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Oakland Press Article 12-22-2010


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Michigan’s medical marijuana law shrouded in haze

Published: Wednesday, December 22, 2010

 

0diggsdigg ShareThis1By TIM MARTIN and MIKE HOUSEHOLDER

Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s two-year-old law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes is leaving communities, courts, patients and police locked in disputes over what is legal and what isn’t.

 

Many patients who have the state’s OK to use marijuana to ease their pain from conditions ranging from cancer to Crohn’s disease have been arrested and others have been fired because of different interpretations of the law approved by Michigan voters in late 2008. Courts face a rash of medical marijuana cases, with the law raising so many questions one state appeals court judge described reading it as a “maze.“

 

Local governments are jumping in and passing their own ordinances, mostly trying to limit, ban or regulate a wave of businesses popping up to grow and sell the drug.

 

Michigan isn’t alone in trying to sort out hazy medical marijuana laws. Fourteen other states have similar statutes — prompting raids and debate over local regulations in California, disputes over which doctors can recommend pot in Colorado and fights over proposed regulations in New Jersey.

 

Many of the clashes are between medical marijuana advocates who say they’re acting within the law and police who say they aren’t. Adding to the tension is federal law that continues to ban the use and possession of marijuana. Although it won’t be a top priority for lawmakers in a state swamped by economic and state government budget problems, Michigan’s next Legislature likely will devote some time to clarifying the law.

 

A class on legal issues is a staple at Med Grow Cannabis College in Southfield, one of the few medical marijuana trade schools in the nation. Nick Tennant, who last year opened up the trade school in suburban Detroit, said the goal of the class is to provide students some clarity about a law that has gray areas.

 

“A lot of people want definitive answers,” Tennant, 25, said. “It’s just hard, because sometimes the attorneys can’t really give a definitive answer. They can give almost a ’best practices, here’s how you stay out of trouble, don’t raise your risk tolerance in this gray area’ type of thing.”

 

The school also provides students with instruction on the medical and horticultural aspects of growing pot for medicinal use.

 

“We don’t want the people and the public to be afraid of us or to think we’re drug dealers, because that’s really a popular misconception as well. We’re here to help,” said Travis Williams, a 38-year-old Detroiter who took classes at the school and now provides marijuana he grows himself to patients.

 

Michigan’s more than 45,000 licensed medical marijuana patients can possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of usable marijuana and have up to 12 plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility — or have a registered caregiver grow the drug for them. Continued...

 

123See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (1) » Comment on this story »

Some police agencies want a better system to verify the authenticity of authorization cards. Physicians must certify patients would benefit from the pain-reducing aspects of marijuana, but it’s left to the patients to register with the state and to self-regulate the amount and quality of the drug they take.

 

“There is absolutely no connection to medicine and what’s going on with medical marijuana right now,” said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. “You don’t have a required patient-doctor relationship. You don’t go to a state-licensed, inspected and regulated facility like a pharmacy. ... It’s creating already a lot of problems and a lot of misconceptions.”

 

Advocates of medical marijuana say nothing in the law prohibits dispensaries and collective growing facilities, and that communities are ignoring the will of Michigan voters by cracking down on those businesses. Advocates of the law say it’s broad by design to protect a wide range of activities.

 

Many Michigan communities have said state law isn’t clear or is largely silent on how the drug can be grown and distributed by anyone other than patients or caregivers, or how plants and seeds can be bought in the first place.

 

Oakland County narcotics agents raided two medical marijuana dispensaries this summer after they sold the drug to deputies carrying phony state ID cards. The city of Lansing recently adopted an ordinance banning the opening of any new medical marijuana businesses until July, in hopes of buying enough time for local officials to draft rules for their operation.

 

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the southeast Michigan cities of Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills and joined a lawsuit against the west Michigan city of Wyoming over policies it says effectively ban the use of medical marijuana.

 

Local governments counter that they are trying to make sure illegal drug dealing and other crimes don’t take place in the absence of a clear state law.

 

Individual patients also have run into trouble with police or employers. Joseph Casias, authorized by the state to use marijuana because of pain associated with cancer, lost his job at a Wal-Mart store in Battle Creek in 2009 after testing positive for pot. He’s battling the company in court.

 

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Peter O’Connell wrote in a September opinion that the law is susceptible to multiple interpretations and that reading it “carelessly or out of context could result in jail or prison time for many of our citizens.” He urged state officials to clear up contradictions and vague areas in the voter-approved law.

 

Ari Adler, a spokesman for incoming Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said “the level of confusion” that exists related to the law likely will prompt the new Legislature to address it during the 2011-12 session. Continued...

 

123See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (1) » Comment on this story »

———

 

Householder reported from Southfield, Mich.

123See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (1) » Comment on this story »

 

1234See Full StoryReader Comments »View reader comments (1) » Comment on this story »

By TIM MARTIN and MIKE HOUSEHOLDER

Associated Press

 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s two-year-old law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes is leaving communities, courts, patients and police locked in disputes over what is legal and what isn’t.

 

Many patients who have the state’s OK to use marijuana to ease their pain from conditions ranging from cancer to Crohn’s disease have been arrested and others have been fired because of different interpretations of the law approved by Michigan voters in late 2008. Courts face a rash of medical marijuana cases, with the law raising so many questions one state appeals court judge described reading it as a “maze.“

 

Local governments are jumping in and passing their own ordinances, mostly trying to limit, ban or regulate a wave of businesses popping up to grow and sell the drug.

 

Michigan isn’t alone in trying to sort out hazy medical marijuana laws. Fourteen other states have similar statutes — prompting raids and debate over local regulations in California, disputes over which doctors can recommend pot in Colorado and fights over proposed regulations in New Jersey.

 

Many of the clashes are between medical marijuana advocates who say they’re acting within the law and police who say they aren’t. Adding to the tension is federal law that continues to ban the use and possession of marijuana. Although it won’t be a top priority for lawmakers in a state swamped by economic and state government budget problems, Michigan’s next Legislature likely will devote some time to clarifying the law.

 

A class on legal issues is a staple at Med Grow Cannabis College in Southfield, one of the few medical marijuana trade schools in the nation. Nick Tennant, who last year opened up the trade school in suburban Detroit, said the goal of the class is to provide students some clarity about a law that has gray areas.

 

“A lot of people want definitive answers,” Tennant, 25, said. “It’s just hard, because sometimes the attorneys can’t really give a definitive answer. They can give almost a ’best practices, here’s how you stay out of trouble, don’t raise your risk tolerance in this gray area’ type of thing.”

 

The school also provides students with instruction on the medical and horticultural aspects of growing pot for medicinal use.

 

“We don’t want the people and the public to be afraid of us or to think we’re drug dealers, because that’s really a popular misconception as well. We’re here to help,” said Travis Williams, a 38-year-old Detroiter who took classes at the school and now provides marijuana he grows himself to patients.

 

Michigan’s more than 45,000 licensed medical marijuana patients can possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of usable marijuana and have up to 12 plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility — or have a registered caregiver grow the drug for them.

 

Some police agencies want a better system to verify the authenticity of authorization cards. Physicians must certify patients would benefit from the pain-reducing aspects of marijuana, but it’s left to the patients to register with the state and to self-regulate the amount and quality of the drug they take.

 

“There is absolutely no connection to medicine and what’s going on with medical marijuana right now,” said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. “You don’t have a required patient-doctor relationship. You don’t go to a state-licensed, inspected and regulated facility like a pharmacy. ... It’s creating already a lot of problems and a lot of misconceptions.”

 

Advocates of medical marijuana say nothing in the law prohibits dispensaries and collective growing facilities, and that communities are ignoring the will of Michigan voters by cracking down on those businesses. Advocates of the law say it’s broad by design to protect a wide range of activities.

 

Many Michigan communities have said state law isn’t clear or is largely silent on how the drug can be grown and distributed by anyone other than patients or caregivers, or how plants and seeds can be bought in the first place.

 

Oakland County narcotics agents raided two medical marijuana dispensaries this summer after they sold the drug to deputies carrying phony state ID cards. The city of Lansing recently adopted an ordinance banning the opening of any new medical marijuana businesses until July, in hopes of buying enough time for local officials to draft rules for their operation.

 

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the southeast Michigan cities of Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills and joined a lawsuit against the west Michigan city of Wyoming over policies it says effectively ban the use of medical marijuana.

 

Local governments counter that they are trying to make sure illegal drug dealing and other crimes don’t take place in the absence of a clear state law.

 

Individual patients also have run into trouble with police or employers. Joseph Casias, authorized by the state to use marijuana because of pain associated with cancer, lost his job at a Wal-Mart store in Battle Creek in 2009 after testing positive for pot. He’s battling the company in court.

 

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Peter O’Connell wrote in a September opinion that the law is susceptible to multiple interpretations and that reading it “carelessly or out of context could result in jail or prison time for many of our citizens.” He urged state officials to clear up contradictions and vague areas in the voter-approved law.

 

Ari Adler, a spokesman for incoming Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said “the level of confusion” that exists related to the law likely will prompt the new Legislature to address it during the 2011-12 session.

 

———

 

Householder reported from Southfield, Mich.

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Thank you buddy.

 

My meds and coffee hadn't kicked in yet and I forgot to post the link! :goodjob:

 

 

Mizerman :bong7bp::bong2:

 

p.s. looks like the "powers that be" at the Oakland Press are eliminating the comments as fast as they are being posted!

Edited by mizerman
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I humbly ask you to add to the comments below the article.

 

It's a Festivus for the rest of us...

 

 

 

Mizerman

When this new joke of a political groupd we have in Lansing takes office we will fight them if thye try to alter our popular voter backed (64%) inittiative. These rag tag clonws (politicians) need to focus on jobs for our state so people don't keep moving out and worry about the budgets not wasting more money on med mj. The more they tie up the courts the more they bury themselves by wasting taxpayer money. Lansing you would think is getting high all day cuz they sure as heck are not doing anything positive except if you count doing nothing a job.

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When this new joke of a political groupd we have in Lansing takes office we will fight them if thye try to alter our popular voter backed (64%) inittiative. These rag tag clonws (politicians) need to focus on jobs for our state so people don't keep moving out and worry about the budgets not wasting more money on med mj. The more they tie up the courts the more they bury themselves by wasting taxpayer money. Lansing you would think is getting high all day cuz they sure as heck are not doing anything positive except if you count doing nothing a job.

 

 

"getting high all day" LMAO. good one D

 

I read that over 50% of the countries Med Mary comes from within the country and that percentage is growing rapidly. I highly doubt they will be able to stop it even if they put all of their resources into it. They may catch a few ppl and slow our movement down, BUT we are stronger and much smarter.

 

Cant stop us

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When this new joke of a political groupd we have in Lansing takes office we will fight them if thye try to alter our popular voter backed (64%) inittiative. These rag tag clonws (politicians) need to focus on jobs for our state so people don't keep moving out and worry about the budgets not wasting more money on med mj. The more they tie up the courts the more they bury themselves by wasting taxpayer money. Lansing you would think is getting high all day cuz they sure as heck are not doing anything positive except if you count doing nothing a job.

 

 

Sheet they aint waisting no money messin with us! There using the money we pay them to terrorize us! Cards late, paper work aint accepted by lots of leo, cost us, state and countys make more money messin with us while we only have our so called legal(paper work) while we wait months for our cards! It dont make sense!

 

I may be wrong, but im hoping these folks in battles in court over dispensary's win, ok there may be alot more limitations on where they should be located for a while,(they want dispensarry's in the topless bar districts ) out of site out of mind, we dont want one in our city attitudes! :notfair:

 

Rather than changing any parts of our laws and maybe become state controled, lose grow rites stuff like that, I been thru some stuff, I got out, It wasnt fun, but hey I made it. me and my family made it, I just dont want them to change anything that has to do with liimits (other than raising them lol) plant count or take any pt or c.g grow rites away!

 

Merry Christmas

Peace

FTW

Jim

Edited by phaquetoo
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Eugene Volokh'sMechanisms of the Slippery Slope uses the example "gun registration may lead to gun confiscation" to describe six types of slippage:

 

1. Cost-lowering: Once all gun-owners have registered their firearms, the government will know exactly from whom to confiscate them.

 

2. Legal rule combination: Previously the government might need to search every house to confiscate guns, and such a search would violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Registration would eliminate that problem.

 

3. Attitude altering: People may begin to think of gun ownership as a privilege rather than a right, and thus regard gun confiscation less seriously.

 

4. Small change tolerance, colloquially referred to as the "boiling frog": People may ignore gun registration because it constitutes just a small change, but when combined with other small changes, it could lead to the equivalent of confiscation.

 

5. Political power: The hassle of registration may reduce the number of gun owners, and thus the political power of the gun-ownership bloc.

 

6. Political momentum: Once the government has passed this gun law it becomes easier to pass other gun laws, including laws like confiscation.

 

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Ari Adler, a spokesman for incoming Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said “the level of confusion” that exists related to the law likely will prompt the new Legislature to address it during the 2011-12 session.

 

Please notice this last line of the article. This is what i fear we are in for this next year. We have an entirely new group of so called legislatures coming to lansing. Amongst other issues, it would seem that they have already been talking about "new legislation" for our law. I fear that this is going to be top or near the top of their agenda for 2011. Now would be the time to unify. A unified community may be the only way to keep things the same or at least maintain the existing rights under the current law. Notice how The Bouchard voice is heard loudly in that article. I could also add that there has not been a judge i have been in front of the last 5 months who has said they do not like this law ( who cares what you like "your honor"). So understand that the Judiciary is behind a legislative solution. I would add that I am not real confident in a judicial solution that contemplates the patient and caregiver rights (most judges do not understand our community) What really needs to happen is that the thinking about this law needs to change. That means the real answer is for the opponents to start seeing that this law was written broadly and intended to cover an unlimited number situations where patients and caregivers are involved with obtaining medicine.

This of course is the the real answer. Unfortunately I fear that the wheels are already in motion to effect change. We should all be united and ready to appear, protest and oppose changes that effect our rights in any way. Lets work together as a community to ensure the voice of the people remains the true voice of this LAW.

 

Michael A. Komorn

Attorney and Counselor

Law Office of Michael A. Komorn

3000 Town Center, Suite, 1800

Southfield, MI 48075

800-656-3557 (Toll Free)

248-351-2200 (Office)

248-357-2550 (Phone)

248-351-2211 (Fax)

Email: michael@komornlaw.com

Website: www.komornlaw.com

Check out our Radio show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/planetgreentrees

NEW CALL IN NUMBER: (347) 326-9626

Live Every Wednesday 8-9:30 p.m.

PLANET GREENTREES

w/ Attorney Michael Komorn

 

The most relevant radio talk show for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Community. PERIOD.

 

If you have a medical marihuana question or comment, please email them to me, or leave them on the forum for the MMMA, and I will try to answer them live on the air.

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/planetgreentrees

PLANET GREENTREES Call-in Number: (347) 326-9626

Call-in Number: (347) 326-9626

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"This of course is the the real answer. Unfortunately I fear that the wheels are already in motion to effect change. We should all be united and ready to appear, protest and oppose changes that effect our rights in any way. Lets work together as a community to ensure the voice of the people remains the true voice of this LAW."

 

This is why, IMHO, there has been a lot of silence from otherwise vocal opponents.

Better get ready for a full frontal attack to legalize in order to maintain your rights.

Edited by DT61
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Just went to the website to add a comment. There are currently ZERO reader comments under this story. WTF? You have got to be kidding me Oakland Press. If you look at the list of most popular stories it is #1 but no reader comments? There is now way there have been zero comments on this story. What a biased POS media outlet.

Edited by gtoguy420
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Ari Adler, a spokesman for incoming Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said “the level of confusion” that exists related to the law likely will prompt the new Legislature to address it during the 2011-12 session.

 

Please notice this last line of the article. This is what i fear we are in for this next year. We have an entirely new group of so called legislatures coming to lansing. Amongst other issues, it would seem that they have already been talking about "new legislation" for our law. I fear that this is going to be top or near the top of their agenda for 2011. Now would be the time to unify. A unified community may be the only way to keep things the same or at least maintain the existing rights under the current law. Notice how The Bouchard voice is heard loudly in that article. I could also add that there has not been a judge i have been in front of the last 5 months who has said they do not like this law ( who cares what you like "your honor"). So understand that the Judiciary is behind a legislative solution. I would add that I am not real confident in a judicial solution that contemplates the patient and caregiver rights (most judges do not understand our community) What really needs to happen is that the thinking about this law needs to change. That means the real answer is for the opponents to start seeing that this law was written broadly and intended to cover an unlimited number situations where patients and caregivers are involved with obtaining medicine.

This of course is the the real answer. Unfortunately I fear that the wheels are already in motion to effect change. We should all be united and ready to appear, protest and oppose changes that effect our rights in any way. Lets work together as a community to ensure the voice of the people remains the true voice of this LAW.

 

Michael A. Komorn

Attorney and Counselor

Law Office of Michael A. Komorn

3000 Town Center, Suite, 1800

Southfield, MI 48075

800-656-3557 (Toll Free)

248-351-2200 (Office)

248-357-2550 (Phone)

248-351-2211 (Fax)

Email: michael@komornlaw.com

Website: www.komornlaw.com

Check out our Radio show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/planetgreentrees

NEW CALL IN NUMBER: (347) 326-9626

Live Every Wednesday 8-9:30 p.m.

PLANET GREENTREES

w/ Attorney Michael Komorn

 

The most relevant radio talk show for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Community. PERIOD.

 

If you have a medical marihuana question or comment, please email them to me, or leave them on the forum for the MMMA, and I will try to answer them live on the air.

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/planetgreentrees

PLANET GREENTREES Call-in Number: (347) 326-9626

Call-in Number: (347) 326-9626

Well said Michael!

 

I hope the community knows that they can count on my wife and I to be at those rallies and protests!

 

Happy Festivus,

 

 

Mizerman

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Please be aware that the police agencies of Michigan all want a complete list of every patient and caregiver in this state.

 

That is the number one objective. Any benefit from any proposed new law would likely have that element as a trade off.

 

As long as there are still federal laws against marijuana, this access by police can not be allowed.

 

Next .. Police agencies are sending in undercovers to cause division in the community.

 

I believe we've seen several set up accounts here for the explicit purpose of causing splits in our community so we can't be effective.

 

These folks will focus on any detail that is likely to cause a split and magnify that detail.

 

In addition, they are attempting to convince us that we don't have protections that the law says we have. If no one is claiming these protections we will never see those protections.

 

p2p transfers is one of the first areas that came under attack.

The paperwork as valid is another area that has been under attack.

 

Disinformation, promotion of fear .. just a couple of tools being used.

 

Early on, people that would get arrested would come here for help. The moment they asked for help, they would be branded as cops or persons that deserved to be arrested.

 

Understand that? They came for help and got ripped up by posters here. I believe this was intentional. To weaken community support for those people.

 

We can't let either greed or fear cause us to give up to the desires of leo.

 

We have to stop tossing people under the bus.

 

CPU .. MACC .. MMMA Which group represents everyone in our community?

 

MACC has the money to fund things.

MMMA has the people numbers.

CPU has Mary. They don't have the money to pay her. So who is paying her?

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