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Medical Marijuana Bills Stall In Michigan State

2 medical marijuana bills stall in Michigan Senate
February 3, 2014 | Comments

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Randy Richardville
Randy Richardville

By Kathleen Gray

Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau

FILED UNDER
Local News
Michigan News
Medical Marijuana
Lansing
Bill Schuette
Medical marijuana in Michigan
Year, number of patients, number of caregivers
2011: 119,470; 45,289
2012: 124,131; 50,188
2013: 118,368; 27,046

Number of users in 2013
Macomb County: 7,997 patients; 1,785 caregivers
Oakland County: 10,741 patients; 2,231 caregivers
Wayne County: 14,169 patients; 3,016 caregivers

LANSING — Supporters of medical marijuana were thrilled last year when two bills making it easier for people to buy a variety of medicinal cannabis — including edibles — passed the House of Representative with large bipartisan majorities.

But those cheers may turn to frustration as the two bills have stalled in the state Senate with no visible sign that they’ll move anytime soon.

The bills have been assigned to the Senate Government Operations committee, which is chaired by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, who is not a fan of the bills.

“I’m going to sit on them for awhile,” he said. “We don’t want this ballot initiative to take over. I believe a vast majority of people who voted for it believed we were talking about prescription type of marijuana.”

He’s especially wary of the bill that would let communities decide whether to allow marijuana dispensaries in their towns.

“Unless it’s a real strict distribution system, we’re not going to take a chance,” Richardville said. “At this point, I’m not in favor of dispensaries.”

But the dispensaries are the key for medical marijuana users and caregivers, who, after a state Supreme Court ruling last year, are left with one option: growing their own marijuana, or buying the weed from licensed caregivers who are limited in the amount they can grow.

“We’re just trying to regulate dispensaries and get them under the control of locals,” said Robin Schneider, legislative liaison for the National Patient Rights Association, which advocates for medical marijuana users and caregivers. “There are a lot of municipalities that want them.”

Since Michigan voters passed the medical marijuana act in 2008 by a 63%-37% margin, more than 100,000 people have been certified to use medical marijuana for a variety of ailments. More than 50,000 have become licensed caregivers, although that number slipped to 27,046 in the last year.

The two bills, HB 5104 and 4271, would:

■ Allow for the manufacture and sale of marijuana-infused products, like brownies and oils. These products help medical marijuana users, especially children, who have a hard time smoking the cannabis.

■ Let communities determine and regulate whether they want medical marijuana dispensaries — called provisioning centers — to operate in their communities. The bill also requires testing of the cannabis and limits the involvement of felons in the provisioning centers.

“By not voting for the dispensary bill, you’re saying it’s OK to have people growing their own in communities,” said state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, who sponsored the dispensary bill. “Let’s say if I had cancer and got a prescription to help with my appetite. I’ve never grown anything successfully in my life, and it takes four to six months for it to become medicine.

“I might be gone in six months,” he added. “With provisioning centers, you could immediately reap the benefits.”

But many Republicans in the Senate don’t want to return to the days when dispensaries overwhelmed some communities.

“Lansing had 38 licensed dispensaries. They were in stores, next to schools and next to churches that had rehab programs,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I do not favor the wild, wild west of dispensaries coming back.”

Attorney General Bill Schuette is an adamant opponent of the bills and was one of the leaders in the fight to shut down dispensaries in the state.

“Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, illegal under federal law,” said his spokeswoman Joy Yearout. “Expanding sales will undermine public safety and put more drugs in the hands of kids.”

The approach favored by the Senate, ultimately passed by the entire Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in December was a bill that would allow pharmacies to dispense the medical marijuana. But the bill would only take effect if the federal government changed the designation of marijuana from an illegal controlled substance to a legal prescription drug.

And that’s not likely to happen, at least not in the near future.

“The federal government isn’t going to reschedule the drug,” Schneider said. “That bill did absolutely nothing to help patients, and they deserve better health care.”

Democrats in the Senate generally support the two bills, said Robert McCann, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. And there is a bill in the Senate to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

“But there’s just no momentum to move on them,” he said.

Matthew Abel, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML, said he fears the upcoming budget negotiations will suck all the air out of the Legislature through early summer, and elections will consume legislative attention until November.

“Every day that’s going by is hurting people who don’t have access to what they need,” he said. “But what’s happening is most people are doing what they need to do to get their medicine, and by continuing the prohibition on dispensaries, we’re encouraging the continuation of the black market.”

Contact Kathleen Gray: 517-372-8661 or kgray99@freepress.com

Marijuana has always had the power to change history

The history of marijuana always seemed interesting to me. Then I grew up and realized it is. In fact so interesting that it’s amazing its history at all. However, here in beautiful Denver, Colorado we are starting to see why the farmers way back when we’re encouraged to grow hemp on their farms. Duh! It’s obviously one of the most useful plants america has known of. And ya know government likes money so… You’d think they’d have took it a little further. With cannabis sativas almost infinite uses (including great insulative properties, food,fuel,cleaning the air,soil quality,construction, reducing the use of toxic farm chemicals,protecting forests,clothing,building material,jewelry making,medicinal properties, and oh yeah by the way its an excellent source of nutrition and youll feel real nice through it all) not only does it make sense to grow it makes sense why a new nation still learning about the land and it’s endless love and with a trying road ahead would want to invest in the farming of hemp. And they did. Until they didn’t.

“The Virginia Company, by decree of King James I in 1619, ordered every colonist to grow 100 plants specifically for export. Thus, England’s only colony in America began to grow hemp in order to meet this obligation and, soon, to serve a growing demand in other colonies. George Washington grew hemp at Mount Vernon as one of his three primary crops. The use of hemp for rope and fabric was ubiquitous throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States. Medicinal preparations of cannabis became available in American pharmacies in the 1850s following an introduction to its use in Western medicine by William O’Shaughnessy a decade earlier in 1839.” -Wikipedia (Deitch, Robert (2003). Hemp – American History Revisited. New York City: Algora Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 0-87586-206-3.)

Increased restrictions and labeling of cannabis as a poison began in many states from 1906 onward. Prohibitions began in the 1920s. By the mid-1930s Cannabis was regulated as a drug in every state, including 35 states that adopted the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, Pub. 238, 75th Congress, 50 Stat. 551 (Aug. 2, 1937) was a United States Act that placed a tax on the sale of cannabis.

After the Philippines fell to Japanese forces in 1942, the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army urged farmers to grow hemp fiber and tax stamps for cultivation were issued to farmers. Without any change in the Marijuana Tax Act, over 400,000 acres of hemp were cultivated between 1942 and 1945. The last commercial hemp fields were planted in Wisconsin in 1957. Just watch hemp for victory, a 1943 film for farmers. A film that teaches about hemps history before the states and see for yourself. The film encourages farmers to grow hemp and briefly describes the various methods they can choose to use that have proven good.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0xHCkOnn-A&feature=youtube_gdata_player)

Got to love that special tax stamp for a dollar. Maybe in 1942 but last time I checked it was about 30% here in sunny Colorado. However, with an instate ID or a red card you can knock that down to 15%, which is a relatively fair rate. Considering. Many dispensaries have to carry a lot of cash due to banks not accepting “drug money” and the fact that some of that money is going directly to the community boosting the economy as well as keeping ppl off other easily attainable drugs (you know the real drugs…pharmacuticals and the like.) I’m still debating whether or not it is better to give my hard earned money for medicinal marijuana to dispensaries and recreational stores over my buddy, friend, “hippy stoner kid” , because the tax is just out of the roof, and again you must be part of their system. Still, it has a come a far way from harmless kids and adults alike going to jail for getting high. And this Is progress. Usually the tokers are way more informative than any doctor I’ve been too. “You need to sleep more?..here smoke this.” “You need to eat more smoke this, headache….smoke this. ” I much rather know what is going into my body, proven not to have horrendous side effects than getting random chemicals, who knows what else inside that pill prescribed by a supposedly scholared Phd. Here’s some things they don’t teach you in med school. There’s a reason why too, profit.

So after they decided it was a good and economical idea to grow hemp, why on earth would they have stopped. This is where it usually gets interesting. Government bans drinking, prohibition causes them to lose money, they un-ban it. Sounds about right. So why did they choose to keep it banned till 2014. Not only have they collected money from the war on drugs, they have put many a good people in jail using our tax dollars to keep them there for smoking in their own home,or growing,. I still can’t imagine that the money made doing this would equal half that as if they would have continued the cultivation of marijuana creating an economy that today would look a lot nicer than it currently does. In my humble opinion I think America made a huge mistake turning their back on the farming of hemp in pursuit of money and control, it’s greed.

“Anyone concerned about the failure of our 69-billion-a-year War on Drugs should watch this 12-minute program. You will meet front line ranking police officers who give us a devastating report on why it cannot work. It is a must see for any journalist or public official dealing with this issue” -Walter Cronkite

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LayaGk0TMDc&feature=youtube_gdata_player)

“In 1936 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) noticed an increase of reports of people smoking marijuana, which further increased in 1937. The Bureau drafted a legislative plan for Congress seeking a new law, and the head of the FBN, Harry J. Anslinger, ran a campaign against marijuana” – Wikipedia

(“Harry J. Anslinger, U. S. Commissioner of Narcotics and Will Oursler : The Murderers, the story of the narcotic gangs, Pages: 541-554, 1961”.)

( Hempology.org. 1945-04-26. Retrieved 2011-03-09.
“Additional Statement of H.J. Anslinger, Commissioner of Narcotics”. Druglibrary.org. Retrieved 2006-03-25.)

“Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst’s empire of newspapers began publishing what is known as “yellow journalism”, demonizing the cannabis plant and putting emphasis on connections between cannabis and violent crime. Several scholars argue that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry,largely as an effort of Hearst, Andrew Mellon and the Du Pont family. They argue that with the invention of the decorticator hemp became a very cheap substitute for the wood pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.They also believe that Hearst felt that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon was Secretary of the Treasury, as well as the wealthiest man in America, and had invested heavily in nylon, DuPont’s new synthetic fiber. He considered nylon’s success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp” -wikipedia

“In 1973 President Richard Nixon’s “Reorganization Plan Number Two” proposed the creation of a single federal agency to enforce federal drug laws and Congress accepted the proposal, as there was concern regarding the growing availability of drugs.As a result, on July 1, 1973, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) merged to create the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).On December 1, 1975, the Supreme Court ruled that it was “not cruel or unusual for Ohio to sentence someone to 20 years for having or selling cannabis.”-wikipedia

“In 1976 California law reduced the penalty for personal possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a felony to a citable misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $100. Possession of more than an ounce was made a misdemeanor, making the maximum fine $500 and/or six months in jail. After the law went into effect, the state’s annual spending towards marijuana laws went down 74%. Prior to the law, the state had been spending from $35 million to $100 million” -wikipedia

“During the Reagan Administration the Sentencing Reform Act provisions of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 created the Sentencing Commission, which established mandatory sentencing guidelines. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 reinstated mandatory prison sentences, including large scale cannabis distribution. Later an amendment created a three-strikes law, which created mandatory 25-years imprisonment for repeated serious crimes – including certain drug offenses- and allowed the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins.” -wikipedia

“In 1996 California voters passed Proposition 215, which legalized medical cannabis. The Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative was created to “provide seriously ill patients with a safe and reliable source of medical cannabis, information and patient support” in accordance with Proposition 215.
In January 1998 the U.S. Government sued Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative for violating federal laws created as a result of Controlled Substances Act of 1970. On May 14, 2001, the United States Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Coop that federal anti-drug laws do not permit an exception for medical cannabis and rejected the common-law medical necessity defense to crimes enacted under the Controlled Substances Act because Congress concluded cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use” when the act was passed in 1970.” -wikipedia

“In 1978 Robert Randall sued the federal government for arresting him for using cannabis to treat his glaucoma. The judge ruled Randall needed cannabis for medical purposes and required the Food and Drug Administration set up a program to grow cannabis on a farm at the University of Mississippi and to distribute 300 cannabis cigarettes a month to Randall. In 1992 George H. W. Bush discontinued the program after Randall tried to make AIDS patients eligible for the program. Thirteen people were already enrolled and were allowed to continue receiving cannabis cigarettes; today the government still ships cannabis cigarettes to seven people. Irvin Rosenfeld, who became eligible to receive cannabis from the program in 1982 to treat rare bone tumors, urged the George W. Bush administration to reopen the program; however, he was unsuccessful.”  -wikipedia

In 1973 Oregon decriminalized cannabis. Laws changed again in 1995 that reduced penalties. Colorado, Alaska, Ohio, and California followed suit in 1975. By 1978 Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, and Nebraska had some form of cannabis decriminalization.

“On November 6, 2012, Colorado Amendment 64 (2012) was passed by initiative, thereby legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills on May 28, 2013 that made Colorado the world’s first fully regulated recreational cannabis market for adults. Hickenlooper explained to the media: “Certainly, this industry will create jobs. Whether it’s good for the brand of our state is still up in the air. But the voters passed Amendment 64 by a clear majority. That’s why we’re going to implement it as effectively as we possibly can.” In its independent analysis, the Colorado Center on Law & Policy found that the state could expect a to see “$60 million in total combined savings and additional revenue for Colorado’s budget with a potential for this number to double after 2017” – Wikipedia

“On February 5, 2013 Colorado representative Jared Polis introduced Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 (H.R. 499; 113th Congress), a bill that would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level, instead treating it as a substance to be regulated in a similar manner to alcohol. The act has not been approved by the Congress” -Wikipedia

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ending_Federal_Marijuana_Prohibition_Act_of_2013_(H.R._499;_113th_Congress)

So, here we are today. Fighting to continue the restoration of our right to grow. In 1619 kings ordered farmers to grow, by 1942 farmers were watching films on why hemp is the best crop to grow. Then something took a turn and around 1936 certain powers realized they could be out of business due to the fact that marijuana was so useful it could save forests from the devastating effects that later came from wood pulp for paper production. Hemp farming threatened the very existence of companies looking to make a big buck on land resources. Dupont had money invested in synthetic fibers which hemp can also replace, for much less. As the truth came out about hemps potential, the powers that be quickly saw and redirected the stereotypes to fit their needs. Ignoring the needs of the people, and country America set out to blacklist the marijuana industry.

It is baffling how our government does business. If they aren’t the only ones making money…they pass bogus laws to continue enslaving us to the machine. That’s fine we will adapt, we will be patient, we will grow anyways, we will smoke anyways, and rise above it. WE have the power to change history. We know that money isn’t power or happiness. With that knowledge we will find an even better solution to all the solutions our government divided up into problems. Just as the government took action to control marijuana farming, thus creating more problems such as crime and countless victims spending time and money on fines and jail time
, they seek to control our food as well, for profit of course (more on why the farming industry used to be a solution but now is a problem later). With the re introduction of hemp farming we could change the world. Bring back the good ol’ days, so to speak. Only better because we are more aware and conscious of our actions and the destruction or peace they can cause.