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Dispensaries And The Intent Of The Voters


bobandtorey
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November 28, 2013


In 2008, 63% of Michigan voters said YES to changing the marijuana laws in our state to allow the sick and injured to use medical marijuana to ease their pain and discomfort. The mandate created by that language was broad but when the citizens cast their ballots they were voting for a law that was something larger than the words on the page.


1st-edition-4M-mag-363x500.jpg

Ist Issue of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine showing all 83 counties in Michigan voted YES on the 2008 MMA



Through press conference performances that saturated statewide media, a cadre of marijuana foes created an impression of the pending law that told Michigan citizens if they voted for the medical marijuana law, they were allowing medical marijuana dispensaries.


Most famous among the anti-marijuana voices heard in 2008 was then-Appellate Judge William Duncan Schuette. From his position on the politically neutral Court of Appeals, Bill Schuette took a decidedly not-neutral stance against the proposed law. He paired with notable figures in Michigan politics to hold press events and make public appearances where they criticized the proposal.


“California-style pot shops” on every corner, Schuette famously told the Michigan voters. The story circulated in newspapers from Marquette to Monroe. His quotes about the impending proliferation of marijuana dispensaries were repeated on radio programs and on Internet news portals. Schuette made it a personal mission to ensure that no adult in the state would be casting a vote without a clear understanding of the consequences.


Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard stood with Schuette in many of the media appearances, often wearing his dress blue police uniform when doing so. He told all Michiganders that dispensaries would emerge as a natural consequence of the law- even though the safe access centers are not expressly mentioned in the Act itself. “Make no mistake about it,” he said into the camera on more than one occasion.


Bouchard was, arguably, the state’s most prominent law enforcement officer at that time. Another former law enforcement officer, House Representative Rick Jones, sided with Schuette and Bouchard to warn voters of the dangers of dispensaries. Jones is a former Sheriff and now sits in the Michigan Senate.


“Crime,” they predicted. “Diversion to children,” they told Michigan residents. “Dispensaries,” they warned.


Karen O’Keefe from the Marijuana Policy Project tried to dissuade Schuette, Bouchard and Jones. She told them and voters that dispensaries were not written into the law; Schuette said it didn’t matter. “They are coming,” he told people, a stern look upon his face, “if you vote for this law.”


Michigan-Local-Elections-an1.jpg63% of voters said, we think that’s a good idea. They voted for what was written in the law AND the unwritten consequence of organized distribution centers.


Since 2008, court decisions have picked apart the Voter Directed Initiative and twisted the broad mandate of the people into a narrow window of exemption; legislation has been passed that created more restrictions on patients with no additional protections. Often when creating these restrictions, legislators or judges will cite “the will of the people” as indicated by their vote in that fateful November 2008 election.


When questions of intention arise, the 63% landslide election should be enough to prove that a broad, permissive scheme was contemplated by the electorate.


If that argument is not convincing, one need only look to the voting record in elections since that date to see what the people intended. In local elections since 2008, Michigan citizens have chosen to relax marijuana laws- including adopting a full legalization scheme- on 9 different occasions.


That is nine victories without a defeat. Earlier this month, three cities voted to legalize adult use of marijuana. Last year, five cities voted to relax their marijuana laws; two legalized marijuana, one decriminalized the possession and use, one made enforcing pot laws the lowest priority for their police and one city- Kalamazoo- established rules for dispensaries to operate within. In 2011, Kalamazoo also passed a lowest law enforcement priority measure.


With that 63% victory in 2008, the legitimacy of organized distribution was clearly established. For Schuette (or others) to state that dispensaries were not contemplated by the electorate when they voted in 2008 is to ignore his own anti-marijuana campaign. It denigrates his efforts. It makes him look like a liar.


We are on the cusp of passing a bill that would protect these safe access centers from state and local prosecution. When the language of the bill is debated it is essential to remember that The People did not intend the MMA to become a narrow lane of exception. The Act allows registered and unregistered patients access to medical marijuana; although the dispensaries contemplated under HB 4271 will only serve the registered patients, empowerment was given to all Michigan adults that wish to use medical cannabis. Dispensaries did erupt after the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was passed, and they still exist in Michigan today.


Dispensaries exist for a very good reason- because the people said they wanted them. The People continue to say they want them by patronizing their services. The People cry out for more distribution centers- just ask Kalamazoo. It’s time to make the will of The People a protected and functional legal reality.


 


 


http://thecompassionchronicles.com/2013/11/28/dispensaries-and-the-intent-of-the-voters/


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just take a look at the ones allowed to operate around the country, unimpeded. These places have costs, and today it is illegal to deduct costs when filing taxes, if the deductions are involved in the manufacture or distribution of a schedule1 substance. the irs is most often involved in these raids, go figure. The whole thing may be an internal revenue thing, rather than a provisioning thing, one day.

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‘It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes.’ Josef Stalin said.

some say "it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.

others might say " bad officials are elected by good folks, who do not vote"

I've heard some say  "vote for the man who promises least, he'll be the least disappointing

Hitler said " Thus inwardly armed with confidence in God and the unshakable stupidity of the voting citizenry, the politicians can begin the fight for the 'remaking' of the Reich as they call it. How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think.

 

And what would someone say to the voting public when they may say i don't vote because my vote doesn't count anyway 

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I'm not sure how anyone can expect that the average voter thought they were voting for dispensaries when neither the law as written nor the ballot language says anything about it.  Of course Schuette said that if the law passed, that dispensaries would proliferate...so maybe some voters had that in mind. 

 

When I talk to a layperson about this topic, they generally don't have a clue.  They didn't specifically vote for dispensaries, and they didn't vote against them.  They just didn't give it much thought.  The average voter doesn't really seem to have a good grasp of things MMJ in Michigan.  In some ways, the 63% voting for MMJ in Michigan in 2008 was symbolic.  The majority said that MMJ should be allowed, but, from what I have seen, most people who voted in favor if MMJ were uninformed and simply felt that allowing access to MMJ was a good thing.  The support for MMJ might be interpreted as a mandate to allow easy access to MMJ even of the law as written doesn't make it all that easy.

Edited by Highlander
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Schuette only said there would be dispensaries because it was polling at 40% and slightly under for support of dispensaries(Thus why the law did not include them; they(MPP) believed it would fail overwhelmingly if dispensaries were allowed in the Act). Compared to the 58% that supported MMj, Schuette believed it to be a wedge issue he could use to get the initiative to fail.   MPP(marijuana policy project)  paid for tv and radio ads all over the state specifically stating that there would not be any "California type dispensaries" and that the "MMMA specifically does not allow for them in this law".

 

 

So, there ya go.

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I mean, if you are going to say the most anti marijuana politician in the state(Schuette) was right about dispensaries, you have to say he is right with all his horrible AG opinion letters stating each set of 12 plants must be in separate rooms...etc etc etc.

 

The dude is just simply full of Schuette and said and says whatever he wants that puts a negative light or a monkey wrench in the works. When I hear dispensary advocates using Schuette as their reason why dispensaries are legal in the Act, it makes me want puke.  They are both a side to the same coin and neither are out for the little guys or to help anyone but themselves and to promote their narrow objectives.

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These local ordiannces are symbolic measures to create momentum to change state law.  No different than the State laws for medical cannabis are merely symbolic measures to create momentum to change the law federally.

 

Now, City police officers in that town will likely respect the ordinance,  but county state and federal will not.  Just as with State, it does not change what the Feds do to us.

 

So, these votes are FAR from being useless. They are HUGE and meaningful.  Can you imagine the Anti marijuana crowds press releases if those measures failed?

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I mean, if you are going to say the most anti marijuana politician in the state(Schuette) was right about dispensaries, you have to say he is right with all his horrible AG opinion letters stating each set of 12 plants must be in separate rooms...etc etc etc.

 

The dude is just simply full of Schuette and said and says whatever he wants that puts a negative light or a monkey wrench in the works. When I hear dispensary advocates using Schuette as their reason why dispensaries are legal in the Act, it makes me want puke.  They are both a side to the same coin and neither are out for the little guys or to help anyone but themselves and to promote their narrow objectives.

So what do you suggest?  Patients would be much better served w/ a dispensary model in place.  I was able to try 6 types immediately and start getting true relief the first time out from 1 strain.  I'm all new to this but i think that the patients would be served better if they could get overages from caregivers that can only serve 5 patients at the moment.   It pushes people to substandard caregivers without them.

 

  I just can't believe that all the dispensaries are only out to serve themselves if people like me have been able to get true quick relief from dispensaries that are only out for themselves or their narrow objectives.  I've had one offer to buy my overages if they test out ok.  Not that I'm thinking of it till it's 100% legal but it seems they're looking for local suppliers.  I guess I just haven't been around to see the cases your taking about and since I know absolutely no one in Michigan the dispensaries were my, not only choice but easiest and maybe the best.  I couldn't even try something from a chosen caregiver and would have to put complete trust in a stranger on the internet otherwise.  And i'd be stuck with that person for a long time in switching if they weren't up to snuff

Edited by Norby
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These local ordiannces are symbolic measures to create momentum to change state law.  No different than the State laws for medical cannabis are merely symbolic measures to create momentum to change the law federally.

 

Now, City police officers in that town will likely respect the ordinance,  but county state and federal will not.  Just as with State, it does not change what the Feds do to us.

 

So, these votes are FAR from being useless. They are HUGE and meaningful.  Can you imagine the Anti marijuana crowds press releases if those measures failed?

Didn't Lansing and certainly Ferndale say the law means nothing and the cops will just enforce state law?  I agree it's still meaningful but not as much as it darn well should be.

Edited by Norby
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If dispensaries opened up and removed the money from the equation, I'd believe in them wholly. I'm not against them making money, but have never seen a place where I could drop off my overages, and the needy could pick them up, for free, all the way around. Not sure that model would even work, with people running it.

 

Point is, they are not doing this so patients have access, anymore than Walmart wants to feed the hungry. Dispensaries profit hugely often, and that's why they continue to take the risks they do. They may give rationale for their purpose, with thoughts of philanthropy, and compassion, with citing's of free meds to the needy and donations to the hungry, but could not do so without a 200%-400% mark up.

I applaud the enterprising, the provisioning, and even good ole American business practices, but am bummed about their representation then and now.

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If dispensaries opened up and removed the money from the equation, I'd believe in them wholly. I'm not against them making money, but have never seen a place where I could drop off my overages, and the needy could pick them up, for free, all the way around. Not sure that model would even work, with people running it.

 

Point is, they are not doing this so patients have access, anymore than Walmart wants to feed the hungry. Dispensaries profit hugely often, and that's why they continue to take the risks they do. They may give rationale for their purpose, with thoughts of philanthropy, and compassion, with citing's of free meds to the needy and donations to the hungry, but could not do so without a 200%-400% mark up.

I applaud the enterprising, the provisioning, and even good ole American business practices, but am bummed about their representation then and now.

What are they buying it for if I can get an ounce for $340 or less, sure some is more? Why would they let you give away free meds when they are trying to make ends meet?  If you gave it to them I'm sure it'd be even less than $280/oz. Make a deal with them to sell yours for $100/oz.  I'm sure they'd rather do that than have the dispensary next door do that.

Isn't everything at any store a 200% markup to cover elec. gas. rent. employees. and esp. current risk. etc?  who's going to fund their defense or do the time for them or pay the fees?  It'd be different if they were allowed then good people could get into it.  It's like blaming the current black market activities on the drug and not the black market.  Which is a good analogy.  Do you think criminals are just going to get out of it unless it's made completely legal to run a dispensary?

 

Walmart doesn't supply only medicine and can mark up imports.  Aren't dispensaries buying at least some if not all local?  Walmart isn't a good analogy although I see what you were getting at it's a bit misleading.

 

It seems to me that they'd have an impossible model to live up to your expectations.

Edited by Norby
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No misunderstandings, I like them. they paid me more money than patients could afford, and allowed me to provide needy patients for way below actual costs. No judgment from me towards them. I'll be the first in line with overages the minute its legal for me to do so. If consumers will pay 1000 dollars per ounce buying by the gram, why would I mind?  I cannot sell grams at a time, and that's the way its always worked in business. Let the people decide what they will pay at the counter, like the rest business.  like any for profit corp, they better always be showing it's intent of making more profit, for themselves, of course, its business law.

I was only pointing to the common thought they are sweethearts with compassion driven provisions. Pointedly, towards your comment "  I just can't believe that all the dispensaries are only out to serve themselves."  my response could have said ' of course they are, just like any other commercial enterprise'.

 

peace

 

What are they buying it for if I can get an ounce for $340 or less, sure some is more? Why would they let you give away free meds when they are trying to make ends meet?  If you gave it to them I'm sure it'd be even less than $280/oz. Make a deal with them to sell yours for $100/oz.  I'm sure they'd rather do that than have the dispensary next door do that.

Isn't everything at any store a 200% markup to cover elec. gas. rent. employees. and esp. current risk. etc?  who's going to fund their defense or do the time for them or pay the fees?  It'd be different if they were allowed then good people could get into it.  It's like blaming the current black market activities on the drug and not the black market.  Which is a good analogy.  Do you think criminals are just going to get out of it unless it's made completely legal to run a dispensary?

 

Walmart doesn't supply only medicine and can mark up imports.  Aren't dispensaries buying at least some if not all local?  Walmart isn't a good analogy although I see what you were getting at it's a bit misleading.

 

It seems to me that they'd have an impossible model to live up to your expectations.

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in your opinion do you think the reason is 1)Price, 2) Quality,3) Lack of local availability ?

 

 

Not sure how things are working right now, but earlier this year my sources indicated that the vast majority of dispensary-sold cannabis was from Cali and Colorado.  I'd much rather buy local.  And interstate commerce just begs the feds to get involved. 

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