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Knezek: Regulations Needed To Shore Up Medical Marijuana Laws


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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working together to help clarify and shore up inefficiencies within the state’s medical marijuana law.


Last week, state Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) introduced a bipartisan bill that would make it legal for “provisioning centers,” better known as dispensaries, to operate around the state.

“What the Legislature failed to do following the passage of that ballot proposal was enact any sort of language that detailed provisioning centers,” Knezek said. “What you have right now is essentially the wild, wild, west. You have dispensary after dispensary popping up in our communities with no regulation as to where they can locate.”

A bill that mirrors the Senate version also was introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives last week.

 

One or both bills is expected to be acted on “quickly,” according to Knezek.

Medical marijuana was approved by voters in 2008, but due to language in the law, selling and possessing marijuana is still technically illegal. The substance remains illegal at the federal level.



The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that qualified patients and caregivers cannot transfer marijuana to another patient or anyone else, and dispensaries that facilitate such transactions can be shut down as a public nuisance. Some municipalities have let the dispensaries continue to operate while others have not.

“I have a number of residents who reach out to me to share their frustrations,” Knezek said. “Even if they are OK with the concept, they aren’t OK with how close these places are locating next to schools and places of worship. For me, that is a very big problem.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has issued opinions that because of the lack of laws outlining the legality of a dispensary that they are all illegal. Knezek hopes his bill will shore that up and help create better ways for patients to get the medicine they need.

“This legislation establishes provisioning centers so that patients and providers have a destination to get their medical cannabis,” he said. “It also provides for third party testing of all substances that go out the door. Patient safety is something that has failed to be a part of this conversation for a long time now. This will require testing to ensure there are no contaminants in the product.” Continued...

 

While he isn’t a sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Hoon-Young Hopgood (D-Taylor) said he could be in favor of the bill after it passes out of committee if it truly will help clear up confusion in the law.

“My whole outlook is trying to help implement the law that the people supported, without going way beyond the intents and spirit of that law,” he said. “I haven’t looked closely at Sen. Knezek’s bill, but if it is a clarifying bill that will help implement the law and doesn’t create a whole lot of other issues then it makes a lot of sense.

“The voters passed the law by a very good margin. So if there are issues that need to be clarified then we should do that.”

According to Knezek, another important piece of the legislation would be setting up a searchable statewide registry and database for law enforcement. That database would have updates on all authorized users, caregivers and provisioning centers and be available 24 hours a day.

“That would allow law enforcement to root out the bad actors,” he said. “That needs to be a priority for us. The people with a legitimate medical need is well and good, but I don’t believe that you should be able to put up a sign on Telegraph and Ford Road and say ‘meet me at such and such, and I’ll give you a marijuana card.’”

Knezek said the most important part of the proposed legislation is that it puts all of the control over the dispensaries in the hands of local government.

“It gives our communities the right to say if they want zero provisioning centers in their community then that will happen,” he said. “This is because as of right now we have zero regulations. This will give our local municipalities the right to enact ordinances and law enforcement the ability to enforce them,”

The legislation, which supporters say would give patients safe access to marijuana, needs regular majority support from the Republican-controlled Legislature to go to the governor's desk because it would not directly amend the 2008 marijuana law.

Another bill would authorize non-smokable marijuana such as oils, food items and pills. It requires a vote from three-quarters of the House and Senate because it would change the voter-initiated law.

"Sixty-three percent of voters wanted the use, the compassionate use, of medical marijuana for certain classes of patients," House Health Policy Committee Chairman Mike Callton (R-Nashville) told the Associated Press. This package of bills helps to fulfill the intention of the voters."  Continued...

 

 

Michigan has 165,000 residents allowed to use marijuana to treat cancer and other illnesses and nearly 32,000 licensed caregivers.

Under the new law, dispensaries will only be able to sell “excess” medical marijuana. The same limits on how many plants and patients a caregiver can have will stay in place. A caregiver is allowed up to 12 patients with five plants per patient.

“The Legislature really missed the boat when we first passed laws related to medicinal cannabis,” Knezek said.

This bill is similar to a bill discussed by the Senate and the state House late last year.

Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, said the group hopes to find middle ground with legislators after opposing the legislation last year.

Chiefs worry about letting caregivers sell up to 3 pounds of overage amounts of marijuana a month to dispensaries for distribution.

"The argument was that you need to have this medical marijuana outsourced because people can't get their medical marijuana," Stevenson said. "That's not true. There's plenty of marijuana out there. It's not supposed to be a for-profit business."

Both Democrats and Republicans are backing the new bills.

 

 

http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2015/02/26/news/doc54eff0bdba1c7248735313.txt?viewmode=fullstory

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“I have a number of residents who reach out to me to share their frustrations,” Knezek said. “Even if they are OK with the concept, they aren’t OK with how close these places are locating next to schools and places of worship. For me, that is a very big problem.”

 

how is having a dispensary near a church some kind of affront to the church?

 

did the pope say marijuana was evil or something? did i miss something?

 

WHAT IS IT WITH THE CHURCHES?

Edited by t-pain
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They vote .....

And they don't want "our kind" near them.  Which is why I don't go to church.

  So sick of this bigotry.  We should start a bunch of bills to move drug stores that fill prescriptions away from our schools and churches.  And gov't buildings, I don't want my kids seeing that stuff.  And bars, police stations and politicians offices.  They are all bad influences.

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Wouldn't that proposal to set up a searchable database for police go against the Act and therefore require 75% approval?

 

This article is full of false statements.

Yes. But they say they have the votes. They have been trying to bamboozle us into thinking this legislature actually has something good to offer. I've been jumping up and down hollaring about it here, there, and everywhere. And the bamboozled just keep fighting my message that this legislature has nothing good to offer and they just want to totally flog up THE ACT.  

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Church is another word for red-lining. The school thing is bogus too, but people buy into that one a little more. I remember as a kid (heck, even today) walking into the party store down the road from school. After you enter you pass a magazine rack full of adult magazines, then you have to walk around the 12 coolers of beer to get to the soda or candy. Walk up to the register and i'm looking at 200+ bottles of booze and 20 brands of smokes. What got my attention in the first place was the eight neon signs...

 

.

Edited by suneday11
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David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights)

 

Anybody want to pretend this guy is a "liberal"?

 My wife's uncle ran and won a seat as a D. He never voted D in his life. He's a solid arsehole R in sheeps clothing, enjoying a D seat. All you can do is point it out as often as possible. Nobody gets an automatic pass until they actually do something for us(see my sig). Some of these guys think it is cute to pretend to have the values of the party they are supposed to represent. Watch them go around the track and see how they act is the only way to tell who they are. 

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This disgusts me. We have to put up with this crap just because he sponsored the dispensary bill? Why do we have to keep enlisting such muffin makers?

 

Why get into bed with these idiots at all?

It's a legit concern... were I to yank out my card w expectations that it afforded me legal rights & protections, then they have the expectation to verify it's validity.

 

My hope is the day there is an attitudinal shift, by both us & the coppers. Where weed ain't no thang, and we can treat eachother w basic respect & civility. Cops approach us amicably & we respond in kind. It's not that far off really... we r pretty darn close, just got to get over the hump, and a dispensary bill will go a long way towards that. Cops arent going away, so altering their perceptions & behaviors is our goal.

 

The registry shouldn't b that big of a deal. Could it be abused by certain cops in certain areas? Sure, of course.

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It's a legit concern... were I to yank out my card w expectations that it afforded me legal rights & protections, then they have the expectation to verify it's validity.

 

My hope is the day there is an attitudinal shift, by both us & the coppers. Where weed ain't no thang, and we can treat eachother w basic respect & civility. Cops approach us amicably & we respond in kind. It's not that far off really... we r pretty darn close, just got to get over the hump, and a dispensary bill will go a long way towards that. Cops arent going away, so altering their perceptions & behaviors is our goal.

 

The registry shouldn't b that big of a deal. Could it be abused by certain cops in certain areas? Sure, of course.

 

The only way I don't fight this tooth and nail is if the database also contains the names and quantity on hand for all of the people in the State or traveling in to the state with other controlled substances.

 

This is an absurd over reach of legislation to solve a non-existent problem. You do not need to register in order to get medicinal relief. The police do not need a database for whatever purpose this misguided legislator is proposing.

 

Any time I'm told I have to "register" in order to obtain a basic civil liberty there is a problem.

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Don't they have a meth lab or crack house to bother?

 

No registration program for them so they aren't as dangerous obviously.

 

Now a medical marijuana user? Better be able to track them at any given moment. Perhaps a GPS tether would be sufficient for Senator Knezek.

 

Regulate anyone who will allow you to regulate them as often as you can to make up for those people who ignore your regulations. That seems to be their approach.

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Yes. But they say they have the votes. They have been trying to bamboozle us into thinking this legislature actually has something good to offer. I've been jumping up and down hollaring about it here, there, and everywhere. And the bamboozled just keep fighting my message that this legislature has nothing good to offer and they just want to totally flog up THE ACT.  

Maybe Leo and some other groups are supporters of the Bills because it would help Leo uncover all the Grows  that people maybe illegal doing  while protecting caregivers with Legal grow Operations       

 

I agree the people that work for us in Lansing are not for Cannabis inn anyway and they never have been but some still think they are there friends i am not going to name names

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