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Lawyers Urge State Regulation Of Medical Marijuana


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DETROIT — Michigan should look to Colorado and get more involved in medical marijuana by allowing commercial growers and regulating the industry, say lawyers who met on Mackinac Island to discuss one of the state's most contentious issues.

 

Members of the criminal law section of the State Bar of Michigan plan to take their recommendations to the State Bar's annual meeting in September. The ultimate goal is to get the Legislature to make significant changes without stepping on the medical marijuana law approved by voters in 2008, said attorney Ken Malkin of Bay City.

 

"You've got all these people planting little gardens all over. Who knows what people are getting?" Malkin, who chairs the criminal law section, said in an interview this week. "There is no quality control. It creates a black market."

 

Roughly 50 people, including lawyers, judges and prosecutors, met last weekend and heard from Denver attorney Warren Edson, who specializes in setting up medical marijuana centers in Colorado.

 

Medical marijuana is more than 10 years old in Colorado. On July 1, dozens of rules take effect there regulating the sale of pot at commercial businesses. They cover much ground, including taxes, video surveillance, labeling, disposal and food that can contain marijuana.

 

"We were quite impressed," Malkin said.

 

In Michigan, marijuana can be used to alleviate the symptoms of certain illnesses if someone sees a doctor and gets a state-issued card. People can possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of ready-to-use marijuana and have up to 12 plants kept in a locked area. A registered caregiver also can grow the drug for them.

 

The law, however, has caused widespread confusion and uncertainty. Some judges have decided to ignore it because federal law prohibits possession of marijuana. Some prosecutors have filed charges against people who run dispensaries, claiming there's nothing in the law that allows them. The Michigan Supreme Court has not weighed in yet, although some cases have been appealed.

 

The law has been the "subject of so much interpretation by so many entities, it's creating disparities throughout the state," said Elaine Spiliopoulos, an attorney in Washtenaw County.

 

A message seeking comment on last weekend's marijuana meeting was left Wednesday with a spokesman for state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who opposed the referendum in 2008.

 

"If you have a regulatory scheme, where there's a lack of clarity, you could reduce the cost of a lot of litigation. You don't always need to have a judge decide it," Malkin said

 

 

:thumbsd:

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I will never buy anything that wasn't grown by small farmers in Michigan. The Politicians have destroyed our reputations through their rhetoric and lies. They now seek to cash in on their tyranny. Should they overturn our law, I will go underground. I will plant marijuana in any area where the sun hits the ground. They will not profit from their tyranny. They will have empty warehouses and empty dispensaries. We will be treated fairly or we will liberate ourselves. Thanks, Bb

 

 

I know I need rest the past few days have re instituted fear and taxed everyone in our community . What is needed is patience and compassion toward those whose ideas that are different and whose ideas are hurting patients either through punitive enforcement of law or asking for improper unnecessary regulation that will create barriers in access . Barriers to access is what has created the crime and issues attributed to a beneficial plant that anyone can grow for next to nothing if allowed . I keep hearing opponents that are on the fence stating one can not win over people creating a proper course making this a us vs them environment . Were all in this together as we all become sick or injured in life and the facts support eventual re- legalization with minimal regulation as the only way left to break the back of the black market and profit margins prohibition has created and special interests everywhere want to capture for themselves without regard to what is truly better for society.Without regard that it will still leave room for a black market to operate . A black market that has armed criminals and now even honest members of society whom defend against gangs outside the subgroup of legitimate patient needs supported by activists . Activists who are found in conflict with the letter of the law but are in compliance with the spirit . A place we all wish nobody would go but human nature compels some to . Dieing patients are out of time .

 

The issue that was brought up was having consistent quality and grade . The bottom line is in its natural form that is easy to do if the strain has come from a verifiable source of trust and you grow it yourself . Most people have accessed seeds illegally from seed banks out of the Country so far that have proved themselves . Everything is here and if PTP is recognized other then immediate need and starter clones that storefronts or recognized PTP transfers would help with everyones needs are covered ..Though most Michigan citizens would like to see these needs contained in our State borders with the money staying in the local economies . We all are discussing how to do it while opponants seek to disoragnize and discredit the process always hiding amongst groups trying to make progressive policy . . I like the public farmers market concept over storefronts but how will we establish genetics , and quality for medibles and oil ? If storefronts are not allowed another alternative would be for the State to do so and the AG to protect Michigan Citizens every way they could but sadly instead of being helpful and impartial the AG here is the head opponent who represents Federal interests openly and has stated publicly they will make overturning the Citizens Initiative their main focus of a first term . Then you have people desiring to profit working in the background to shape policy and backed by huge sums of money waiting for investment from States that have already established cooperate entities like Colorado who are looking to expand . Many Lawyers have aligned with investment entities or are interested in becoming ones themselves it is good to bring this to the publics attention because there are many open minded people and policy makers who are naive and need to be on guard . Since most of the cost of doing business in MM is legal fee's Lawyers are shaping policy on all sides of this issue .

 

Sadly most can't run and go underground they have to sink or sail with the ship . Many live in fear of loosing their comfort and are confused as to why the environment is cloudy on the privilege to drive , to obtain grants and scholarships ,raise children or work like people on any other medicinal item recommended for illness and disease through a Doctor . There is no escape only compromise with a never ending battle to gain ground . People need to remember on all sides of this issue often the letter of law is broken but the spirit of the law is met and this is about patients first . Because of that I am sure the tone will change back to one of patience and education after the emotions of the recent arrests and upsetting court decisions subside . Overall things are improving and will continue too due to everyones efforts it takes decades to effect changes in societal norms and mores even wrong ones based on emotion not fact . . Recognizing this and constantly educating oneself on the topic may lesson the pain on each individual and society . Michigan can still be the leader in recognizing personal responsabillity , choice and promoting inexpensive access based from grows of the patients whom will bear the brunt of all discrimination in normal access to society from exercising their medicinal need seeking comfort . .

Edited by Croppled1
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I know I need rest the past few days have re instituted fear and taxed everyone in our community . What is needed is patience and compassion toward those whose ideas that are different and whose ideas are hurting patients either through punitive enforcement of law or asking for improper unnecessary regulation that will create barriers in access . Barriers to access is what has created the crime and issues attributed to a beneficial plant that anyone can grow for next to nothing if allowed . I keep hearing opponents that are on the fence stating one can not win over people creating a proper course making this a us vs them environment . Were all in this together as we all become sick or injured in life and the facts support eventual re- legalization with minimal regulation as the only way left to break the back of the black market and profit margins prohibition has created and special interests everywhere want to capture for themselves without regard to what is truly better for society.Without regard that it will still leave room for a black market to operate . A black market that has armed criminals and now even honest members of society whom defend against gangs outside the subgroup of legitimate patient needs supported by activists . Activists who are found in conflict with the letter of the law but are in compliance with the spirit . A place we all wish nobody would go but human nature compels some to . Dieing patients are out of time .

 

The issue that was brought up was having consistent quality and grade . The bottom line is in its natural form that is easy to do if the strain has come from a verifiable source of trust and you grow it yourself . Most people have accessed seeds illegally from seed banks out of the Country so far that have proved themselves . Everything is here and if PTP is recognized other then immediate need and starter clones that storefronts or recognized PTP transfers would help with everyones needs are covered ..Though most Michigan citizens would like to see these needs contained in our State borders with the money staying in the local economies . We all are discussing how to do it while opponants seek to disoragnize and discredit the process always hiding amongst groups trying to make progressive policy . . I like the public farmers market concept over storefronts but how will we establish genetics , and quality for medibles and oil ? If storefronts are not allowed another alternative would be for the State to do so and the AG to protect Michigan Citizens every way they could but sadly instead of being helpful and impartial the AG here is the head opponent who represents Federal interests openly and has stated publicly they will make overturning the Citizens Initiative their main focus of a first term . Then you have people desiring to profit working in the background to shape policy and backed by huge sums of money waiting for investment from States that have already established cooperate entities like Colorado who are looking to expand . Many Lawyers have aligned with investment entities or are interested in becoming ones themselves it is good to bring this to the publics attention because there are many open minded people and policy makers who are naive and need to be on guard . Since most of the cost of doing business in MM is legal fee's Lawyers are shaping policy on all sides of this issue .

 

Sadly most can't run and go underground they have to sink or sail with the ship . Many live in fear of loosing their comfort and are confused as to why the environment is cloudy on the privilege to drive , to obtain grants and scholarships ,raise children or work like people on any other medicinal item recommended for illness and disease through a Doctor . There is no escape only compromise with a never ending battle to gain ground . People need to remember on all sides of this issue often the letter of law is broken but the spirit of the law is met and this is about patients first . Because of that I am sure the tone will change back to one of patience and education after the emotions of the recent arrests and upsetting court decisions subside . Overall things are improving and will continue too due to everyones efforts it takes decades to effect changes in societal norms and mores even wrong ones based on emotion not fact . . Recognizing this and constantly educating oneself on the topic may lesson the pain on each individual and society . Michigan can still be the leader in recognizing personal responsabillity , choice and promoting inexpensive access based from grows of the patients whom will bear the brunt of all discrimination in normal access to society from exercising their medicinal need seeking comfort . .

 

Croppled, you make some excellent points. I see the makings for a number of emails/letters to our representatives in Lansing. Would you be interested in breaking out some of these ideas and framing them into emails for the letter writing campaign? Some ideas that I liked...

 

 

- While there is not nearly as great of a legal mess created by the MMMAct as Ms Jessica Cooper and Senator Jones would have people believe, I think your point about Bill Schuette being at the heart of the 'mess' is terrific and should be shouted from the rooftops. If we had a forward thinking AG with a clear mind on this issue we would not have nearly the 'mess'. If the state's law enforcement and judges had sound, rational legal guidance as to how to best implement the medical marijuana law to align with the initiative, there would be far less grief all around. Instead, our AG advises on the best ways to arrest cardholders and on the best ways to combat the MMMAct, the overwhelming will of Michigan citizens.

 

- I like the 'It should not be an Us vs. Them' discussion. This is medicine, though some are slower to accept that fact than others. Over time we will all one day become injured or sick or will have ones close to us in that condition. When that time arrives, we will all be desperate for solutions and we will all be able to benefit from this 'newly found' medicine. Some people will not see the light until that very day but with those people we must be patient.

 

- Lawmakers need to think about whether their newly proposed laws will create barriers to patient access that would still result in a black market serving patient needs. If the caregiver model was outlawed in favor of the state run dispensary model, the high priced dispensary meds would be undercut by an illegal black market that would sell more cheaply. Someday there may be a program that would tie med prices to income levels but until that day, most could not afford dispensary prices...with the additional 'revenue generating state taxes' added in.

 

- The fact that there are several factions within the medical MJ community that are talking to lawmakers is very important. Some have pure profit motivations and do not have the patients' best interests at heart. In fact, the group appearing most professional and 'together' on this may very well be financed by existing business interests from out of state. Lawmakers need to be wary and they need to look at proposals from the point of view of how they might impact the safe, affordable access for patients.

 

- The claim of needing the state to run things because the caregiver model is such a mess is certainly crap. The quality issue, from what I can see as a patient, does not require state intervention. If, as you say, the p2p model is given approvel, Michigan's law is working pretty well for patients. There is abuse certainly. The real problem though is that the efforts to control the abuse through zoning and law enforcement are overzealous and are in fact creating their own barriers to patient access through fear and intimidation.

 

- Using MJ legally is a big social change and it will take a long time for general acceptance. The fight for acceptance is a marathon and not a sprint. Just like the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was meant to create a period of time to allow social change, medical use of MJ will, over time, lead to a broader social acceptance of MJ use in general. We all need to be patient, the activists as well as the legislators. We need far less emotion on this issue and far more education.

 

What do you think?

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In response to the above post . I am glad my thoughts find some in agreement , that they can be improved by others and I think you write very well as I have said before . I hope these thoughts do get to our elected officials from people that agree they need pointing out . All discourse that is polite with tangible solutions will help shape policy and move Michigan forward . I am taxed both physically and mentally unable to do more then post once in a while . But I would hope any patients who could volunteer would try to get on staff with any of our politicians and may also write these thoughts . I am not that in tune with the political process now a days but legislators jobs are so demanding I am sure they must use trusted volunteer staff for many tasks and there is no better way for them to see the truth behind responsible , necessary medicinal use then to interact with patients directly . Patients should never doubt themselves . Never should they buy into the fact they cannot work or drive in a safe manner . Illness and injury takes one to a new level of effort as a individual and each person must self evaluate , adapt , improvise and overcome negative side effects of medication . Sadly there is no perfect answer that prohibitionists seek . It is inhumane to deny people the right to comfort as well as to move freely and be part of society whom are sick and injured due to medicinal need . Thank you for those keeping this site open and active your efforts are appreciated so we can learn from each other .

 

It is very important patients continually point out that cannabis is non toxic to humans unlike any other medicinal items except for most supplements . Even vitamin D can be toxic . Many in the public hear us state this but do not honestly believe it . You have to force them to research it by declaration .

Edited by Croppled1
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