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Former Attorney General Says Marijuana Laws Reflect Our Society's View Of Government

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Special to The Oakland Press


Michigan’s former attorney general said controversy over the state’s medical marijuana law raises larger philosophical questions for citizens and policymakers.


“What kind of a society are we?” said Mike Cox, now an attorney at the Detroit law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC. “What kind of self-government do we choose for ourselves?”


When asked after his speech to comment on raids by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office on medical marijuana dispensaries and clinics, Cox said the problem lies with the clarity of the law itself.


“I’m not going to fault any police agency for following up on what they’re told is a violation of the law,” he said. “I think Lansing (the legislature) needs to do more to clean up the implementation (of the law). It’s that simple.”


Attorney Neil Rockind, who has defended medical marijuana patients in Oakland County, said he’s not a fan of Michigan’s sitting attorney general.


“I’m not just not a fan of (Attorney General Bill) Schuette,” he said. “I’m opposed to his approach, his viewpoint, his mindset.”


Rockind said he wishes he had known Schuette “was going to be as harsh to medical marijuana as he is” when running for office. “I think a lot of people people would not have voted for him if they had known that.”


Cox was the keynote speaker at the Wayne State University Law School’s day-long symposium on marijuana reform. “We have little honest dialogue about marijuana,” he said.


Michigan’s medical marijuana law was approved in a voter referendum in 2008 during Cox’s second term as attorney general. At the time, he found the issue “much ado about nothing,” adding, “I was largely indifferent.”


Cox said he came to see that medical marijuana was “more important than I thought,” and was a question of “liberty interest.”


Liberals and conservatives have conflicting ideas about personal freedom, Cox said. “It’s hard to say there’s clean hands on either side of this debate.”


Cox, who sought the Republican nomination for governor in Michigan’s gubernatorial primary in 2010, said, “liberals don’t see the same attack on freedom with ‘Obamacare.’”


Cox was one of several state attorneys general who filed lawsuits against the federal government challenging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


The criminalization of drugs, however, “changes the cost and benefit equation” of drug use and discourages use by people who follow the law, said Cox. “During the course of the 1980s, there were huge, precipitous drops” in admitted marijuana use on the part of high school seniors, he said.


“Is there a social value in temperance? Don’t the social institutions of government have an obligation to seek the uplift of citizens?” asked Cox.


During a question-and-answer session, Cox said he thought it “a lot more productive for the legislature to address the issue” of interpreting Michigan’s medical marijuana law.


He said law enforcement “just wants to know what the rules are.”


Cox said, to applause, “the reality is, most people don’t smoke weed and (then) beat their wife,” comparing the substance to alcohol. “With that being said, you can’t just say ‘legalize it,’ and let’s all sing ‘Kumbaya.’ There are a lot of practical problems related to that.”


Follow Dustin Blitchok on Twitter @SincerelyDustin.



Edited by AlternativeSolutionsPlus
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Good stuff, I like where he is coming from with this, although I don't support legalization at this very moment. It needs to be medicinalized in all states and then they should mold the bills into being efficient and fair. Following this, they could surely ease into the legalization process after a decade or so of trial and error adjusting the medical marijuana bills. I believe they should legalize industrial hemp right now though as it doesn't make sense what so ever pertaining to it's illegality. I've seen the hurt farmers who were able to grow it for generations tormented by the thought that there children are not allowed to tend the family legacy. Thanks for sharing this sir.

Edited by HeartoFgreen
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Genesis 1:29

"Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food."


So does this part of the biblical message "they will be yours as food" haha


I support legalization completely, though there has to be construction for any blueprint my friend. It should be decriminalized today, but in the meantime we could focus our efforts towards more realistic tasks that would have more of an impact towards getting people the medicine they need. We will get this seed back as a gift and not a fear, I have no doubt about it. Will it happen tomorrow? Most likely not, although the new election might have a substantial amount of impact on this basis. Now that I see it, my wording could've been a bit clearer on that statement.

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