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The Compassion Chronicles

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  1. http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/09/10/provisioning-centers-fundraiser-anchors-big-marijuana-weekend/ National organizations, House Representatives mingle with marijuana entrepreneurs and activists; Detroit, Ann Arbor to host activities by Rick Thompson September 10/FLINT- Michigan’s marijuana players will rub elbows with national guests and Lansing legislators this weekend as the spotlight remains hot on medical marijuana law reform. Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Steph Sherer will be appearing at all the gatherings of significance, including a major fundraising event on Saturday night at the beautiful Ann Arbor Art Center. Steph Sherer, ASA Executive Director The Events Sherer will be speaking on Friday in Detroit regarding the recent Department of Justice policy change regarding states’ rights to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. As the Director of a powerful national organization, Sherer will explain the broad implications of the new policy- and the ramifications to Michigan’s 130,000 medical marijuana patients, to law enforcement and to legislators. This conversation is made more relevant by Tuesday’s testimony before a US Senate committee from Assistant Attorney General Cole. The event is free to the public and media is invited to attend. The action moves to Ann Arbor on Saturday with two events, both at the Ann Arbor Art Center. Sherer will hold a Raid Preparation Workshop, which begins at 5 pm; the National Patients Rights Association (NPRA), along with the Ann Arbor Medical Cannabis Guild (the Guild), will host a fundraising event immediately afterward. That gathering is scheduled for 6-9 pm. The Raid workshop comes at a crucial time for Michigan’s 100 remaining dispensaries, as three recent raids on dispensaries were conducted by federal DEA agents executing state-issued warrants. Use of federal agents to perform state raids is a trend that many fear will continue, as it provides advantages for the state and creates difficulties for defense counsels. Additionally, raids in Detroit on distribution centers underscore the need for everyone involved in the medical marijuana program to become educated on the tactics being used against them, and how to best handle all manner of police encounters. Sherer has done this raid training in Michigan in the past. By far the crown jewel of the weekend’s actions is the Saturday night fundraiser for NPRA to fund the lobby effort for passage of HB 4271, the Provisioning Centers Act. This event is the latest in a series of fundraisers for 4271 hosted by the Guild; previous events have drawn Michigan’s best and brightest in the industry to the Art Center. In addition to Sherer, the national organization Patients Out Of Time (POT) will have a representative at the fundraiser. POT educates doctors and nurses about cannabis and its uses in seminars held across the country; they sponsor a huge conference every year where physicians from all over the world gather to discuss cutting-edge science and the best methods to spread that information to health care providers and the public. NPRA lobbyist Kevin McKinney of Lansing’s McKinney and Associates ‘Fundraiser’ is a word that doesn’t cover the breadth of the Saturday night event. In a first for the NPRA, many of Michigan’s non-profit organizations will have display tables at the Center, distributing literature and showing videos. Corporations and products will be on display, too, and the diversity of merchandise and services offered to Michigan patients or businesses will amaze even the most informed activists. Despite the new theme of incorporating exposure for the state’s often-underrepresented small business community, the Fundraiser will feature all of the exciting aspects you would expect at a $200 a plate gathering: soft music, cocktails, great food and even better speakers. Reps. Callton and Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, will address the crowd and explain the progress of the Provisioning Centers Act through the legislature. Sherer leads the list of dignitaries who will capture the stage. Also appearing will be: Mark Passerini, emcee- member, The Guild and Michigan ASA member Kevin McKinney- Lansing lobbyist for NPRA Theresa Daniello- the Ohio Rights Group and Patients Out Of Time Rebecca Hamilton Brown- director of Michigan’s own Pediatric Cannabis Network Robin Schneider and Drew Driver- NPRA representatives Representatives from Michigan Compassion and Michigan’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws The Players ASA has sued the DEA to reschedule marijuana; their Peace for Patients program has elevated the issue of federally incarcerated state-legal medicinal marijuana patients from across the country into a national dialog; they have held protests and lobby days in Washington, D.C. and in a dozen states. ASA’s Michigan chapter protested in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit earlier this year and has entreated Michigan’s medical marijuana agency to allow input from the marijuana community regarding future changes to the program. The National Patient’s Rights Association is the lead lobbying entity in Lansing representing the needs of medicinal marijuana users and the right to safe access centers. Through their lobbyist, Kevin McKinney, and key members Robin Schneider and Drew Driver, NPRA has pushed for legislation allowing legalized distribution of medical marijuana via dispensaries, referred to in HB 4271 as Provisioning Centers. The Ann Arbor Medical Cannabis Guild is a band of safe access centers that has lobbied their City Council for an ordinance that would regulate and protect their businesses and the patients that use them. This fundraising event is the latest in a cooperative effort between the Guild and the NPRA to advance the Provisioning Centers Act. The Details Friday 9/13/13 Detroit ASA Update: DOJ announcement and importance to support HB 4271 and regulated distribution Led by Americans for Safe Access Executive Director, Steph Sherer When: Friday 7pm-9pm Where: Andrews on the Corner Address: 201 Joseph Campau Ave, Detroit, MI 48207 Cost: FREE (Donations welcome) Saturday 9/14/13 Ann Arbor When: Saturday 5-6pm Raid training for operators and associates led by Americans for Safe Access Executive Director, Steph Sherer Where: Ann Arbor Art Center Address: 117 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 Cost: FREE (Donations welcome) Saturday 6PM Fundraiser for NPRA in support of HB4271 Same location as above Cost: $200 a person, $300 a couple
  2. Three raids confirmed in Detroit, one in Warren; Ann Arbor raid follows Walled Lake and Ypsilanti federal actions by Rick Thompson August 21, 2013 DETROIT- For the third time in three weeks, DEA agents have executed a state-issued warrant and raided a Michigan medical marijuana dispensary. In a seemingly unrelated series of actions, Detroit area dispensaries have seen at least four raids on distribution centers within the past week- including one in the city of Warren. People's Choice in Ann Arbor was raided on Tuesday, August 20. Special Agent Rich Isaacson of the DEA confirmed to media that his federal agents had executed a state-issued warrant on the facility. Insiders say that there were no arrests made; People's Choice announced ... Read the rest of the article at: http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/08/21/dea-detroit-police-hit-marijuana-dispensaries-hard-with-7-raids/
  3. http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/08/14/eric-holder-and-jerry-duval-the-compassionate-release-issue/ Eric Holder And Jerry Duval: The Compassionate Release Issue 14 Aug, 2013 Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States of America, delivered a speech before the American Bar Association in California where he announced a new policy in the war on drugs: steering away from mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug criminals not involved with organized crime. Contained within that speech was a new direction given to the compassionate release of prisoners that may help efforts to free federal prisoner Jerry Duval of Michigan’s Monroe County. Federal convict Jerry Duval and wife being interviewed by MLive after the Detroit press conference for Michigan ASA 53-year old Jerry and his son Jeremy were convicted on federal charges of manufacturing marijuana, although both maintain they were operating under the authority of, and within the legal limitations contained within, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA). Jerry appeared at a protest outside the Levin Federal Courthouse in Detroit and made several videos documenting his struggles before surrendering himself to serve his sentence at a federal prison in Devens, Mass. Jeremy is housed at a federal facility in West Virginia. Duval is a kidney-pancreas transplant patient with coronary artery disease. He is also reported to have neuropathy and glaucoma. He has a very strict schedule of medications he has to take to keep his body from rejecting the transplanted organs, and to maintain his other illnesses. He has no history of violent behavior. The Holder speech contained this segment: … the Department has now updated its framework for considering compassionate release for inmates facing extraordinary or compelling circumstances – and who pose no threat to the public. In late April, the Bureau of Prisons expanded the criteria which will be considered for inmates seeking compassionate release for medical reasons. Today, I can announce additional expansions to our policy – including revised criteria for elderly inmates who did not commit violent crimes and who have served significant portions of their sentences. Of course, as our primary responsibility, we must ensure that the American public is protected from anyone who may pose a danger to the community. But considering the applications of nonviolent offenders – through a careful review process that ultimately allows judges to consider whether release is warranted – is the fair thing to do. And it is the smart thing to do as well, because it will enable us to use our limited resources to house those who pose the greatest threat. It could cost up to $1.2 million to house Jerry Duval for his ten-year sentence. “Both Duvals are serving mandatory minimum sentences,” said Thomas Lavigne, an attorney with Detroit’s Cannabis Counsel, who represented the Duval family in the case. Duval’s quest for compassionate release has a powerful support system. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has adopted the Duval case into their Peace for Prisoners program. “There needs to be changes in laws, not changes in policy,” said Peace for Patients activist Kari Boiter. “Holder did not mention a word about people that are ill, and he didn’t mention a thing about marijuana.” Boiter points out that Duval doesn’t fit well into the groups Holder specifically mentioned in his speech as receiving the benefit of compassionate consideration- the elderly, those prisoners that do not represent a threat to the community and those who have served a majority of their sentence. Although not considered threats, the Duvals are just starting their sentences and are not elderly. Attorney Lavigne said the Holder directives could make a difference in prosecution and sentencing “if these judges take the time to listen to the patients’ plight with a proportionate lens. “I trust Judge Lawson would make the right decision and let both Duvals out, Jerry to live his final years, and his primary caregiver, Jeremy, in order to care for his father; if the system had any compassion, it would demand both be released,” Lavigne told The Compassion Chronicles. More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition to secure Duval’s release on compassionate grounds. The petition was started by Boiter and utilizes the change.org website. Chairman of ASA’s Michigan chapter, Jamie Lowell, said, “The Duvals, the Lansing Seven, all of Michigan’s federal marijuana prisoners deserve to have their sentences reviewed in light of the Holder announcement.” ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, on Jerry Duval’s imprisonment If indeed compassionate release is to be decided by federal judges, as Holder mentioned, the compassionate part of the program has a greater opportunity to be realized in a way that isn’t just semantics. That has already been happening in isolated cases around the country, including one decided in the very courthouse where Duval and his son were given their harsh sentences. US District Judge Friedman issued a sentence of 2 years probation and one day in jail for Edward Schmeiding, a throat cancer survivor who was convicted of growing 8,000 marijuana plants on his farm in Lenawee County. Judge Friedman said of the case: “This is one that most screams out: This man deserves a break.” Leniency is a tool available to judges to do the right thing. In 2010 and 2011 the Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff’s Department raided a number of medical marijuana facilities. One of the first was Clinical Relief, a dispensary who had been inspected by the city police department and had been visited by the mayor himself. All charges stemming from that raid have been dismissed by Judge O’Brien, who stated the operators obviously tried to follow the law and therefore were not criminally responsible. Southfield attorney Michael Komorn said, “The dismissal was based upon not anything to do with the Act, it was more based on the law of lenity.” That case has been appealed and arguments were heard by the appellate court in July 2013. Although Holder may have started the ball rolling, keeping up the momentum is going to be difficult as established police and prosecutorial behaviors are notoriously hard to change. “It’s great Holder is leading the way, but there is a limit to what he can accomplish by executive action alone. Congress needs to step up,” said the ACLU in a published statement. Others were not impressed by Holder’s remarks- or, more importantly, what he did not say. “How dare the attorney general come to San Francisco and talk about drug policy and completely fail to address medical cannabis,” said Steven DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center in an Huffington Post interview. “The attorney general missed an opportunity to address the single most pressing drug reform issue in the country,” continued DeAngelo, “and that’s reforming our cannabis laws.” Marijuana was legalized by popular vote in Washington and Colorado in 2012. In March 2013 Holder said a response to the question of how to reconcile the federal and state laws that seemingly stand in conflict would be “coming soon”. Since then federal agents have raided two Michigan dispensaries on July 30 and August 1, and more than a dozen in the greater Seattle, Washington area.
  4. The agency responsible for administering Michigan’s medical marijuana program silently changes the program to the disadvantage of the sick and injured- again! LANSING- In an unannounced policy change, the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department has made it more difficult for the disabled to enroll in the state Medical Marihuana Program (MMP) by removing a discounted registration rate that had existed for five years. The change was not announced via press release or through letters sent to discount recipients. Patients and caregivers reported seeing a new chart on LARA’s website to operators of certification centers and other related businesses. The chart is called “Supporting documentation for reduced fee eligibility” and indicates that it was revised on 6/2013. Disability is now listed as ‘not eligible’ for a discounted rate; the registration fee is normally $100 and the discounted rate is $25. “It seems really unfair to do that without a public hearing,” said Matthew Abel, an attorney with the firm of Cannabis Counsel and the current Executive Director of Michigan NORML. This is the second time LARA has changed longstanding policy under new head Steve Arwood, appointed by Governor Snyder earlier this year. Soon after his appointment Arwood bounced MMP head Celeste Clarkston and disbanded the New Conditions Panel of mostly physicians that endorsed adding Parkinson’s Disease and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to the list of conditions qualifying a person to receive a recommendation to use medicinal marijuana. He then discarded their recommendations and has announced he will compose his own advisory board of physicians. The panel was assembled with much fanfare in 2012, after a four year delay, had met several times and proposed to consider two new conditions to the list, asthma and autism. Clarkston reported in media during 2012 about the careful and precise composition of the Panel during its formation; Arwood’s reason for dismissing the Panel is that the membership was not appropriate. Also gone is longtime member of the MMP staff Rae Ramsdell, leaving the MMP leaderless and being steered by Arwood. Get the rest of the story here- http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/06/12/lara-steals-discounts-from-the-disabled/
  5. The agency that set up the Panel now dissolves it; reason is failure to comply with Michigan law. Is this why Clarkson retired? LANSING- It took them nearly four years to convene the Panel, and now they say they did it wrong. The Medical Marihuana Review Panel, whose formation was required in 2009 but was convened for the first time in late 2012, has been dissolved by the Agency who created it. The reason: They failed to follow Michigan Law when they created the Panel. “After a careful review of the Medical Marihuana Act… the make-up of the current Medical Marihuana Review Panel does not meet the administrative rule requirements… As a result, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will be appointing a new panel that complies with the law. No further meeting of the review panel will be held until the new panel is appointed,” said the government in a private communication sent to a select few individuals. This information was not posted on LARA’s website and was not released in a press statement. The Panel’s deconstruction was revealed in a letter sent to Panel participants on April 29, 2013 and was just recently obtained by The Compassion Chronicles. Medical marijuana patients who participated in the sessions of the Panel, including a video testimony taping session held recently at the Michigan Library in Lansing, were not notified and may still be under the mistaken assumption that LARA’s promises were still going to be honored. Read the rest here ..... http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/05/13/michigan-admits-major-error-dissolves-new-marijuana-conditions-panel/?ref=profile&fb_source=timeline
  6. Lowell's Poll has Sprung, for the first time this Spring on the Compassion Chronicles- The Senate has proposed spending up to $3 million from the medical marihuana fund to pay for education about and enforcement of the MMA. How should that money be spent? Also read about how the Senate plans to rob the MMMP fund and how the Governor is trying to put an end to the legally required annual report on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program- http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/
  7. Hidden within the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2014 proposed budget is a section that will allow Michigan’s medical marihuana fund to be used to pay for county-level law enforcement agencies to hunt down the very people that paid into the fund. The allocation is officially known as Section 728 of the budget proposal contained within Senate Bill 190. It provides for an allocation of up to $3 million earmarked “for discretionary grants to county law enforcement departments for education about and enforcement of the Michigan medical marihuana program”. The medical marihuana program (MMP) is administered by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), who refuses to release information on the amount of money in this fund without a Freedom of Information Act filing. Section 728 was not included in the first version of SB 190 and the House version of the appropriations bill contains no similar language. According to the Senate Fiscal Agency, this section was inserted by Sen. Jansen, the bill’s sponsor, purportedly at the request of LARA’s administration. SB 190 has been passed out of the Appropriations Committee and now faces a vote of the full Senate on April 25. Both the House and Senate versions of the Appropriations Bill will be reconciled in Conference Committee, where sections can be debated and removed. The medical marihuana program consists entirely of patients and caregivers who have paid a fee and registered with the state. By law, their identities are kept secret from local and state police out of a fear of selective enforcement, which makes it nearly impossible to assign officers to enforce the MPP. Typically, MMP participants become ensnared in the law due to normal drug interdiction actions that only accidentally reveals their legally registered status. Without any clear direction, patient advocates fear these grant monies would be turned over to NET raid teams to fund their general activities. Operating on a county level, these raid teams are infamous for their smash-style dynamic entry techniques, military weaponry and training..... .... view the rest of the story at- http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/04/25/senate-robs-marijuana-fund-to-pay-police/
  8. Applications changed without any fanfare, explanation; new forms available online March 29, 2013. Flint- New applications are now in effect for Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Program (MMP), including a complete overhaul of new and renewal patient applications, caregiver attestations and other forms. This change came to light during a call-in segment of the Planet Green Trees Radio Show, broadcast Thursday evenings from 8 – 10 PM EST on blogtalkradio.com. On-air personalities commented on the form and the changes, including Michigan- Americans for Safe Access Vice Chairperson Jamie Lowell, Michigan ASA Public Relations Director and Compassion Chronicles Editor Rick Thompson, Birmingham Compassion leader Chad Carr and attorneys David Rudoi and Michael Komorn. You can listen to the podcast of the show in the embedded player below. Follow this link to find previous episodes of the Internet radio show. Listen to internet radio with PlanetGreenTrees on Blog Talk Radio SOME CHANGES MANDATED BY LAW Some of the new form fields are a product of an overreaching and manipulative administration at The Department of Licensing And Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Other changes in the forms are consistent with the requirements contained in the Walsh Bills, a package of four bills whose aim was the first alteration of the 4-year-old Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) and the public health code. Read the rest of the mandated changes and see what significant changes were made without any mandate here: http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/03/29/new-michigan-medical-marihuana-program-applications-go-into-effect/
  9. Lowell's Poll has been extended- right into Tuesday Take it now! Per the Supreme Court ruling in McQueen, the only legal mmj transfers are from a caregiver to his patient- giving free cannabis, or sharing a joint, is now illegal. Is that what you thought the MMMA said, or is this a new interpretation? http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/
  10. http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/01/30/dirty-drug-detective-gets-busted/ 16 cases dismissed, more to come as Oakland County admits dispensary raider went rogue; gutless Bouchard makes McCabe take the heat, refuses to issue charges Michigan has seen some bad press lately- ranked the 7th worst state for corruption and the Michigan State Police Crime Lab having their marijuana test results ruled to be not up to scientific snuff. The cannabis community has been abuzz with news that one of Oakland County’s drug warriors was fired by his superiors for lying to them, to prosecutors, to judges and to the people- and probably has been for years. Former Detective Mark Ferguson, according to the January 29th Detroit Free Press, was fired from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department for breaking into a suspicious shipping container, discovering drugs, resealing the container and then swearing out a warrant to open it legally. During the trial, when he was under oath and directly asked if the container had been opened prior to obtaining the warrant, Ferguson denied it. The Oakland Press revealed more details. “One of the witnesses said ‘The officer opened that package in my presence,’” Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said. A second witness confirmed this. “At one point, detective Ferguson (asked) my client ‘What do you got in the box, 78 pounds of marijuana?’ That was before the box was allegedly searched,” defense attorney James Gaylon said. “ I was convinced Detective Ferguson was lying on the stand. I was convinced he was lying in order to keep his case solid.” Complicating this story is the complete absence of Sheriff Mike Bouchard. He seems to delegate the duty of addressing bad news to his unfortunate subordinate Undersheriff McCabe, who is left to explain why Ferguson will not be charged with any crime. Perjury, breaking and entering, filing a false police report, conspiracy- the potential number of crimes committed is staggering- but McCabe claims no charges will be filed because Ferguson could get his job back if he is acquitted of the charges. “We can’t take the chance that the jury will acquit,” McCabe is quoted as saying. Continued at - http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/01/30/dirty-drug-detective-gets-busted/
  11. Do you know someone that would not smoke marijuana, but that you feel would be open to trying non-psychoactive forms of medication like juice or topical oils? http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/01/29/the-walsh-bills-whats-up-next-part-3/ The Walsh Bills. What’s up Next? Part 3 29 Jan, 2013 The Walsh Bills. What’s up Next? Part 3 by Tim Beck Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a series of postings. Read the first post HERE. Read the second post HERE. Turning the clock back two years ago, a cruel future for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) seemed all but certain. On January 1, 2010 the Republican Party assumed complete control of all branches of state government and in less then 30 days the assault on the MMMA had begun. Tim Beck at Hash Bash 2012 On January 5th, in the first major decision of his administration, Attorney General Bill Schuette eagerly licked the DEA’s boots. He agreed to honor a subpoena originally issued in June 2009, to his predecessor Mike Cox, to open the state patient/caregiver registry to federal fishing expeditions. This was followed up in a few weeks, by Senator Rick Jones with SB 17, outlawing “marijuana bars” i.e., virtually any location where cannabis patients assembled and medication was used. SB 17 was the first of a plethora of anti MMMA bills which Senator Jones and a few other legislators unleashed in record time. In addition, Mr. Schuette continued the pile on, issuing a number of bizarre legal opinions as to what the MMMA purported to say. These actions were largely prompted by real, as well as imaginary fears that the MMMA was “out of control.” Speaking to what is real and playing devil’s advocate for a moment; I personally believe efforts by business persons aggressively attempting to open “dispensaries” in communities which did not them want them, enabled a growing climate of political hysteria. In addition, an influx of dispensaries located on Michigan Ave in Lansing, just down the road from the Capitol Building, was not conducive to good public relations. These were the major factors which caused the dam to burst, when Schuette and his Republican friends achieved complete power.
  12. Lowell's Poll is UP- Take it now! The question: Michigan is introducing legislation to exempt them from Obama's new firearms restrictions. Should states use this tactic to exempt themselves from federal Cannabis prohibition? Go to.... http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/ ....answer the poll question and check out the latest marijuana reform articles and blogs and check out the new, Michigan based, marijuana documentary- "Blazed and Confused."
  13. Neil Rockind, Charmie Gholson, Matt Abel, Tom Lavigne, Dave Peters, Jamie Lowell and others- http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/01/15/new-documentary-on-michigan-medical-marijuana-and-drug-war/
  14. The latest Lowell's Poll is UP- Go vote now! When cannabis is being used medicinally, should it be considered an herbal remedy, or should it be treated like pharmaceutical drugs? http://www.thecompassionchronicles.com/
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