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Editorial On Medical Marijuana


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Editorial on Medical Marijauna

Before Brandon and I opened C.A. on May 1st 2010 (formerly known as Compassionate Apothecary) we suggested a meeting between City Council members, law enforcement officials, neighborhood watch leaders, local doctors, patients, caregivers, and ourselves. We wanted to figure out the best way to make the 2008 law benefit patients, the community of Mount Pleasant, and the State of Michigan as a whole. I was very glad to see that such a discussion was conducted at a regular meeting this Monday. But I wished we had been invited by law enforcement officials to join the discussion. What is it that drives Public Safely officials to continue alienating itself from the medicinal community instead of joining us in a way that will be to everyone’s benefit? What’s wrong with open communication and even co-operation with C.A.?

We at C.A. have been extremely forthcoming, transparent, honest, and we even invited law enforcement officials inside our private club when we did not have to. The fact is, we at C.A. have invited the opinion and expertise of Law Enforcement from the very beginning. And due to our willingness to co-operate, we were brought to court. Why still a desire to alienate C.A. from any plan that will make this law work for everyone? C.A.’s mission statement is “To bring Proposal 1 2008 from a state of theory into a state of practice in such a way that it benefits not only patients and caregivers, but the State of Michigan as a whole”. We would love to enjoy the help and protection of those sworn to uphold Michigan Law, and we are ready to accept any advice we are offered.

But due to stigma associated with medical marijuana and marijuana in general, I think many people in law enforcement just assumed “Well, these idiot stoners will quickly prove to the public that they just can’t do a good job of this. They’ll make a joke of themselves as usual, and it will all go away soon.” And then the William Dagit’s hit the newspapers, and other people who fulfill the existing stereotypes. This is exactly why Brandon and I became involved in cannabis services. We wanted Proposal 1 to have a good reputation in the State of Michigan. We firmly believe that C.A. fulfills the goal of the law without going outside any of the guidelines set forth in the law.

Now that the greater public knows that places like C.A. exist who work against this stereotype, and that we quietly and safely fulfill the Spirit of the 2008 law, it seems that many in law enforcement seem to want to stomp their feet in some irrational frusteration and say, “No! No! No! Put the Genie back in the bottle!”

And as you may know, this matter is still under advisement by the Honorable Judge Chamberlain. Therefore I will avoid commenting on the merits of that particular case, and limit my response to some of the quotes found in the Tuesday, September 28 Morning Sun article by S. Eckert pertaining to the meeting between the City, Public Safety Director Gomez, and Mount Pleasant Attorney Scott Smith. This should clear up a few matters that could have been addressed should the discussion have included C.A. staff from the outset.

First of all, we are not a “growing cooperative” as Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Peter O’Connell has ruled against. And therefore, this ruling does not address an entity like ours. So what exactly is C.A.? What does C.A. do? Let’s clear this up and put an end to misinformation and rumor.

C.A. is an administrative service to service providers. As an entity C.A. buys or sells no medicinal marijuana, it goes directly from varying caregiver services to the legally carded patient. Or it goes directly from a legal patient to another legal patient.

This is where I want to avoid interpereting, and just present the facts. The 2008 law states that “A person may assist in a registered qualifying patient’s medical use”. And “medical use” in the 2008 law allows patients to “…transfer, transport, deliver, acquire…” medicinal marijuana.

Brandon and I did assume that “transfer” meant person to person, and that “transport” meant space and time. Therefore, to our knowledge all we do at C.A. is administer legal patient to patient transfers within the black and white guidelines of the law, provide for recordkeeping, limit what any one patient can acquire in a given two-week period, and levy a service charge for these administrative services. We are not a group of caregivers acting as a team. C.A. is an entirely original concept based on the 2008 law.

I would particularly like to address two of the comments found in Tuesday’s Morning Sun articleby S. Eckert - “This is a poorly written law with many voids.”, and also “Individuals have been interpereting the law themselves.”

First of all, let there be no mistake about this fact – the one and only person interpereting the law in this particular case is the Honorable Judge Chamberlain of Isabella County.

Next, the reason people perceive a “void” in Proposal 1 is usually because they have not read it fully. But in addition to that, the 2008 initiative was presented as a set of guidelines to achieve a goal that policymakers had no idea how to achieve. The Spirit of the 2008 law demands that ailing patients have access to medical grade marijuana, and Brandon and I firmly believe we have achieved this without breaking the Letter of the law.

The policymakers who had this thrust upon them had no idea how to grow medicinal marijuana, or how to achieve this goal. And that is exactly why the 2008 law did not limit Michigan citizens from using these guidelines in order to facilitate the greater goal of the law – to provide ailing patients in Michigan immediate and un-interupted access to medicinal marijuana in order to best combat their particular symptoms.

The State of Michigan really needs to decide on a model for this service that they are comfortable with, and keeps public safety in mind. We have put much thought into keeping the public safe at C.A., but we would rather not do it alone. It is time to move forward.

There are other models out there, but C.A. does have its advantages. C.A. LLC is a NO GROW, NO SMOKE, flea market of legal cannabis services under the law as it is written. We are a private club where legal patients can share their usable medicine (for home use only) in a safe and professional environment with other legal licensed patients by way of C.A.’s administrative services. We are ADT secured. We limit what any one patient can acquire in a given two week period. Because there is no Service Tax in Michigan, and because our Mission Statement demands that we benefit the State, we currently pay taxes under the “flea market” clause even though generally doctor prescribed medicine and therapy is not taxed. We have already paid over $7,000 by this method to the State of Michigan if they decide to cash our checks. I hope they do.

And just what are laws, exactly? Laws are really just words on paper. Without Detective Lauria to enforce it on the scene, or Larry Burdick to prosecute each case, or someone like the Honorable Judge Chamberlain to interperet it on a case by case basis, it would remain just words on paper. Likewise Proposal 1 2008 would remain just words on paper without people like Brandon and myself to educate themselves on the law, to take the initiative with the law, and to find a responsible, professional, and safe way of making this law work for “we the people” of the State of Michigan.

For so many years, we were told “Just because you don’t like the law (concerning marijuana), that doesn’t mean you can take it into your own hands.” If you want to change the law, you have to stump, and get on your soap-box, and go get petitions signed. You have to do all the things that people thought we could never accomplish, but that people like Brandon McQueen did, in fact, accomplish through hard work and devotion.

So now I put the same statement to those who would try and create any unfair obstacles for those fulfilling the Spirit of the 2008 law – “You are sworn to uphold the law as described by Michigan voters, and the legislature… just because you don’t like what the voters passed does not mean you can wriggle out of your oath to uphold their wishes by taking this new law into your own hands.”

Finally, we at C.A. understand that there are some gaps in the 2008 law. Of course there are! This is an entirely new concept for the State of Michigan. We are no longer wasting tax money to incarcerate non-violent so-called “criminals”. Of course there are going to be bumps in the road, gaps to fill, and perfections to make. But, no… the genie will not go back into the bottle now. Now we are left to WORK TOGETHER, as C.A. has sought to, in order to find a way to do this that benefits everyone in the State of Michigan.

I am glad that the Honorable Judge Chamberlain is taking this under advisement with the merits of C.A.’s model in mind. My suggestion to law enforcement and State policymakers is to quickly find a model of providing for all these patients that “we the people” are comfortable with, and then move forward together in a new spirit of co-operation.

We at C.A. keep public safety in mind always. We have operated since May 1st with no public complaints other than Mr. Burdick’s. We are against smoking and driving, we limit patient consumption, and we stand against advertising in radio, or TV, or even mass print media. Why? Because we believe that parents should have the right to bring this up with their children on their own terms, in their own good time, and in any way they see fit… without anyone shoving medical marijuana in anyone’s face.

It sounds to me like C.A. shares most of Mr. Gomez’s concerns, and works every day to address the same. I hope our actions and our non-actions make this clear to all. And I hope to work together with those who know more about Public Safety that I do in the future.

Thanks for your support Mount Pleasant!

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You state,


"This is where I want to avoid interpereting, and just present the facts. The 2008 law states that “A person may assist in a registered qualifying patient’s medical use”. And “medical use” in the 2008 law allows patients to “…transfer, transport, deliver, acquire…” medicinal marijuana." As far as I can tell, you do not directly quote the entire section correctly. I think the section you are talking about reads, "A primary caregiver who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege . . . for assisting a qualifying patient to whom he or she is connected through the department's registration process with the medical use of marihuana . . ." This is significantly different than what you quote. I cannot find your exact quote. Persons reading your post may get the wrong impression about what the law actually says and allows, and they should be alerted to this.


I am not saying that transfers are indefensible, but this section of the law does not seem to support it. however, I'm not a lawyer and no one should put their stock on my commentary.


I pray that the charges against you have no success.

We all know that the current system is not working as well as it needs to for patients and that the law needs to change and that LEO needs to be wiser in their handling of mmj enforcement issues such as the one your case raises. Personally, I can't understand why law enforcement is deciding to make a battle out of transfers, WHEN THEY OCCUR IN A RESPONSIBLE CONTEXT SUCH AS YOU HAVE CREATED. LEO often seems to have an irrational obsession with enforcement of some cases that they need to get over. I totally agree that by working together more effectively, mj crime and abuse will actually be checked far more effectively overall. I just do not get why LEO does not get this, in some cases, such as yours.


In the mean time, persons such as yourself suffer on behalf of us all.

I encourage everyone in the mmj community to do all in their power to support legal trailblazers who are making a path forward for the rest of us.



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Afternoon Kurt,


I actually believe they were referring to Section 4 (i).


(i) A person shall not be 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, solely for being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act, or for assisting a registered qualifying patient with using or administering marihuana.


How does a registered qualifying patient "use or administer" marijuana? One only need look at the law for that definition...


Section 3 (e) "Medical use" means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marihuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.


They can correct me if I am wrong about the position they are putting forth... I too am a layman and my opinion should be seen in that light.

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