Michigan's Medical Marijuana Law Shrouded in Haze

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  Michigan's Medical Marijuana Law Shrouded in Haze

Posted by CN Staff on December 22, 2010 at 05:42:08 PT
By Tim Martin and Mike Householder, AP Writers 
Source: Associated Press  

Lansing -- Michigan's two-year-old law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes is leaving communities, courts, patients and police locked in disputes over what is legal and what isn't.Many patients who have the state's OK to use marijuana to ease their pain from conditions ranging from cancer to Crohn's disease have been arrested and others have been fired because of different interpretations of the law approved by Michigan voters in late 2008. Courts face a rash of medical marijuana cases, with the law raising so many questions one state appeals court judge described reading it as a "maze."
Local governments are jumping in and passing their own ordinances, mostly trying to limit, ban or regulate a wave of businesses popping up to grow and sell the drug.Michigan isn't alone in trying to sort out hazy medical marijuana laws. Fourteen other states have similar statutes — prompting raids and debate over local regulations in California, disputes over which doctors can recommend pot in Colorado and fights over proposed regulations in New Jersey.Many of the clashes are between medical marijuana advocates who say they're acting within the law and police who say they aren't. Adding to the tension is federal law that continues to ban the use and possession of marijuana. Although it won't be a top priority for lawmakers in a state swamped by economic and state government budget problems, Michigan's next Legislature likely will devote some time to clarifying the law.A class on legal issues is a staple at Med Grow Cannabis College in Southfield, one of the few medical marijuana trade schools in the nation. Nick Tennant, who last year opened up the trade school in suburban Detroit, said the goal of the class is to provide students some clarity about a law that has gray areas."A lot of people want definitive answers," Tennant, 25, said. "It's just hard, because sometimes the attorneys can't really give a definitive answer. They can give almost a 'best practices, here's how you stay out of trouble, don't raise your risk tolerance in this gray area' type of thing."The school also provides students with instruction on the medical and horticultural aspects of growing pot for medicinal use."We don't want the people and the public to be afraid of us or to think we're drug dealers, because that's really a popular misconception as well. We're here to help," said Travis Williams, a 38-year-old Detroiter who took classes at the school and now provides marijuana he grows himself to patients.Michigan's more than 45,000 licensed medical marijuana patients can possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of usable marijuana and have up to 12 plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility — or have a registered caregiver grow the drug for them.Some police agencies want a better system to verify the authenticity of authorization cards. Physicians must certify patients would benefit from the pain-reducing aspects of marijuana, but it's left to the patients to register with the state and to self-regulate the amount and quality of the drug they take."There is absolutely no connection to medicine and what's going on with medical marijuana right now," said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. "You don't have a required patient-doctor relationship. You don't go to a state-licensed, inspected and regulated facility like a pharmacy. ... It's creating already a lot of problems and a lot of misconceptions."Advocates of medical marijuana say nothing in the law prohibits dispensaries and collective growing facilities, and that communities are ignoring the will of Michigan voters by cracking down on those businesses. Advocates of the law say it's broad by design to protect a wide range of activities.Many Michigan communities have said state law isn't clear or is largely silent on how the drug can be grown and distributed by anyone other than patients or caregivers, or how plants and seeds can be bought in the first place.Oakland County narcotics agents raided two medical marijuana dispensaries this summer after they sold the drug to deputies carrying phony state ID cards. The city of Lansing recently adopted an ordinance banning the opening of any new medical marijuana businesses until July, in hopes of buying enough time for local officials to draft rules for their operation.The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the southeast Michigan cities of Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills and joined a lawsuit against the west Michigan city of Wyoming over policies it says effectively ban the use of medical marijuana.Local governments counter that they are trying to make sure illegal drug dealing and other crimes don't take place in the absence of a clear state law.Individual patients also have run into trouble with police or employers. Joseph Casias, authorized by the state to use marijuana because of pain associated with cancer, lost his job at a Wal-Mart store in Battle Creek in 2009 after testing positive for pot. He's battling the company in court.Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Peter O'Connell wrote in a September opinion that the law is susceptible to multiple interpretations and that reading it "carelessly or out of context could result in jail or prison time for many of our citizens." He urged state officials to clear up contradictions and vague areas in the voter-approved law.Ari Adler, a spokesman for incoming Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said "the level of confusion" that exists related to the law likely will prompt the new Legislature to address it during the 2011-12 session.Householder reported from Southfield, Mich.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Tim Martin and Mike Householder, Associated PressPublished: December 22, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressCannabisNews  Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #20 posted by FoM on December 26, 2010 at 06:09:17 PT
I am so glad you had a good family time. Last night BGreen called and we had a great talk.
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Comment #19 posted by afterburner on December 25, 2010 at 20:56:42 PT
FoM #13 
It was a good Christmas today. My son and I visited my daughter's family for talk, dinner and videos.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #18 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on December 25, 2010 at 10:07:02 PT
How can you tell MSNBCers are Democrats?
They never pass up the chance to take "pot shots" at anyone they don't like (Republicans) when they say something sensible about reforming cannabis laws.Olberman's done it. Mathews, no surprise there. And I figure it's only a matter of time, before Maddow disappoints us, too.They're so "liberal".
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Comment #17 posted by runruff on December 24, 2010 at 17:59:28 PT
Yeah, well...
...Mathews can Chris my donkey!If Chris ever did any time he would know what a hardball really is!-punk!
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Comment #16 posted by ekim on December 23, 2010 at 21:12:49 PT
just watched Cris Mathews on Hardball dirtv 356
he and his guest were talking about how the dadt bill was the Pres Obamas Pres Johnson moment.that this gen was not around for the civil rights movement.Cris went on about how the Pres is probalee for the right to marry.One would think that the man gets it -- people being unjustly treated just because someone else does not like that person.lets see==the next snipet was on Pat Roberson baring his soul to all that would listen that he is sorry to see the young people being harmed with harsh drug laws for cannabis.Yes Mr Roberson said its costing us a fortune for these laws.So how does Cris handle the story he calls Mr Roberson -POT ROBERSON and says nothing about the truth of the matter.
Nothing about such harsh laws or the fact we are broke.From watching the Hardball show for quite a while Cris has said he was in the Peace Corps - that he was LEO in DC -
that he was speach writer for lawmakers --if anyone knows how this war on the people for over 90 years has taken a toll on the Govt and others in power he should.For him to dismiss a leader of the cloth that has be given the courage to speak truth to power is a shame.
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Comment #15 posted by ekim on December 23, 2010 at 11:01:07 PT
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Comment #14 posted by ekim on December 23, 2010 at 08:19:26 PT
great stories on hemp prohibition
on comment at petes site pics FoM
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on December 23, 2010 at 06:02:42 PT
I hope you have a wonderful holiday! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on December 23, 2010 at 06:01:41 PT
Thank you. Happy Holidays to you too!
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on December 22, 2010 at 22:36:28 PT
Two Can Play This Obstruction Game
Prohibitionists can lobby local governments to over-regulate or ban medical cannabis.However, WE THE PEOPLE can organize to avoid GMO food & GMO cannabis at the local and state levels. WE THE PEOPLE can bell the cats, muzzle the dogs of greed. WE THE PEOPLE can sink the pirate ships of the agro-toxic pushers by refusing their poisonous wares and driving their stock prices and dividends down.USDA Recommends "Coexistence" with Monsanto: We Say Hell No! by Ronnie Cummins.
By Ronnie Cummins. 
Organic Consumers Association, Dec 22, 2010. 
Straight to the Source medicine and clean food, that's what we want. Thet's what we'll provide.
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Comment #10 posted by Canis420 on December 22, 2010 at 21:19:48 PT:
Thanks for all you do. Nice lookin Canis familiaris. Happy holidays to everyon on Cnews
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 22, 2010 at 20:05:03 PT
Thank you. Happy Holidays to you too! My eyes are still burning. I have been learning stuff I never thought I could. I have been on and offline for a few days. Both the desktops are connected wirelessly. Stick really likes his new computer. It's a 24 inch HDMI HD Monitor. I am using something called MIFI. It has been working all day. My poor dogs haven't been played with much these last few days. LOL!Here are some Holiday pictures of the dogs.
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Comment #8 posted by ekim on December 22, 2010 at 19:46:21 PT
good going FoM
can just see both you and stick at the puter while the rest of your crew look on:)happy days to all
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 22, 2010 at 10:48:04 PT

I posted an AP article. Thank you. I have been working on two computers trying to get both of our desktops working the last few days. Finally I got it done! That was very hard for my brain to figure out but I did.
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Comment #5 posted by JiMorrison on December 22, 2010 at 09:31:49 PT:

Could someone knowledgeable in HOW to get a news story to CN Please fwd this link: in Pot case in Montana UNABLE to find Jurors who will convict for simple possession !!!
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on December 22, 2010 at 09:23:42 PT

 "Marijuana Law Shrouded in Haze"
Yuck yuck yuck,OMG,ha ha ha, can these guys get even funnier? I mean...?The only thing that marijuana is shrouded in is ignorance!Purple haze all in my brain...
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Comment #3 posted by museman on December 22, 2010 at 09:18:36 PT

Question Authority
"There is absolutely no connection to medicine and what's going on with medical marijuana right now," said Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. "You don't have a required patient-doctor relationship. You don't go to a state-licensed, inspected and regulated facility like a pharmacy. ... It's creating already a lot of problems and a lot of misconceptions."And this is because? Money, money, money. Doctors can't maintain their elite lifestyle if people actually start taking care of themselves, and cops, judges, lawyers, and DAs will have to work at actually keeping the peace and safety of the public by busting real criminals, who won't quite fill the bed quotas for the prison business. They would have to work, probably have to stop their drinking and donut munching in order to be fit enough to actually do their job -the cops that is- the rest will just have to work.And don't forget the pharmas, imagine a population of healthy people who understood the natural medicines that grow all around us, and particularly cannabis -the plant of reknown that may be at least a partial cure for almost everything! OMG! a self medicating population!And I am getting very tired of all these cops acting like they are somehow empowered to make and interpret law, when they can't even do their job of keeping people safe, and in fact most people are more worried about them than the criminals!LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on December 22, 2010 at 07:57:26 PT

who's hazy?
This conflict and others like it are not caused so much by "hazy" law. These conflicts are largely caused by those intent on trying to suppress or diminish the new laws.When you try to attack a law or freedom from every angle possible, everything can begin to look a little "hazy", including democracy.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on December 22, 2010 at 06:11:41 PT

What to do?
Legalizing the plant cannabis would help sort it all out.
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