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Bay City Times 5 Part Series(Part Iii)

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Same old drivel from the "fraidy cat" and/or "old boy network" press in Schuette's back yard. Comments are good.




BAY CITY — Some state officials, including Midland native and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, see many marijuana growers motivated not by helping patients but by profits that the drug can reap for them.

Schuette, who could not be reached for comment, is advocating tougher penalties for people who exploit the state’s marijuana law.

“This law has been hijacked by pot profiteers who threaten public safety on the roads and in our communities,” Schuette said in a statement in August.


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Attorney General Bill Schuette

Marijuana growers in Bay County and elsewhere in Michigan were put on the defensive following an Aug. 24 Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that state law “does not include patient-to-patient sales of marijuana,” a decision that shut down most of the state’s marijuana dispensaries and left growers in limbo. The ruling deemed compassion clubs “public nuisances” as defined by the Public Health Code.

Since the court ruling, police raided two Bay City clubs, one of which — Beacon of Light Compassion Center, 100 N. Catherine St. — was raided twice. No one has been charged in connection with the raids.

The pot-grower next door

Related stories

Part 1: Risky occupation has Bay County growers and neighbors on edge

Part 2: What the numbers show

Charles ran a compassion club in Bay County, but closed it after the court ruling to avoid a police raid. Before that, his shop had about 14,000 members. He estimates 98 percent of those were patients and the remaining 2 percent were caregivers. He said more than half the patients were older than 50 and of those, more than half were women.

Bay County has 1,247 registered marijuana patients, Clarkson said. There are 118,926 registered patients throughout the state.

The law states patients may compensate caregivers for “costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient in the medical use of marihuana” and that such compensation does not constitute the sale of a controlled substance. The law does not set a standard on how much compensation a caregiver may receive.

It’s keeping marijuana growers in business as the fight over the issue continues in the legislature and the courts.

For Bay City residents like Dawn, a neighbor of a medical marijuana grower, one change she would like to see is a way for others to find out if their neighbor is growing marijuana, similar to the state’s sex offender registry.

But Sharon Stalsberg, Pinconning Township supervisor, sees disadvantages to identifying the location of medical marijuana growers in her area. Until recently, Pinconning had a compassion club on M-13.

“It would be nice to know where they are, but at the same time, do you want it to be that public, where there could be vandalism and crime?” she said. “The majority of people don’t know who has medical marijuana. If someone younger knows where it all is, wouldn’t that be an invitation to have crimes in that area?”

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