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4 Ways To Handle The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

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4 ways to handle the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.



The Holland Sentinel

Posted Dec 14, 2010 @ 05:30 AM



Holland, MI — Michigan voters supported medical marijuana in 2008, even in conservative Ottawa County. But the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is unclear and at times contradictory.


Many cities and townships are currently trying to figure out how to deal with the issue locally. Last week, about 80 officials and residents came to hear a presentation on the issue in Allendale.


Here are the options your city or township officials may be considering:


1. Do nothing

This is a state act, so why not let Michigan officials and agencies deal with the headache?

Well, many communities are concerned doing nothing may compromise health and safety to the general public and police officers.


With the new rules, the identities of medical marijuana patients are protected — even from police. Although in the past police were able to use the element of surprise during marijuana busts, they now might need to ask permission to enter a potential drug house.


Also, California found high concentrations of marijuana distribution activity can lead to increased crime, such as the resale of marijuana.


2. Defy the Michigan act

Wyoming, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham and Livonia officials opted to go against the state law, citing federal laws outlawing marijuana.


This strategy will almost definitely result in an expensive lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union already brought a lawsuit against the Detroit communities on behalf of a couple who want to use the drug in their home, grow it in a business and take it to private social clubs.


This potentially leaves both medical marijuana patients and municipalities open to prosecution for using marijuana or allow the use of marijuana.


3. Regulating marijuana

Local governments could use the same rationale to regulate marijuana that is used to regulate strip clubs.


Governments can’t regulate strip clubs based on the First Amendment protected activity, but they can regulate based on the secondary effects.


In this case, officials would have to rely heavily on studies that show a correlation between marijuana use and increases in crime. Other negative effects might include influence on children and danger of law enforcement.


These regulations may be allowable if they don’t undermine the purpose of the act: the medical use of marijuana by qualified patients.


4. Lobby for changes in the act

Those who have studied the act believe Michigan is in for a long string of lawsuits. The Michigan Association of Townships believes Michigan should try and amend the act to make it more clear.


But it would take 75 percent agreement to do so. In his report giving the local government view of the act, attorney Gerald Fisher said it would be a good idea for state officials to start by creating a committee representing all interests to study the issue.


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