distance requirement;
(d) no person who holds an ownership interest in the marihuana establishment applicant:
(1) will hold an ownership interest in both a marihuana safety compliance facility or in a marihuana secure transporter and in a marihuana grower, a marihuana processor, a marihuana retailer, or a marihuana microbusiness;
(2) will hold an ownership interest in both a marihuana microbusiness and in a marihuana grower, a marihuana processor, a marihuana retailer, a marihuana safety compliance facility, or a marihuana secure transporter; and
(3) will hold an ownership interest in more than 5 marihuana growers or in more than 1 marihuana microbusiness, except that the department may approve a license application from a person who holds an ownership interest in more than 5 marihuana growers or more than 1 marihuana microbusiness if, after January 1, 2023, the department promulgates a rule authorizing an individual to hold an ownership interest in more than 5 marihuana growers or in more than 1 marihuana microbusiness.
4. If a municipality limits the number of marihuana establishments that may be licensed in the municipality pursuant to section 6 of this act and that limit prevents the department from issuing a state license to all applicants who meet the requirements of subsection 3 of this section, the municipality shall decide among competing applications by a competitive process intended to select applicants who are best suited to operate in compliance with this act within the municipality.
5. All state licenses are effective for 1 year, unless the department issues the state license for a longer term. A state license is renewed upon receipt of a complete renewal application and a renewal fee from any marihuana establishment in good standing.
6. The department shall begin accepting applications for marihuana establishments within 12 months after the effective date of this act. Except as otherwise provided in this section, for 24 months after the department begins to receive applications for marihuana establishments, the department may only accept applications for licensure: for a class A marihuana grower or for a marihuana microbusiness, from persons who are residents of Michigan; for a marihuana retailer, marihuana processor, class B marihuana grower, class C marihuana grower, or a marihuana secure transporter, from persons holding a state operating license pursuant to the medical marihuana facilities licensing act, 2016 PA 281, MCL 333.27101 to 333.27801; and for a marihuana safety compliance facility, from any applicant. One year after the department begins to accept applications pursuant to this section, the department shall begin accepting applications from any applicant if the department determines that additional state licenses are necessary to minimize the illegal market for marihuana in this state, to efficiently meet the demand for marihuana, or to provide for reasonable access to marihuana in rural areas.
7. Information obtained from an applicant related to licensure under this act is exempt from disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.
Sec. 10. 1.
Notwithstanding any other law or provision of this act, and except as otherwise provided in section 4 of this act or the rules promulgated thereunder, the following acts are not unlawful, are not an offense, are not grounds for seizing or forfeiting property, are not grounds for arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, are not grounds for search or inspection except as authorized by this act, and are not grounds to deny any other right or privilege:
(a) a marihuana grower or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana grower who is 21 years of age or older, cultivating not more than the number of marihuana plants authorized by the state license class; possessing, packaging, storing, or testing marihuana; acquiring marihuana seeds or seedlings from a person who is 21 years of age or older; selling or otherwise transferring, purchasing or otherwise obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for goods or services;
(b) a marihuana processor or agent acting on behalf of a marihuana processor who is 21 years of age or older, possessing, processing, packaging, storing, or testing marihuana; selling or otherwise transferring, purchasing or otherwise obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for goods or services;
(c) a marihuana secure transporter or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana secure transporter who is 21 years of age or older, possessing or storing marihuana; transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for services;
(d) a marihuana safety compliance facility or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana safety compliance facility who is 21 years of age or older, testing, possessing, repackaging, or storing marihuana; transferring, obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; or receiving compensation for services;
(e) a marihuana retailer or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana retailer who is 21 years of age or older, possessing, storing, or testing marihuana; selling or otherwise transferring, purchasing or otherwise obtaining, or transporting marihuana to or from a marihuana establishment; selling or otherwise transferring marihuana to a person 21 years of age or older; or receiving compensation for goods or services; or
(f) a marihuana microbusiness or an agent acting on behalf of a marihuana microbusiness who is 21 years of age or older, cultivating not more than 150 marihuana plants; possessing, processing, packaging, storing, or testing marihuana from marihuana plants cultivated on the premises; selling or otherwise transferring marihuana cultivated or processed on the premises to a person 21 years of age or older; or receiving compensation for goods or services.
(g) leasing or otherwise allowing the use of property owned, occupied, or managed for activities allowed under this act;
(h) enrolling or employing a person who engages in marihuana-related activities allowed under this act;
(i) possessing, cultivating, processing, obtaining, transferring, or transporting industrial hemp; or
(j) providing professional services to prospective or licensed marihuana establishments related to activity under this act.
2. A person acting as an agent of a marihuana retailer who sells or otherwise transfers marihuana or marihuana accessories to a person under 21 years of age is not subject to arrest, prosecution, forfeiture of property, disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, denial of any right or privilege, or penalty in any manner, if the person reasonably verified that the recipient appeared to be 21 years of age or older by means of government-issued photographic identification containing a date of birth, and the person complied with any rules promulgated pursuant to this act.
3. It is the public policy of this state that contracts related to the operation of marihuana establishments be enforceable.
(a) A marihuana establishment may not allow cultivation, processing, sale, or display of marihuana or marihuana accessories to be visible from a public place outside of the marihuana establishment without the use of binoculars, aircraft, or other optical aids
(b) A marihuana establishment may not cultivate, process, test, or store marihuana at any location other than a physical address approved by the department and within an enclosed area that is secured in a manner that prevents access by persons not permitted by the marihuana establishment to access the area.
(c) A marihuana establishment shall secure every entrance to the establishment so that access to areas containing marihuana is restricted to employees and other persons permitted by the marihuana establishment to access the area and to agents of the department or state and local law enforcement officers and emergency personnel and shall secure its inventory and equipment during and after operating hours to deter and prevent theft of marihuana and marihuana accessories.
(d) No marihuana establishment may refuse representatives of the department the right during the hours of operation to inspect the licensed premises or to audit the books and records of the marihuana establishment.
(e) No marihuana establishment may allow a person under 21 years of age to volunteer or work for the marihuana establishment.
(f) No marihuana establishment may sell or otherwise transfer marihuana that was not produced, distributed, and taxed in compliance with this act.
(g) A marihuana grower, marihuana retailer, marihuana processor, marihuana microbusiness, or marihuana testing facility or agents acting on their behalf may not transport more than 15 ounces of marihuana or more than 60 grams of marihuana concentrate at one time.
(h) A marihuana secure transporter may not hold title to marihuana.
(i) No marihuana processor may process and no marihuana retailer may sell edible marihuana-infused candy in shapes or packages that are attractive to children or that are easily confused with commercially sold candy that does not contain marihuana. 4 (j) No marihuana retailer may sell or otherwise transfer marihuana that is not contained in an opaque, resealable, child-resistant package designed to be significantly difficult for children under 5 years of age to open and not difficult for normal adults to use properly as defined by 16 C.F.R. 1700.20 (1995), unless the marihuana is transferred for consumption on the premises where sold.
(k) No marihuana establishment may sell or otherwise transfer tobacco.
In computing net income for marihuana establishments, deductions from state taxes are allowed for all the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying out a trade or business.
Sec. 13. 1.
In addition to all other taxes, an excise tax is imposed on each marihuana retailer and on each marihuana microbusiness at the rate of 10% of the sales price for marihuana sold or otherwise transferred to anyone other than a marihuana establishment.
2. Except as otherwise provided by a rule promulgated by the department of treasury, a product subject to the tax imposed by this section may not be bundled in a single transaction with a product or service that is not subject to the tax imposed by this section.
3. The department of treasury shall administer the taxes imposed under this act and may promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to MCL 24.328 that prescribe a method and manner for payment of the tax to ensure proper tax collection under this act.
Sec. 14. 1.
The marihuana regulation fund is created in the state treasury. The department of treasury shall deposit all money collected under section 13 of this act and the department shall deposit all fees collected in the fund. The state treasurer shall direct the investment of the fund and shall credit the fund interest and earnings from fund investments. The department shall administer the fund for auditing purposes. Money in the fund shall not lapse to the general fund.
2. Funds for the initial activities of the department to implement this act shall be appropriated from the general fund. The department shall repay any amount appropriated under this subsection from proceeds in the fund.
3. The department shall expend money in the fund first for the implementation, administration, and enforcement of this act, and second, until 2022 or for at least two years, to provide $20 million annually to one or more clinical trials that are approved by the United States food and drug administration and sponsored by a non-profit organization or researcher within an academic institution researching the efficacy of marihuana in treating the medical conditions of United States armed services veterans and preventing veteran suicide. Upon appropriation, unexpended balances must be allocated as follows:
(a) 15% to municipalities in which a marihuana retail store or a marihuana microbusiness is located, allocated in proportion to the number of marihuana retail stores and marihuana microbusinesses within the municipality;
(b) 15% to counties in which a marihuana retail store or a marihuana microbusiness is located, allocated in proportion to the number of marihuana retail stores and marihuana microbusinesses within the county;
(c) 35% to the school aid fund to be used for K-12 education; and
(d) 35% to the Michigan transportation fund to be used for the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges.
A person who commits any of the following acts, and is not otherwise authorized by this act to conduct such activities, may be punished only as provided in this section and is not subject to any other form of punishment or disqualification, unless the person consents to another disposition authorized by law:
1. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described in sections 4(1)(a), 4(1)(b), 4(1)(c), 4(1)(d), 4(1)(g), or 4(1)(h), a person who possesses not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, cultivates not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, delivers without receiving any remuneration to a person who is at least 21 years of age not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, or possesses with intent to deliver not more than the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished by a fine of not more than $100 and forfeiture of the marihuana.
2. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described in section 4, a person who possesses not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, cultivates not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, delivers without receiving any remuneration to a person who is at least 21 years of age not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, or possesses with intent to deliver not more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5:
(a) for a first violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished by a fine of not more than $500 and forfeiture of the marihuana;
(b) for a second violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 and forfeiture of the marihuana;
(c) for a third or subsequent violation, is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000 and forfeiture of the marihuana.
3. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described by section 4(1)(a), 4(1)(d), or
4(1)(g), a person under 21 years of age who possesses not more than 2.5 ounces of marihuana or who cultivates not more than 12 marihuana plants:
(a) for a first violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished as follows:
(1) if the person is less than 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $100 or community service, forfeiture of the marihuana, and completion of 4 hours of drug education or counseling; or
(2) if the person is at least 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $100 and forfeiture of the marihuana.
(b) for a second violation, is responsible for a civil infraction and may be punished as follows:
(1) if the person is less than 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $500 or community service, forfeiture of the marihuana, and completion of 8 hours of drug education or counseling; or
(2) if the person is at least 18 years of age, by a fine of not more than $500 and forfeiture of the marihuana.
4. Except for a person who engaged in conduct described in section 4, a person who possesses more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, cultivates more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, or delivers without receiving any remuneration to a person who is at least 21 years of age more than twice the amount of marihuana allowed by section 5, shall be responsible for a misdemeanor, but shall not be subject to imprisonment unless the violation was habitual, willful, and for a commercial purpose or the violation involved violence.
Sec. 16. 1.
If the department does not timely promulgate rules as required by section 8 of this act or accept or process applications in accordance with section 9 of this act, beginning one year after the effective date of this act, an applicant may submit an application for a marihuana establishment directly to the municipality where the marihuana establishment will be located.
2. If a marihuana establishment submits an application to a municipality under this section, the municipality shall issue a municipal license to the applicant within 90 days after receipt of the application unless the municipality finds and notifies the applicant that the applicant is not in compliance with an ordinance or rule adopted pursuant to this act.
3. If a municipality issues a municipal license pursuant to this section:
(a) the municipality shall notify the department that the municipal license has been issued;
(b) the municipal license has the same force and effect as a state license; and
(c) the holder of the municipal license is not subject to regulation or enforcement by the department during the municipal license term.
This act shall be broadly construed to accomplish its intent as stated in section 2 of this act. Nothing in this act purports to supersede any applicable federal law, except where allowed by federal law. All provisions of this act are self-executing. Any section of this act that is found invalid as to any person or circumstances shall not affect the application of any other section of this act that can be given full effect without the invalid section or application.
About six-in-ten Americans support marijuana legalization. Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No", the unsuccessful campaign that failed to keep children and adults off of drugs is finally over. Prohibition has never worked in any country. Especially with the history of Alcohol prohibition, there is no way that marijuana prohibition would ever work. Now, a majority of the people of the United States would rather make marijuana legal, and tax it instead of giving the industry to the black market cartels.
A large private donation will fund another study on using medical marijuana for autism. But this is not the first, nor is it the last clinical study on marijuana for autism. Marijuana aka Cannabis regulates the body and mind into a more normative state. Cannabis is also a very strong anti-inflammatory, and thus relieves a lot of pain. Many people with autism also suffer from pain, but are unable to communicate their pain. The autistic person in pain unable to communicate then manifests into aggression, irritability, self-injurious behavior, screaming and other outbursts.
With the help of parents and physicians, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Association has submitted autism to be a qualifying condition again with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Review Panel. There will be a meeting on May 4th 2018 at 9am in Lansing, MI where the panel will vote on autism along with 21 other new proposed conditions. Please if you can show up to the meeting and give your support to the board members so they support adding these conditions to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program. While we at the MMMA of course support more research on cannabis for all conditions, it is cruel to prohibit this safe non-toxic medicine from people who suffer and may already be using cannabis illegally to treat autism.
If you want to leave a public comment, the deadline is 5/3/2018 at 5pm to email comments to LARA-BMMR-Legal@michigan.gov
Autism is a qualifying medical marijuana condition in California, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
The main "treatment" for autism is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is mostly about teaching behaviors and correcting unwanted behaviors as you would train a dog or animal. ABA does not treat the person itself, nor does it diagnose, treat or check for pain or discomfort. ABA is akin to a nun using capital punishment using whips and canes to "fix problem children".
Although the above clinical trial is still in Phase 1 and has not started yet, there are other clinical trials which have advanced to phase 2.
An interesting clinical trial below is part of the US Department of Defense budget.
This clinical trial in Israel seems to be more fleshed out and has more information.
Published on Apr 30, 2018 Michigan Mom Amie Carter details the physical and emotional abuse of her Autistic child. After trying all available therapies and prescription medications to no avail, her boy was transformed from a rampaging frightened punch-throwing self-injuring mess into a loving boy with medical marijuana.
As the president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, I testified before the Michigan Medical Marihuana Review Panel earlier today in support of the 21 petitions submitted by our patient and caregiver educational non-profit organization as well as other researchers, patients and caregivers, physicians and parents who combined resources to work on the petitions.
There is another meeting for the panel to vote on these conditions NEXT WEEK Friday, May 4th ,2018 at the same location. I do not think there will be additional comments, but by being present you may sway the panel members.
"All I have to do now is undo a case based on a lying witness, disrobe a judge, disbar a prosecutor and be a champion for truth and justice."
It must be noted that this zealous avocation for your client requires you to do all of this in addition to defending your client. Why are the criminally accused, already financially distressed by the system, responsible for the financial burden related to unseating judges and disbarring prosecutors? It would seem fair to have disbarred prosecutors and disrobed judges be made to cover the costs related to the defense of the accused in cases where their acts were so reprehensible in any given case to cost them their job and title.
We don't see this very often because it creates cause to review the past works of these judges and prosecutors. Although this places a great burden on the system it is what should be done and must be done for truth and justice.
I didn't think there were any real lawyers left Mr Komorn. My hat is off to you.
If I could afford you I would have you on my case where the Bay County district court judge Mark E Janer denied me bail and kept me in jail for 56 days while he intercepted my filings and kept them in his chambers and the prosecutor Bernard Copolino compared me to Timothy McVeigh in open court when I am only accused of delivery/manufacture - marihuana.
Keep up the good work!
America needs you!
Michigan needs you!