Whitmer administration changing tone around Michigan marijuana regulation

New Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer erred on the side of medical marijuana consumers in urging the reopening of dozens of dispensaries seeking state licenses.

Feb. 12: Whitmer changes course, blocks $10M grant that helps former GOP chair
Related: Meet the ex-drug cop who now regulates Michigan weed
Related: Legal marijuana didn’t end black market elsewhere. What can Michigan learn?
Related: Michigan Democratic leaders Whitmer, Nessel and Benson working in concert

As Michigan moves toward legal sale of recreational marijuana in 2020, new developments in pot regulation only reinforce expectation the industry will find a more sympathetic ear in Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The most obvious evidence is her backing of Proposal 1, which state voters approved in November to legalize recreational weed.

But Whitmer has now weighed in on the regulatory mess surrounding medical marijuana, successfully pushing last week to reopen 70 shuttered dispensaries through the end of March while they seek state licenses.

After prodding from Whitmer and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the state’s medical marijuana licensing board voted to allow dozens of the medical dispensaries to reopen. That brings the number of these storefront retail outlets to 104 ‒ where there once had been 300.

“This is certainly a step in the right direction,” Matthew Abel, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), told Bridge Magazine.

Abel regards the board’s decision as a sea change from oversight practice under the administration of GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, which saw the board move to close nearly a hundred unlicensed dispensaries at the end of 2018.

Marijuana advocate Matthew Abel credits Gretchen Whitmer with a more progressive stance toward marijuana.

Advocates for Michigan’s 300,000 medical marijuana cardholders decried that ruling, warning that it would choke off supply for thousands of patients who use physician-approved marijuana for everything from skin rashes to chronic pain to cancer.

Abel credited Whitmer – and newly appointed LARA director Orlene Hawks – for advocating a second look at policies by the Snyder-appointed board which he views as needlessly restrictive.

“It’s pretty clear that Snyder was slow-pedaling this,” Abel said. “We replaced the governor and Gretchen Whitmer replaced the director of LARA and even in this first month they already have taken action to benefit patients.”

State regulatory officials have said they were just enforcing guidelines approved in 2016 that as implemented required unlicensed medical marijuana outlets to apply for a license by Feb. 15 of last year or be shut down.

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Last March, LARA closed 40 such outlets, issuing letters that said in part: “A person that does not comply with this rule shall cease and desist operation of a proposed marijuana facility."

2019 has been far different. A day before the medical board’s vote this month, LARA issued a recommendation that the board allow the 70 newly closed dispensaries to reopen.

It included a statement by Whitmer: “We have heard from Michiganders closely affected by the ongoing transition to licensed marijuana facilities. It is important that we ensure that patients have access to their medicine while the medical marijuana industry continues to develop.”

The board also agreed to allow marijuana retail storefronts to sell untested medical marijuana supplied by caregivers - individuals legally entitled to grow up to 12 marijuana plants each for up to five patients - until March 31.

But that decision was not without controversy, no surprise given there have been four recalls by LARA this month for medical marijuana grown by caregivers that the agency said was tainted by mold and chemical contamination. As of last week, there had been no reports of illness from untested marijuana to the bureau.

The Michigan Coalition of Independent Cannabis Testing Laboratories condemned the decision to allow sale of untested marijuana, saying it would “undoubtedly flood Michigan's (medical marijuana) marketplace with unsafe, untested cannabis products.”

But Michigan NORML praised the ruling. Board member Rick Thompson said: “This is the system working properly.”

“All the cannabis provided in 2018 was all from caregivers. If we didn’t hear of any illnesses in 2018, then it doesn’t rise to the level of emergency or concern in my mind.”

Related:  Analysis: Eight ways Gretchen Whitmer vows to improve Michigan

Under regulations that took effect at the end of 2017, licensed growers were to supply medical marijuana only to licensed retailers and previously unlicensed outlets were put on notice they had to apply for licenses. But as the first licenses were granted in July, pot patient and industry advocates said this regulated market was squeezing supply.

And as licensing rules took effect, that peak number of approximately 300 retail dispensaries fell sharply as some were denied licenses and others decided not to apply.

These rules changes come as the state shifts from the loosely regulated system that grew up after voters approved medical marijuana in 2008 to a more tightly run network for both medical and recreational marijuana.

The legalization of recreational pot allows those age 21 and up to possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot a day and keep up to 10 ounces in their home. Michigan is the 10th state in the nation and first in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana.

But under terms of Proposal 1, residents likely won’t be able to legally buy recreational pot until early 2020.

Under the new law, LARA’s newly formed Bureau of Marijuana Regulation is to oversee licensing of commercial outlets. The law requires the bureau to make license applications available by December.

Given that Michigan has more than a million pot smokers, the economic stakes are considerable.

The state Senate Fiscal Agency estimates recreational pot sales will reap $262 million more in annual tax revenues by 2023. An estimate by a Colorado-based consulting firm put the estimated revenue much lower, at about $135 million by the time the market matures.

Proposal 1 stipulates that tax revenues are first to be spent on implementation and enforcement of commercial sales. For two years, the next $20 million would go towards research the use of marijuana in treating veterans and preventing veteran suicide.

The unspent balance is to be spent as follows: 15 percent to municipalities where a marijuana retail store is located; 15 percent to counties where a marijuana retail store is located; 35 percent to K-12 education; 35 percent to the Michigan Transportation Fund.

Still, opponents of recreational marijuana warn of risks. If its implementation goes badly, they say, much of the blame will fall on Whitmer.

Recreational marijuana opponent Scott Greenlee: “I think Whitmer should be held accountable” for results under the new pot laws

Scott Greenlee, president of Healthy and Productive Michigan – which opposed Proposal 1 – pointed to evidence that legal pot in Colorado is making the roads there more dangerous.

Analysis by the Denver Post found that marijuana figured into more fatal crashes in the wake of legalization in Colorado in late 2012. In 2013, it found drivers tested positive for the drug in about 10 percent of all fatal crashes. By 2016, it was 20 percent.

“Around the country, wherever this has been legalized for recreational purposes, that’s what we are seeing. There’s more use, more people on the roads that are impaired,” Greenlee said.

Indeed, in Detroit on Sunday, a 26-year-old driver admitted to smoking marijuana before he reportedly lost control of his vehicle, careened up an embankment and sideswiped a state police patrol car on the shoulder of I-75.

Greenlee also noted reports in Colorado and other states with legalized recreational marijuana that foreign drug cartels are moving in under the cover of legal sales to establish their own black market supply of the drug.

“I think Whitmer should be held accountable, if it’s positive or negative. I think overall it’s going to be negative,” Greenlee said.

Bridge Magazine reached out to a spokesperson for Whitmer for comment but was referred to LARA.

On the issues raised by Greenlee, LARA spokesperson David Harns said: “We work closely with (Michigan State Police ) on criminal issues related to the marijuana industry in Michigan. We would defer to them on issues of criminal law enforcement.”

As for the recalls of tainted medical marijuana, Harns said patients may take marijuana products to be analyzed at a state-licensed test facility - of which there are four in Michigan.

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Comments

Joey
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 10:12am

Good, this should have happened decades ago. I'm a republican and even I'm ashamed at the moronic "reefer madness" flying out of the mouths of our GOP reps. It is a disgrace.

Mike
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 10:31am

The citizens have spoken twice on marijuana; yes on medical and recreational marijuana.

It is the job of the government to follow the dictates of the voters. There are many who don't approve of using marijuana, if so, don't use, even better get a prohibition on the ballot and see what the voters say

Tami
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 5:16pm

The government needs follow the dictates of the voters??? Where the hell did you come from? Because of people that think such as yourself, is why we have government in the first place! Why don't we vote to legalize all drugs, heck, why even require a prescription for any drugs? Some people are just to ignorant or reckless to make the right decision's for themselves or anyone else for that matter....

Duncan20903
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 6:03pm

Irrational fear and hysterical rhetoric are not sound bases for the formation of public policy. Infantalizing the citizenry is even less so.

Jennifer
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 11:39am

This is another baffling question- How many people have medical marijuana licenses that dont REALLY need it for medical purposes. You say a million Michiganders were diagnosed and treated for illness prior to obtaining licence and no treatments were effective.. This is a joke! Almost all the potheads I know obtained medical marijuana licenses when they came available by so called "Dr's" so they would be off the hook if they got busted.
This is ridiculous, just make it legal or don't.
As far as driving, marijuana stays is your system for days if not weeks if not months. How do you make sense of that when it comes to driving. I think people were driving and smoking long before legalization. DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT LEGALIZING POT CREATES MORE POT SMOKERS DRIVING CARS?
Perhaps people are just more honest about admission seeing that it is legal and able to be detected.
Now back to all the smokers with a license, anxiety for instance is a approved diagnosis for medical marijuana. What about people that are anxious drivers, wouldnt that help them swing for an argument? I just dont know why one would compare impaired driving while intoxicated to inpaired driving while stoned. There are completely different effects to compare both of these drugs. Now you can use it but somehow there will be a way to detect it and charge you and fine you. I am surely not the only one who can see these points. I dont think this is okay at all. Now for whatever reason law enforcement deems necessary they will be testing patrons that get pulled over whether you have a medical condition, license or not. It would be in violation of HEPA to have to reveal your medical situation. Then when all is legal, potsmokers beware you will be in as much trouble as a drunk driver and be convicted of a crime if you drive a car. Should have left this alone.
What about lung cancer caused by smoking that will increase over the next several decades, oops, oh yah! What about the uncontrollable cost of health care and car insurance. I am sure there will be higher premiums involved for people with medical marijuana licenses or perhaps all of us in entirety. This medical information should be protected by if its truely a medical treatment. How do you decifer all the factors?

Tami
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 7:27pm

You bring up so many awesome points on both sides of the issue..... this is exactly why certain things need to be regulated! This is the reason for government..... This is also the perfect example of why we need government! This isn't an issue that should be decided on by the voters! There are too many immature people in this world to decide on such a big issue. There are also a question on which doctors should've or shouldn't have authorized a prescription for such a drug. What qualifies a doctor to prescribe this? The medical marijuana law was so poorly handled that all you needed to do was pay 100.00 and boom, you are now legal too do this drug. Is there really that many people that medically need this drug? NO! The ONLY part of government that should be qualified to make this decision is the FDA. Michigan couldn't have elected a bigger idiot than Gretchen Whitmer! It's only January and she's already making irresponsible and ignorant decisions about this very subject! Open dispensaries that weren't responsible enough to apply for a license? Not necessary to test the marijuana? DAMN STUPID IDIOT! I think she smoked one too many joints!

Jim
Fri, 01/25/2019 - 3:55am

Just remember, it was government doctors that prescribed opiates to veterans like myself. Endless prescriptions of opiates to me by the VA for over 40 years! I was addicted to these opioids that were prescribed to me by licensed doctors. Twice in that 40 years I became addicted to them and once I accidentally overdosed. Causing wild mood swings and unbelievable constipation, while not even doing that good of a job at managing my pain and preventing me from getting enough sleep.
Then came Medical Marijuana.
I sleep now with much better pain management and no worry about mood swings or waking up dead just from taking the prescribed dosages. I can use as much as I want without the worry of overdose and death. My wife of 42 years has said there is a huge difference in my disposition too. Living with chronic pain is no fun as a disabled veteran.
As far as government is concerned, we as Americans don’t have any idea about what real, true freedoms are! They have successfully weaned us from freedoms once put in place by our Forefathers. Less government equals more freedom. Don’t believe me? Try not paying your property tax and see who REALLY owns your house! You don’t own it, you’re just renting it from the government. You call that freedom? Try to go fishing without a fishing license, try to get married without a marriage license, try to drive without a drivers license, try to hunt without a hunting license, or operate a boat without a watercraft license, try to build without a building permit.... we can thank government for taking our freedoms. Do I hate government? Only if it takes my freedoms. If I’m not hurting anyone else, what’s it matter?

Susan
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 2:12pm

Jennifer, that is between the patient and the doctor. You don't have a say, and this is not a moral decision. Personally, I don't want it and won't use it. You should do the same.

Marley
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 8:14pm

Jennifer
Smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer. Google before you appear ignorant. How about people with chronic pain and are trapped on opioids. Would you feel better about that? People get really messed up on liquor and drive on the wrong side of I-75 and killed a family of five from Michigan?
I have been opiod free since 2011. This plant is a Godsend.
Are you related to Jeff Sessions? you

Jennifer
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 11:39am

This is another baffling question- How many people have medical marijuana licenses that dont REALLY need it for medical purposes. You say a million Michiganders were diagnosed and treated for illness prior to obtaining licence and no treatments were effective.. This is a joke! Almost all the potheads I know obtained medical marijuana licenses when they came available by so called "Dr's" so they would be off the hook if they got busted.
This is ridiculous, just make it legal or don't.
As far as driving, marijuana stays is your system for days if not weeks if not months. How do you make sense of that when it comes to driving. I think people were driving and smoking long before legalization. DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT LEGALIZING POT CREATES MORE POT SMOKERS DRIVING CARS?
Perhaps people are just more honest about admission seeing that it is legal and able to be detected.
Now back to all the smokers with a license, anxiety for instance is a approved diagnosis for medical marijuana. What about people that are anxious drivers, wouldnt that help them swing for an argument? I just dont know why one would compare impaired driving while intoxicated to inpaired driving while stoned. There are completely different effects to compare both of these drugs. Now you can use it but somehow there will be a way to detect it and charge you and fine you. I am surely not the only one who can see these points. I dont think this is okay at all. Now for whatever reason law enforcement deems necessary they will be testing patrons that get pulled over whether you have a medical condition, license or not. It would be in violation of HEPA to have to reveal your medical situation. Then when all is legal, potsmokers beware you will be in as much trouble as a drunk driver and be convicted of a crime if you drive a car. Should have left this alone.
What about lung cancer caused by smoking that will increase over the next several decades, oops, oh yah! What about the uncontrollable cost of health care and car insurance. I am sure there will be higher premiums involved for people with medical marijuana licenses or perhaps all of us in entirety. This medical information should be protected by if its truely a medical treatment. How do you decifer all the factors?

Matthew
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 12:23pm

@jennifer - Where are you getting some of what you wrote? Where did they say a million Michiganders have their licenses? They clearly state that 300,000 have licenses. And please show me where anxiety is an approved condition for getting a medical marijuana card.

You read the article and clearly just saw what you wanted to see, even if none of that was actually in the article.

Dave
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 1:09pm

There will be pros and cons regarding the legalization of cannabis in Michigan, however the elimination of the de facto black market that has been maintained by its prohibition will certainly be a significant plus. Concerns about tainted or impure product being dispensed are valid, however the current situation is a significant improvement over the totally-illicit market that existed before it became legal. The mere fact that there are facilities that can and do test the products makes a significant difference. At least the customers will have the option to accept or reject the available products, based upon their assurances of testing and purity.

The one issue that does have to be dealt with is what constitutes "being under the influence" of cannabis. Unlike a blood-alcohol level that can be measured, either directly, with a blood test, or indirectly (i.e. breathalyzer, etc.), evidence of cannabis remains in users' systems for up to several weeks after use, while the intoxicating effects of the THC diminish after a period of hours.

Mr. Greenlee's comment that drivers in Colorado "tested positive for the drug in about 10 percent of all fatal crashes" may be technically accurate, but it is also likely to be misleading. Testing positive for cannabis is NOT the same as being under the influence of the substance. Detecting a proscribed level of THC would be the appropriate measure of being under the influence.

Clearly the laws will have to catch up with the realities of cannabis legalization and a "legal limit" be established for assessing legal liability for driving, operating equipment, etc. Until such time as that happens, law enforcement authorities will have to do what they have done forever when direct physical evidence of intoxication levels (whether from drugs or alcohol) is missing: Use field sobriety tests, observations of demeanor and behavior, etc. to establish that a person's behavior is due to being under the influence. Clearly an accurate means of testing for the level of THC in a person's system would be most reliable, but without a legal limit, it would be of much less value.

Hopefully the legislature will study and address this issue as we move forward.

Tami
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 8:09pm

Well put Dave.... I just feel that this should all have been figured out before it was even considered for legalization. Too many irresponsible lawmakers! This was far from ready to be put on the floor for a vote let alone on the ballot. Democrats pushed for this because they cared more about regaining power than for the welfare of their fellow Michiganders! VERY SAD!

John r
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 2:36pm

Using their mentality and suggestions regarding marijuana and apply that towards alcohol. Now all these politicans will be dry mouthed...

Agnosticrat 2.0
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 3:25pm

Another vice that conservatives enjoy creating bureaucracy for!
It seems to me conservatives will only allow a vice if they can tax and regulate the hell out of it.
The blame for regulation and taxation magically gets flipped to liberals when you read the comments in article about the shutdown having an effect on beer labels.

Tami
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 8:17pm

ROFLMAO, Conservative taxing the crap out of it??? You really have been smoking this stuff! You really need to check your facts before you make such a foolish comment... It must be your first election as a big boy (or girl)

Agnosticrat 2.0
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 6:18am

It’s true...
The biggest complaint (short of the fact that it is legal) from Republicans has been that the tax involved isn’t high enough.

smitty
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 3:47pm

i dont care one way or another but the voters have spoken and unless i dont understand why anyone was elected i think it was to do the will of the voters so do what we elected you to do

Marjorie Chickeral
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 5:24pm

Way to go Gretchen whitmer I'm glad we have you and for you Jennifer you've got way too much time on your hands to write such a big post on the negativities of marijuana.

Helen Handbasket
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 5:50pm

This will be no good.
Should've kept it for medical purposes only.

Mike Strable
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 6:13pm

I have a few thing to say to Scott Greenlee, how many deaths are there from people smoking medical marijuana? Answer none. And how many are there from drunk driving? Do the math, why dont you make alcohol illegal since there are countless of deaths from that. Dont be so ignorant. Learn your facts

Ron Klug
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 4:17am

Scott you think the cartels haven't been her already for decades.
Prop 1 is not good for them.
Just like you're not good for Michigan.

Ron Klug
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 4:20am

Scott you think the cartels haven't been her already for decades?
Prop 1 is not good for them.
Just like you're not good for Michigan.

Jerome Earnest
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 9:38pm

I think it would stop a lot of weed dealers from making 100s of dollars on the street. 10-20.00 a gram. This should been implemented and it's a good source of tax. Also it works I know from personal experience. Alchol is the drug thats killing people on Michigan roads marijuana just gone make You hungry and You gonna go home and hit the couch or bed only idiits drive a smoke. Make a law that states if You caught smoking or if Your car is fowl then severe punishment that's all You got to do. Make it hard 1 year process to get license back that'll put Shit in check. Marijuana works better than some drugs. Who wants to depend on opiates that's not any quality of life.

Jerome Earnest
Tue, 01/22/2019 - 9:38pm

I think it would stop a lot of weed dealers from making 100s of dollars on the street. 10-20.00 a gram. This should been implemented and it's a good source of tax. Also it works I know from personal experience. Alchol is the drug thats killing people on Michigan roads marijuana just gone make You hungry and You gonna go home and hit the couch or bed only idiits drive a smoke. Make a law that states if You caught smoking or if Your car is fowl then severe punishment that's all You got to do. Make it hard 1 year process to get license back that'll put Shit in check. Marijuana works better than some drugs. Who wants to depend on opiates that's not any quality of life.

Fa' Que Asolez
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 6:17am

Orlene Hawks was newly appointed commissioner by governor Gretchen Whitmer to LARA the licensing board that regulates marijuana in Michigan.

Hawks, of Okemos, is married to Michael Hawks, an owner and principal of Government Consultant Services, Inc. (GCSI). The firm's clients include marijuana interests such as the Michigan Cannabis Development Association, CannArbor Inc., MedFarm of Michigan LLC, and PSI Labs, state records show.
HOW IS THIS NOT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Weed Warrior
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 6:27am

Scott don't know pot

DevonWallace
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 3:23pm

We don't prohibit alcohol for everyone because some use it irresponsibly. Its prohibition caused more problems than it solved...if it solved any problems at all.

Those who believe in limited government, personal responsibility, free markets, and individual liberty should embrace the ending of this irrational, un-American cannabis prohibition. It should be the cornerstone of current GOP policy.

Federal studies show about half of the U.S. population has tried cannabis, at least 15% use it regularly, over 80% of high school seniors have reported cannabis "easy to get" for decades. This prohibition, like alcohol prohibition has had little of its intended effect. In many cases cannabis prohibition makes cannabis usage problematic where it would not have been otherwise, be it light, moderate, or heavy usage. For the most part, cannabis prohibition only successfully prohibits effective regulation.

A few issues created by prohibition: there are no quality controls to reduce contaminants (harmful pesticides, molds, fungus, other drugs), there is no practical way to prevent regular underage sales, billions in tax revenue are lost which can be used for all substance abuse treatment, underground markets for all drugs are empowered as a far more popular substance is placed within them expanding their reach and increasing their profits, criminal records make pursuing many decent careers difficult, police and court resources are unnecessarily tied up by pursuing and prosecuting victimless 'crimes', public mistrust and disrespect for our legal system, police, and government is increased, which is devastating our country.

Prohibition is also very expensive, though, a cash cow for a number of powerful groups such as those related to law enforcement and the prison industry. These organizations have powerful lobbies and influence that perpetuate a failed drug policy through ignorance, fear, disinformation and misinformation. This ensures an endless supply of lucrative contracts, grants and subsidies from the government and its taxpayers to support their salaries, tools of the trade, 'correctional' services, and other expenses. Cash, property and other assets from civil forfeiture laws also significantly fatten their coffers while often violating civil rights.

America was built on the principles of freedom and liberty. In some cases there are extreme circumstances that warrant intervention with criminal law. In the case of mind-altering drugs we have already set this precedent with alcohol. Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and especially to others. If we are to have justice, then the penalties for using, possessing and selling cannabis should be no worse than those of alcohol.

jack
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 7:07pm

Well reasoned, Tami should take lessons.

Chris Heaton
Wed, 01/23/2019 - 3:25pm

I’m for most liberal stuff - I’m not for this. The argument that this vice is no different than alcohol is no doubt true but if the Colorado numbers on traffic fatalities are also true then when do we ever put the brakes on the ever expanding list of freedoms in defense of people who just want to stay alive? Guns? Drugs? Pollution? We are to accept that more people are going to die on our roads in exchange for this new freedom? NO!

Beth
Mon, 01/28/2019 - 4:56pm

I agree! I am a strong Democrat who opposed this measure. Too many young people move on from marijuana as their gateway drug. As someone who works with young adults, I have seen this for decades, before ballot approval. The increase in driving accidents alone sends a caution. The UM study that highlighted the significant percentage of people who drive within a relatively short time after using medical marijuana came out after the November vote. I am dumbfounded that more research wasn't considered before putting this measure up for a vote. I see no advantages for public health or welfare.

Christopher
Thu, 01/24/2019 - 10:27am

No difference between the two parties? Please, the glaring differences between freedom hating Republicans and Personal Freedom Democrats is night and day. The two parties have never been the same, but one has worked hard to get you to believe they are. The Republicans will never work for the common person. They hate freedom.

Linda Jones
Fri, 01/25/2019 - 3:17am

I think that MI is going in the right direction! My nephew struggled with kidney stones for years , couldn't take any of prescribed RX. So couldn't hold a job. Now he's not only been employed, he's gotten a girlfriend, a apartment, car, and a LIFE! Also is a productive member of society. Not costing taxpayers $$$for simply possessing pot and incarcerated for years. That's just plain stupidity. This opoids crisis is MANMADE, then we are treated as drug"addicts" . There are no alternative pain medications available THAT WORK. People who DO NOT live in pain 24/7 of which there is no cure, cannot fathom what that is like. I have RSD. A nerve disease. Pain so severe you don't have ANY quality of life! I've tried all treatments that my insurance will cover. Live in a drugged state because I live in WI! We need to GET REAL, pot helps! Is less damaging than alcohol by far n people do not turn into mean assholes! WI needs to legalize marijuana so we can have the tax benefits to help our state because God knows we definitely need it badly! People need the option of CHOICE instead of BIG PHARMA ruling everything. Way to go MI!

William Clark
Sat, 01/26/2019 - 1:05am

Hmm . . . . A little respect for history, please. No one should promote the canard that marijuana is dangerous--inherently toxic--like pharmaceutical drugs. Marijuana is not a 'drug', unless we lean heavily on Merriam-Webster’s third and broadest definition, as something that affects the mind. By that definition, religion and television (‘the plug-in drug’) should also be included.

There are differences between drugs and medicinal herbs.

Drugs are often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one's arm. 'The works of Man are flawed.'. ‘New’ drugs must be unique creations, different enough from existing 'approved' drugs to merit their own patents. They are tested for 'safety' among limited groups of 'subjects', and therefore carry lists of cautionary notes and warnings--everything lawyers can imagine--implying that the contents have not been proved safe or suitable for all persons.

Medicinal herbs are cultivated, bred, and refined over many years, often over centuries. They are judged successful when they benefit many persons, and are found safe for use within general populations.

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting people to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, break up their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” --John Ehrlichman

Activists have since found that marijuana is the 'gateway' away from alcohol and opiate addictions. Here prohibition of cannabis has been built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as "the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving", which "is arguably a positive thing".

In November of 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—less than their previous rates, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too. Fewer bodies on the road, folks. Hundreds of them, every year.

No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It's the most benign 'substance' in history.

Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuroprotectant that actually encourages brain-cell growth. Researchers in Spain (the Guzman study) and other countries have discovered that it also has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.

Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. In 1936 Sula Benet, a Polish anthropologist, traced the history of the word “marijuana”. It was “cannabis” in Latin, and “kaneh bosm” in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. Why despair? Consider the current medical term for cannabis sativa: a “mood elevator”. . . as opposed to antidepressants, which ‘flatten out’ emotions, leaving patients numb to both depression and joy.

The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times, it was used by a few tribes of Greek pagans. And Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.

Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kanah bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of a dozen uses: ink, paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and neighbors.

Don't want it in your neighborhood? Maybe you're not the Christian you thought you were.

Me? I’m appalled at the number of 'Christian' politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated as sacraments by most of the world’s major religions.