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Diverse Marijuana Movement Could Support Snyder, Senate


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The people participating in the medical marijuana political movement are a diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and members of other parties who support both the democratic process and the adoption of sensible policies with which to implement the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA). The diversity of this political group is reflected in the legislative and public support for sensible reform for medical marijuana and related issues.


The Michigan House showed overwhelming bipartisan support when passing the first patient-friendly medical marijuana bills advanced in five years, HB4271 and HB5104  (passing 95-14, 100-9 respectively) in 2013. The House also gave legislative support to a pair of bills passed in 2014 that move our state forward with research on Industrial Hemp, which received votes for approval of 108-1 and 109-0.


The bill to recognize dispensing locations or “Provisioning Centers” on a state-wide level, HB4271, was originally introduced in 2012 as an industry-generated bill; HB 5104 addresses the need for non-smoked forms of marijuana medicine and is the legislature’s emergency response to a bad Court of Appeals ruling.


Despite the heavily-weighted House votes, the citizens are ahead of the legislators on this issue. Over the last decade Michigan voters have approved sixteen local ballot victories for medical marijuana and local removal of penalties for small amounts for adult personal use, and will give approval in a dozen more cities during November’s general election. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act passed with 63% of the vote in 2008; many  believe that the approval rate would be even higher if the same vote were to take place this year.


Politicians from all parties that embrace the issue have gained votes, proving their support for marijuana law reform is a significant benefit and not “political suicide.” The months leading up to the election will give politicians the opportunity to voice their position on these issues- in particular, the State Senate, and Governor Rick Snyder.


Those patient-friendly bills are expected to be heard on the Senate floor, possibly this month. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville was recently quoted in an MLive article saying that his position has evolved and he is now a “real believer in medical marijuana and the science behind it”. Richardville was quoted saying, in terms of a vote on the Senate floor, that he is  “aiming for September,” but also suggesting that the vote may be held after the elections in order to appease the Michigan State Police.


The State Police, as have all stakeholders, have weighed in and have had their concerns and ideas utilized for amending the language throughout three plus year process of creating a distribution bill suitable for all involved. Despite concessions and lengthy negotiations the State Police have continuously raised additional concerns at every point in the legislative process.


We must begin to wonder if the police are simply trying to disrupt passage of the bills, or if there is a real chance to satisfy their growing list of concerns without compromising the integrity and intent of the proposed laws. Special consideration given to the police, after more than adequate opportunities to address concerns, will not sit well with the voters, paying attention to this process.


The responsible and appropriate way to bring this legislative process to a close, is for the Senate to advance the bills in as close to their current state as possible before the election in November, and for the Governor to give the bills his stamp of approval.


Governor Snyder has stated that it was important to “think outside of the box” when developing new economic opportunities. Many of Governor Snyder’s supporters from within the medical marijuana community also believe that he will see the opportunity and not only support the bills as sensible policy and reflection of the will of the people, but also as a way to live up to his vision and responsibility to the people of Michigan.



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I just find this whole thing about Conservative Republicans suddenly coming over to the rational side of the marijuana argument totally unbelievable. None of their constituents are in favor of looser marijuana laws, so why are they?


There is some sort of political conniving going on here and we won't find out about it until after the elections.

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