This editorial reflects how main stream media is beginning to understand that our Attorney General is doing a huge diservice to the citizens of the State of Michigan.
Traverse City Record-Eagle Editorial (Traverse City, MI)
The four public-notinvited medical marijuana sessions sponsored by MichiganAttorney General Bill Schuette across Michigan had more to do with promotingSchuette’s stridently anti-pot political agenda than trying to find ways tomake the law work for the tens of thousands of Michigan residents it was meantto help.
That’s a ludicrous approach for the state’s top cop to take, but when thattop cop acts more like a politician than policeman it’s what we get.
The Schuette-sponsored mini-symposium “Clearing the Air: Implementing andEnforcing Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Law” was held in Traverse City lastweek, and it proved to be way more about enforcement than implementation.
The fact that medical marijuana patients, caregivers and advocates — thepeople who could best talk about implementation — were not invited to the partysaid a lot. And so did Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout. She said the event wasbeing held so: “... (local officials) can get a better handle on this veryconfusing law and have some confidence that they’re keeping their communitysafe.”
Safe from whom? And for whom? Was she referring to keeping untold thousandsof Michigan residents safe from chronic pain or the debilitating effects ofchemotherapy or radiation therapy?
Those are the people this law is all about. But even though the law is influx and many outlets where patients could go to buy marijuana have closedbecause of a recent court ruling, Schuette pointedly dis-invited patients,caregivers and advocates — the very people who could talk most authoritativelyabout how to make the law work while “protecting” the rest of us from potheadsin the throes of reefer madness.
Another Schuette spokesperson underscored what a red herring the “safety”issue really was. He said Schuette has made clear “we don’t think votersintended for drug shops outside of elementary schools or next to churches.” Ofcourse they didn’t. But no one — including the AG’S office, presumably — isclaiming that the problem with the law is that people are setting up drug shopsoutside churches and schools, either. That kind of rhetoric is aimed solely atchanging the topic, not advancing the discussion.
The speakers at the Traverse City forum did not talk about the aim of thelaw or the people it was passed to serve, but rather how to crack down onpeople they think are cashing in. Many people, apparently including Schuette,don’t like to acknowledge that an overwhelming 63 percent of voters approvedthe state’s medical marijuana ballot proposal just over three years ago and itis the law of the land. Period.
Under that law, patients certified by a doctor are allowed to possess up to2.5 ounces of marijuana and 12 plants, and designated caregivers are alsoallowed to grow and distribute marijuana to up to five patients.
There’s no question that as passed, the medical marijuana act is unclear andlacks the kind of details and supporting legislation necessary to support thosewho need marijuana therapy for a severe physical condition and cull out thosejust trying to cash in.
But the blame for that lack of coherence lies directly with Michigan’sohso-lame Legislature, which has essentially refused to create the necessarybedrock of enabling legislation, not with those who could benefit so much frommedical marijuana.
A state police lieutenant at the Traverse City event railed that the processof certifying patients has become a “cottage industry for unscrupulousdoctors.” He needs to take a deep breath and one, vent his anger at lawmakerswho have utterly failed to do their job, and two, leave the decisions over whois “unscrupulous” up to prosecutors, judges and juries.
The fact that the four Schuette-sponsored pot summits across the state didnot include patients or caregivers or anyone outside law enforcement or localgovernment shows clearly that this wasn’t an effort to find ways to make thelaw work.
The session Wednesday was in no way an attempt to resolve the access andenforcement issues that have kept many medical marijuana users from getting therelief voters said they were entitled to have.
As Michigan’s top law enforcement officer, Schuette has failed the people hewas elected to protect and defend, all in the name of a personal politicalagenda.
(This editorial was written by the Record Eagle's editorial staff)<br style="mso-special-character: line-break;" clear="all">