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When Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved a medicinal marijuana ballot measure in 2008, R.D. Winthrop hoped it would usher in a new era in which arthritis sufferers like him could medicate in peace.


Two years later, the Lansing man is not so sure.Every couple of weeks, Winthrop, 63, said he hears about new medical marijuana regulation passed by a mid-Michigan municipality, including a one-year moratorium on marijuana dispensaries issued this month in Lansing.


He contends officials are ignoring the will of voters and fears one day he'll lose his freedom to grow the medical herb under the crushing weight of local ordinances.


"They don't like it. They don't understand it," Winthrop said of mid-Michigan officials. "They think we're criminals, we've been criminalized for so long. We're like second-class citizens."


But leaders in Lansing, Williamston, East Lansing and Delta Township - among the handful of mid-Michigan municipalities that have issued moratoriums for new medical marijuana dispensaries - say they need time to study a confusing state law so they can protect patients.


A half-dozen other mid-Michigan communities are studying possible moratoriums. Some officials hope state lawmakers will act in coming months to clarify the statute.


"I think the Legislature needs to, because us officials are all out here on the 'Twilight Zone' on this thing," said Jon Bayless, city administrator for Grand Ledge.


Most recently, Delhi Township passed an 180-day moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries. Grand Ledge has taken a step further by temporarily outlawing growing marijuana within the city limits, which critics say violates state law allowing a patient to grow a limited amount of marijuana for his or her own use.


This month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan took aim at municipal ordinances such as Grand Ledge's when it filed suit against Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills and Livonia for adopting ordinances that completely ban medical marijuana.


"We're hoping (the lawsuit) will serve as a deterrent and a notice to other communities that medical marijuana users have rights under the law that can't be negated by local ordinance," said Dan Korobkin, staff attorney for the ACLU.


Since the state began implementing the medical marijuana law in April 2009, law enforcement agencies and communities have wrestled with an herb suddenly legalized for medicinal purposes. Complicating matters is that the new law never defined how patients or caregivers could legally acquire even marijuana seeds, much less authorize dispensaries or pharmacies to dispense the drug.


Also, there is the thorny detail that all marijuana use remains illegal under federal law.

Dispensaries abound

In mid-Michigan, the rapid growth of medical marijuana dispensaries has proven to be controversial. More than 60 medical marijuana dispensaries have registered with the city of Lansing, prompting the City Council this month to pass its one-year moratorium on new dispensaries.


Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero fought the moratorium, contending its supporters were trying to usurp the will of state voters. But supporters say it makes sense to study how best to regulate the budding industry before it transformed the city into an "Amsterdam" - the European city that is a focal point for legalized drugs.


In mid-Michigan, the biggest spotlight has shone on a medical marijuana dispensary that opened in the spring in Williamstown Township - an establishment that doubled as a club where patients could smoke the product. Two months later, authorities raided the Green Leaf Smokers Club and arrested its founder, Wayne Frederick Dagit, after police say he agreed to buy 50 pounds of marijuana from an undercover informant.


Dispensaries have been controversial because critics say state statute does not expressly permit them. But supporters rightly note there is nothing that prohibits them. What state law says is simply this: Patients can grow up to 12 marijuana plants and have 2.5 ounces of marijuana for themselves, or a caregiver to grow up to 12 plants for up to five patients each.


Supporters say dispensaries are merely centralized locations where patients can buy the marijuana grown by their specific caregivers. Critics contend such dispensaries should be licensed in a manner similar to pharmacies.



No other choice

Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III said the state law is so poorly drafted that municipalities have no choice but step in and regulate dispensaries. He said some dispensaries may illegally be placing marijuana supplied by caregivers into a single pool of pot and dispensing it to patients instead of matching a caregiver's marijuana to an assigned patient.


"It's clear to me that the only way there is going to be an effective regulation of this mess is localities doing it by ordinance and zoning ordinance," Dunnings said.Critics have contended cities and townships have no business regulating what a state ballot measure has established as an individual right. But East Lansing City Manager Ted Staton said cities have traditionally more closely regulated services authorized by state law.


"Alcohol is allowed (by state law), and cities regulate where and when alcohol can be consumed," Staton said. "Hazardous waste fatalities are allowed and cities regulate where they can be. Regulating land use through zoning is a long established responsibility of local government."


ACLU's Korobkin agreed a state law often specifically gives communities the right to regulate a business, as it does with liquor sales. However, he argued the medical marijuana law makes clear medicinal marijuana patients have a right to grow a limited amount of the herb for their use and communities such as Grand Ledge can't restrict that right with a growing ban.


Grand Ledge's Bayless said city officials banned growing marijuana partly because federal law still makes the activity illegal. The city's 90-day moratorium expires Dec. 22, and city officials will consider whether to extend it again.


Bayless said he respects the will of voters who approved medicinal marijuana but suspects many didn't anticipate marijuana would become so visible and prevalent.


"You didn't think about having dispensaries or marijuana patches in your neighbor's backyard," Bayless said. "I had the image that a medical marijuana user would have the ability to go to a pharmacy and get their marijuana."



Senate bill in works

Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom, R-Muskegon, has sponsored a Senate bill that would allow the state to closely regulate the growth of marijuana. It would have called for the state to license up to 10 medical marijuana growing facilities in Michigan, which would supply marijuana for all medical marijuana patients in the states.


All other growing would be banned. The bill has stalled in the Judiciary Committee.


State Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, who has introduced a bill to ban to marijuana consumption at dispensaries, said he would have preferred to see state law require patients to acquire marijuana directly from pharmacies.


But he said it would be difficult to begin to overhaul the state law now. It would take a three-fourths majority in the House and Senate to overturn provisions of a ballot measure approved by voters.


"I think the genie is out of the box, and it would be hard to put back in," Jones said.

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Same ol' same ol', eh?


I was just going to post this.


Did you all catch the recent onslaught of whizz-yellow colored "news" articles relating to "teen drug use on the rise"?


Such is this one of hundreds of misguided articles recently posted to the world wide web:




Will the monster-minded anti-frees EVER stop fighting against individual human rights and freedoms?




Yes; The nazis WILL be stopped when we're finished exposing their harmful bias, hateful bigotry and home-invading violence against "We The People" who are violated by the tyrants' war-mongering lies.


Funny - but oh so very, very sad - to see that the nazis in "public office" don't ever complain to have any problem at all with having Michigan / America's teenagers that reside in "their" cities being ripped away from their lives, family and friends and communities and sent off to fight perpetual bloody wars for corporate profits; But, the jack-booted thugs sure are all too violently eager come running with battering rams and loaded weapons pointed at harmless people when someone personally chooses to enjoy the medicinal benefits of a wonderful, healing herb.









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  • 4 weeks later...


Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom, R-Muskegon, has sponsored a Senate bill that would allow the state to closely regulate the growth of marijuana. It would have called for the state to license up to 10 medical marijuana growing facilities in Michigan, which would supply marijuana for all medical marijuana patients in the states.


laughable... just Imagine the industrialized bug and chemical coated crap they be trying to feed you. would most likely increase the price of this so called "MM" too double price. yet another way for greedy suits to fatten their pockets.

I sure hope this is not the way it goes. but hey It would create 75 new jobs in Michigan, Meanwhile on the home front 3000-8000(wild guess). would be out of work as they can no longer provide quality care to their patients. :thumbsd:

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