By Michael Komorn
Truth Squad: Counting the flips by Michigan AG candidate Pat Miles
March 27, 2018 Ted Roelofs Michigan Truth Squad
In an increasingly caustic race for Michigan attorney general, former U.S. attorney Pat Miles has come under concerted attack ‒ not only from his Democratic primary opponent, but in a series of articles in the Michigan Progressive, a progressive media site.
Miles, who has tilted centrist in the past, is opposed by Dana Nessel, a progressive and the lead attorney in the federal court case that ended up overturning Michigan’s ban on gay marriage. (Nessel famously unleashed a campaign ad last year touting herself in this #MeToo era as “the candidate who doesn’t have a penis.”)
The drumbeat of Michigan Progressive attacks on Miles carries a common theme: that the Harvard Law-educated attorney has cynically discarded his moderate past to better compete with Nessel on the party’s left flank.
Michigan Progressive contends Miles is setting “a record for flip-flopping” on issues from gay marriage to civil forfeiture, and lists a series of position changes by Miles.
We find the Michigan Progressive attacks mostly accurate, even though the publication overreaches a bit.
Among the position changes cited:
Medical marijuana: “Miles refused to say how he voted on the Medical Marijuana Act, which Michigan voters approved in 2008…Now he claims to have voted for medical marijuana in 2008.”
Marijuana legalization: “Miles had stated for months that he would not take a position on legalization, but follow ‘the will of the voters’ at the ballot box. Two days after a poll was released showing legalization at 61 percent support, Miles reversed his position to be in support of legalization.”
LGBTQ rights: “When Miles ran for Congress against (Republican) Justin Amash in 2010, he opposed same sex-marriage. He also denied a speaking opportunity to an LGBTQ activist as Chairman of the Aquinas College Board, and has troubling anti-LGBTQ ties. Now, he calls himself an ‘ally’ of the LGBTQ community.”
Capital punishment: “Miles said he supported the death penalty in his 2010 congressional run. Now he says he is opposed to it.”
Civil asset forfeiture: “Flip-flopped during the Michigan Radio interview! That's got to be a record.”
In a September interview on “Off the Record,” a Lansing political talk show, host Tim Skubick asks Miles more than once if he voted for the state ballot measure passed in 2008 to legalize medical marijuana, including this exchange:
Skubick: “Did you vote yes on it?”
Miles: “I’m not going to talk about my personal vote on that issue.”
Then earlier this month, on March 7, in a Facebook post, Miles said he “voted for the medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2008.”
In that same interview last September, Miles is asked if he backs a 2018 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Miles said then: “It’s up to the voters to decide…I will never use my personal beliefs to undercut what the people decide.”
On March 5, Lansing polling firm EPIC-MRA released a poll that found 61 percent of Michigan voters would vote yes on the ballot proposal. Two days later, again on Facebook, Miles wrote, “I've reviewed the language of the ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and find it to be very thoughtful and well-written, and I support it.”
On gay marriage, Miles was against it before he was for it. In a 2010 candidate survey in his run for Congress, Miles agreed that marriage should “only be between one man and one woman.”
Before that, in 2008, Miles had backed the decision by Aquinas College to cancel a talkby John Corvino, a gay-rights Wayne State University philosophy professor who intended to deliver a lecture entitled "What's Morally Wrong With Homosexuality?"
Miles, the college’s board chairman at the time, said then: “The president is authorized to make those types of decisions regarding on-campus programming and speakers, and his decision was consistent with college and board policy.”
Fast forward to this January, when Miles told Pride Source, a gay rights publication, that his views on gay marriage “evolved” to “where I believe in full equality under the law for everyone and that includes the right of same-sex couples to get married.”
Michigan Progressive also suggested Miles belongs to a church that espouses anti-gay views. The publication shared a 2014 message from Rick Lippert, one-time pastor at Grand Rapids Christian Church, that reads in part: “I do not support homosexuality or ‘homosexual marriage.’”
But according to Lippert’s LinkedIn account, he had left the church a year earlier, in 2013. Jen Eyer, Miles’s campaign spokesperson, said “anti-LGBT rhetoric has never been and is not currently preached at Grand Rapids Christian Church.”
On the death penalty, Miles said during his 2010 congressional race that he supported capital punishment for “certain crimes.”
That sounds similar to his stand in the “Off the Record” interview: “I do believe the death penalty can be appropriate in two very limited circumstances, for mass murders or serial murders where the evidence is absolutely clear that they (crimes) were committed.”
But at a January 13 meeting with 6th Congressional District voters, Miles apparently again evolved, saying: “I am personally opposed to the death penalty. I am very proud that Michigan was one of the first democracies, Western democracies, to outlaw the death penalty in the world.”
Finally, on civil forfeiture, Miles seemed to reverse his position at a March 16 appearance with Nessel on Michigan Radio. The practice, in which law enforcement agencies seize assets of individuals before they are convicted of a crime, has had its critics on the left and the right. A state House bill introduced last year would require a conviction before law enforcement could seize assets under $50,000.
In the Michigan Radio appearance, Miles first states: "There are instances where asset forfeiture is very appropriate,” he said, including forfeiture “before conviction.”
Later in the interview, Miles says to interviewer Lester Graham: “Well, we can go back to the asset forfeiture question if you want. I might have a better sound-bite for you.”
He then adds: “Well, I would say that on asset forfeiture, that we should make sure that there’s due process before people’s assets are taken and that in all cases that law enforcement is not allowed to unilaterally seize assets rather than freeze assets.”
Graham states: “That’s a little different from what you were saying before."
Miles agrees: “It is.”
The call: Mostly accurate.
By and large, Michigan Progressive’s assertion that Miles frequently changes his positions holds up.
Miles declined to say where he stood on legalizing medical marijuana and legalizing recreational marijuana use. Then he came out in support of both. If not a flip-flop, he took fuzzy stands on both before making it clear (in one case, on the heels of decisive polling) where he stood.
He opposed gay marriage. He later said he supported it.
He appears to have expressed different stands on the death penalty in this campaign after supporting it for some crimes in the past.
On civil forfeiture, Miles changed his stand in the course of a single interview.
The suggestion that Miles attended a church whose pastor espoused anti-gay views is not supported. And even if it was true, it’s a stretch to impart views from the pulpit to every congregant.
Hitting back, a Miles campaign spokesperson noted that Liano Sharon, a Michigan Progressive contributor, is Nessel’s cousin. Indeed, Sharon (who acknowledged they are related) shares Nessel’s campaign posts on his Facebook page.
Readers of Michigan Progressive can decide for themselves whether it matters that a key contributor to the publication is Nessel’s second cousin. (Sam Pernick, another Michigan Progressive, said he is the primary author of its articles on Miles.)
Truth Squad is less concerned about the publication’s editorial standards than whether the arrows it directed at Miles had merit. In most instances, they did.
By Michael Komorn
Great Show last night- we had the world renowned leading specialist in the human cannabinoid system Dr. William Courtney. If you want to learn about the health benefits of Raw Juicing the cannabis plant, this is the show you want to listen to. (Dr. Courtney and the Medical Cannabis Communities favorite Legislature Representative Callton will be speaking tonight Friday 10 12 12 at the Genesys Conference and Banquet Center, 801 Health Park Boulevard, Grand Blanc township, MI 48439). Also calling in was Stephanie Sherer, the executive director of ASA. A longtime activist in the medical cannabis community, she provided many details to the upcoming challenge filed by ASA against the Federal Governments schedule 1 classification of marijuana. A special thanks to our in studio staff and other callers who participated in this informative and exciting show: Jamie Lowell, Peanut Butter, Greg Palowski, Pernell, Q tipper, Rick Thompson, Chad Carr, Kevin Spitler, Charme Gholson. Planet Green Trees is sponsored by” the Michigan Medical Marihuana Association-.michiganmedicalmarijuana.org and Komorn Law-18006563557. The archive to this episode can be found here: http://www.blogtalkr...am-l-courtney-s
Michael A. Komorn
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Michigan bills would allow medical marijuana dispensaries, edibles that courts prohibitedhttp://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/12/michigan_bills_would_allow_med.html
LANSING, MI -- Michigan's medical marijuana law would be updated to allow for dispensaries and edible products under legislation debated Thursday in a state House committee.
Legal experts who testified in support of the bills said they are appropriate responses to recent court decisions that limited the voter-approved law, and patients argued that they need easier access to various forms of the drug.
Still, the proposals face an uncertain future in the state Legislature, which has generally moved to tighten medical marijuana regulations since the successful 2008 ballot proposal.
House Bill 4271, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, would let communities decide whether they want to allow dispensaries. Medical marijuana storefronts had operated in Michigan until a February ruling by the state Supreme Court forced them to close.
"Local control will allow cities, townships and villages to regulate the level they feel most comfortable with," Callton said in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. "And for those communities who feel it is inappropriate, it allows them to opt out all together."
Under Callton's bill, municipalities also could require dispensaries to test their medical marijuana for quality, purity and contaminants -- or contract with a "safety compliance facility" to do so. Patients would be prohibited from using the drug on premises.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act does not specifically reference dispensaries, providing the basis for the state Supreme Court ruling, but patients who had obtained their medications from such facilities said they made it easier to obtain safe products in forms that suited their needs.
John Targowski, a Kalamazoo-area attorney who helped write the city's charter amendment that made marijuana the lowest possible priority for local police, has been a wheelchair user since suffering a spinal cord injury in 1999. He testified that he uses medical marijuana to treat pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dispensaries, he said, had offered him access to a variety of marijuana oils and edibles that he was able to use in a professional environment.
"I go to court. I meet clients. And sometimes, particularly if it's in the day, if I need medicine I don't want to be knocked out and high," Targowski said. "The ability to pick and choose and experiment within the types of strains and products gives greater leeway to people like me who go to work everyday in a suit."
Ann Arbor City Attorney Steven Postema, who helped write that city's medical marijuana ordinances, testified in support of the dispensary bill as a means to improve the state law, which he called the "worst" in the country. He challenged lawmakers to "do the right thing" rather than deferring to the Supreme Court decision.
"It's a second step to the Medical Marihuana Act," he said. "It's not legalization. It's not forcing a community to have a dispensary, but it will be that next step to take dispensaries out of the legal limbo they are in now."
House Bill 5104, sponsored by state Rep. Eileen Kowall, would update the medical marijuana law to clarify that multiple parts of the plant -- including dried leaves, resin and extracts -- can be eaten or otherwise used by patients.
The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a July decision, ruled that "pot brownies" are not a usable form of marijuana under the medical law, essentially prohibiting non-smokable forms of the drug, including topical creams, drops and edibles. An appeal request has been filed with the Michigan Supreme Court.
"Smoking obviously delivers harmful substances to the respiratory system," said Kowall. "The community of marijuana patients and caregivers in Michigan desperately needs alternative delivery methods."
Rebecca Brown, founder of the Pediatric Cannabis Therapy Group, testified that edible marijuana is the most effective treatment method she's found for her son, who suffers from a rare disorder that causes frequent seizures.
"This is a deadly disease. It's a genetic mutation. He'll never outgrow it," said Brown, noting that her son once suffered a seizure that lasted 40 minutes but is doing well on medical marijuana. "I am asking you, please, don't let parents live that, please."
Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, also testified in support of his proposal that would allow the state to regulate large-scale growing facilities and sell medical marijuana through pharmacies in the event the federal government reclassifies the drug.
Senate Bill 660, approved in the upper chamber last month, would not replace the state's caregiver-patient model, Kahn said, but would provide patients with the option to access carefully tested and consistently dosed medicine.
Former state House Speaker Chuck Perricone, now working for Prairie Plant Systems Inc. of Canada, helped write the bill and answered questions from lawmakers on Thursday.
The bio-pharmaceutical company has been Canada's primary medical marijuana provider for more than a decade and already owns a facility in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Committee Chairman Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, took roughly an hour and a half of testimony on the bills before ending the hearing to allow members to attend a scheduled House session.
A second hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Lansing.
By Michael Komorn
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 1, 2013
State Rep. Mike Shirkey will host a citizen town hall event in Jackson County on Aug. 14 to help create a public dialogue on drug enforcement strategies and policy.
Shirkey said the debate needs to happen, based on both the citizen initiative that legalized medicinal marijuana and the introduction of legislation such as House Bill 4623, which would impose fines instead of jail time for the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana.
"Michigan citizens expect and demand that we strive to balance the needs of personal freedom, public safety, pain management and a host of other factors as we determine how to best spend the people's tax dollars," said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. "Are we forcing law enforcement to police and jail recreational marijuana users instead of using time and money that should be going to battle our meth lab epidemic? Are we limiting reasonable options to end-of-life pain management by putting excessive restrictions on medicinal marijuana? Those are questions that politicians, law enforcement, and most importantly the general public, need to actively discuss and answer."
The town hall, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 5-7 p.m. at the Grass Lake Township Hall, 373 Lakeside Drive.
Shirkey is inviting several people to speak and is hopeful for a large turnout, regardless of people's position on the issue. State Rep. Jeff Irwin, the author of HB 4623, will attend as will former prosecutor James Gierach, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
Seventeen states have some type of marijuana decriminalization laws on the books, according to LEAP, and the organization said they were interested in coming to the Jackson area in part because of a local petition drive addressing decriminalization.
"My time working with law enforcement as a Cook County prosecutor and municipal attorney showed me firsthand how frequently we are turning average citizens into criminals and not spending enough time tracking down and dealing with the true bad guys in this equation," Gierach said. "You can be both tough and appropriate with drug enforcement once you start to differentiate and realize the serious downsides of a one-size-fits-all policy. We've already seen that with alcohol and prohibition, and I think we're going to see that very soon with recreational marijuana use as well."
People with questions may call Rep. Shirkey's office at (517) 373-1775. Gierach will also be making himself available for private meetings with interested public officials by appointment, and can be reached through the LEAP offices at (315) 243-5844.
By Michael Komorn
Going Live at 8:00 p.m. EST
February 7, 2013 8-10 p.m. 13473269626 dial 1 to get on the air
Guests: We are honored to have returning and taking care of unfinished business from last week:
Power House Attorney Neil Rockind, aka the Rockweiler joins us again to discuss and analyze P v, Green (holding patient to patient transfers where no money is exchange is protected from arrest and prosecution). Additionally we will take a look at 2 other recent COA opinions regarding medical cannabis: P v. Hinzman (perjury case) and P v. Hill (warrantless search of a home-emergency exception)
Dan Riffle attorney and legislative analyst for Marijuana Policy Project. (MPP)
Representative Mike Callton ® Nashville MI
Also we will be revisiting some of the important cases still pending in the Judicial system that will have an impact on the interpretation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
On the Agenda: Robert Redden, Barb Agro, People v. McQueen, People v. Jeff Ellis (Bad Axe), Marshall Alternatives.
Also on the agenda for discussion: Everything that is Cannabis or Medical Cannabis related
Brought to you by: Our Regular Group of Community Entertainment.
Your host: Attorney Michael Komorn of Komorn Law 18006563557
Regular guests: Chad from the Birmingham Compassion Club, Jamie Lowell of Third Coast Compassion Center, Rick Thompson-Editor and Chief of the Compassion Chronicles- reporting on news events, Canna-Miracles our very own Gold Cup Winner. Thanks to Purnell Jameson and Greg Pawlowski for producing tonight’s show.
Tonight's Show Sponsored By: MMMA: michiganmedicalmarijuana.org Thanks to all the moderators especially Q tipper!
Komorn Law - Atty Michael Komorn (800) 656-3557-
The Med Joint Community Compassion Center - Oshtemo, MI Kevin Spitler