safer michigan marijuana
Medical Marijuana Policy

Cops To Senate: Eliminate The Marijuana Caregiver System In Michigan

safer michigan marijuanaOn November 10, representatives of the Michigan Chiefs of Police (MCP), Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM), Michigan State Police (MSP) and the Michigan Sheriffs Association (MSA) gave testimony in the Senate Judiciary on a trio of medical marijuana bills proposing to establish new dispensary laws and change current language in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

House Bills 4209, 4210 and 4827 were not actually brought up for consideration- even though the testimony was all directed at the content of those bills. Committee Chair Sen. Rick Jones allowed only these specially-selected groups to tell him what they want him to change. No citizens were allowed to testify, just cops and lawyers.  The next Judiciary Committee meeting, December 8 at 1 pm, promises to offer amendments to the three-bill package that reflect the wishes expressed during the last Committee hearing on the subject.

In the absence of any voice that could offer a contrary position or could make a challenge to the statements, the dialog was hyperbole and propaganda. On Nov. 10, PAAM performed more like a group of hand-wringing mothers than seasoned courtroom litigators.

“Potency!” they cried. “The Dispensary Issue!” they said.

Senator Jones upped the hype.

“I toured a dispensary in Detroit and one in Lansing,” he said. “It is the wild wild west out there. Caregivers are selling their overages to dispensaries.”

Sheriff Wrigglesworth made a ridiculous supporting statement. “It has been our experience that these dispensaries sell other drugs as well,” he said, trying to cite this vague reference as a reason why current dispensary owners don’t want random inspections from law enforcement.

Testimony from prosecutors and law enforcement was, as you can imagine, one-sided and decidedly anti-patient. You can watch the video yourself by clicking on THE SENATE WEBSITE.

Adam Macdonald of the NPRA recently revealed that it was likely an amendment introducing a three-tiered system to control medical marijuana distribution like the broken booze system would be introduced into the bill language as an amendment during the Dec. 8 session. The revelation came with a strong warning from the pro-patient organization: do not go there.

Here are the law enforcement community’s top statements and demands for changes to the dispensary/concentrates/seed-to-sale bills before the Committee:

 

1. Let’s Get Rid of the Caregiver System

The first group to testify about the three bills that were really not actually being heard by the Committee was PAAM.

“The Dispensary Issue… If we are able to set a process in place that sets dispensaries and distributes these products, we would hope that the caregivers, over a period of time, would be phased out… Maybe as we move into the adoption of this statute, this law, we can phase that (caregiver) process out.”

Next to speak were the MCP representatives.

Wrigglesworth said: “We firmly believe that caregivers should not in any way be allowed to sell any product, or any excess product, to growers or provisioning centers.”

MSP realized that the bills contain language that still allows caregivers to sell their seeds and seedlings to dispensaries and others. “We cannot allow caregivers to profit in any way” from this program, Sgt. Denner said. The MSP wants to “phase out or completely get rid of the caregiver model.”

“After this system gets up and running, there will be no need for caregivers to grow products,” Wrigglesworth said.

These bills do not address repealing the caregiver model, but Jones and others suggested a sunset clause that would phase caregivers completely out within a few years of the program’s full activation.

And, until then, let’s hassle these people as much as we can. MSA says caregivers should be subject to the same inspection obligations and transport requirements as 1,500-plant grows or multi-million dollar dispensary locations. How would you like an armored car pulling up in front of your house and armed men trampling through your living room just to take cannabis from your hands to your patient’s home two miles away?

They’d also like to see HB 4827- the seed-to-sale lifetime tracking system- be mandatory for home-based patient and caregiver grows, too.

As usual, Sen. Rick Jones talked out of both sides of his mouth. “While the goal of this legislation is not to get rid of the caregiver section of what was done at the ballot initiative by the vote, I am aware it is very dangerous… that (home-based cultivation of marijuana) is a great danger to a neighborhood,” he said. Jones cited a recent incident where there was a gun battle in Lansing at the home of a caregiver as evidence that the caregiver model brings danger to the general populace.

 

2. We Can Never Support Medical Marijuana

Again the concept that cops get to choose which laws they follow and which they ignore was repeated and reinforced.

PAAM said they supported the legislation, then corrected to say they are neutral with recommendations. Ken Stecker, the usual and far more capable mouthpiece for the lawyer’s organization, sat next to the presenter and looked around the room as if wondering why he was sitting at the podium in the first place.

“Law enforcement cannot support any legislation that by definition is illegal under federal law,” regarding a substance that is federally illegal, said the MCP. Th best “we can do is find a position not to oppose…” the package of bills, if tightly regulated (see 4 below).

“Michigan Sheriffs Association can never agree with (medical marijuana law) as a policy,” Wrigglesworth said. Never? Even if we make it state law?

Hey, Buster, who signs your paychecks? It ain’t Obama.

 

3. Edibles Are Bad Food

PAAM took issue with the nature of edible packaging and marketing, even though those concerns are already addressed in HB 4210, and went so far as to cite medibles that look like Oreo cookies as an example of behavior requiring correction.

If you check your stats, you’ll see that the largest consumer group of Oreo cookies is adults 21 and older. Vodka bottles have cartoonish character drawings on them. So does beer. Frozen alcoholic drinks look just like children’s desserts. If we assume parents are responsible enough to keep these things away from kids, why would we not assume they are responsible enough to keep cannabis away, too? Especially since the only people participating in this system are doctor-certified sick individuals.

PAAM testimony included these phrases:

PAAM is very concerned about “the potency of these products, the edibles and the hash oil…” and wants the legislation to reflect some fix. Despite labeling guidelines already contained in the bills, PAAM feels that “the potency is unknown to the user…”

Read the bills before testifying. Labeling language is already pretty stout. And didn’t the Michigan State Police Crime Lab say they can’t tell the quantity of THC in a product and therefore cannot verify the actual potency of the medible? Yes… yes, I believe they did.

 

4. Cars And Cannabis

The prosecuting attorneys also took issue with the language covering driving while under the influence of marijuana. Prosecutors would like to expand the ability for police to detain you and question your level of consumption. The language mentions intoxication, for which there is no set standard in law, “but it leaves off impairment,” they complained. Impairment is a subjective evaluation performed at the roadside. Some Michigan police officers have been trained as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE’s). The MCP said they want an increase in the number of DREs certified in the state, to handle the supposed explosion of users driving while impaired. They’d also like it if the potheads paid for it with the currently-3%-going to be-8%-again excise tax.

The Michigan driver’s Implied Consent law should be expanded to include marijuana, meaning the act of becoming licensed to drive automatically gives LEO the right to check you for impairment, like they do with Breathalyzers. Refuse one on the roadside and you lose your license and face charges. Get ready for those oral swab tests that we stopped them from doing during the last legislative session.

The MSP have “a concern about these cases as well,” Denner said. Because voluntary reporting yields fluctuating numbers regarding marijuana content in driver’s blood in post-accident issues, they’d like to increase the MSP’s “efforts to enhance our roadside detection capability”- read that as, we want the oral swab tests the marijuana community stopped last year.

 

5. You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It, Too

The MCP testified that they “strongly believe that an essential piece of the bill needs to be that medical marijuana patients declare, at the time of registration, if they are using a dispensary or a caregiver but not both.” The Chiefs of Police propose that your choice be printed on your card.

Maybe they just don’t get it that it takes a plant 4 months to grow from seed to harvest, and the drying/curing process adds time afterward before cannabis is ready to be distributed. For patients to have access to medical marijuana, there is a strong need for access to both caregiver and dispensary distribution venues.

 

6. Money And Respect

Recently the MSA were granted a special seat on the proposed medical marijuana dispensary advisory Board created by the language of HB 4209.  Suddenly, the Chiefs of Police want one, too, and they asked for it in the Senate Judiciary.

Current language in the bills gives 5% of the excise tax collected by the state on medical marijuana transfers to the county Sheriffs. Money from that fund is also allocated for local communities, too, but the Chiefs complained that their local governments won’t give it to them. Those monies would “quickly be absorbed by general fund budgets,” the Chiefs said, so they want “an additional” 5% like the Sheriffs got.

MCP suggested the money be directed to MCOLES, the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, for training purposes. “Stable funding has been elusive,” Wrigglesworth admitted, but looks to cannabis as a solution to the budget problem.

“This would benefit law enforcement, prosecutors and judges equally,” he said, but failed to mention any benefit to the actual people law enforcement is likely to encounter: medical marijuana patients.

“It’s necessary to find a workable, dedicated funding mechanism for local law enforcement agencies,” he told the Committee, but the real story is that they don’t trust their Mayors and City Councils to write them the proper check.

 

7. BHO is a dangerous product and should be banned altogether

PAAM testimony included these phrases:

“That process by which hash oil is created from marijuana is a dangerous process… it is prohibited in a residential setting; (the prohibition) should also be extended to a commercial setting.

The ban on BHO production in residential areas “should also be extended to a commercial setting…”

Their lack of confidence in marijuana producers- even gigantic commercial ones- to safely produce medicine for patients implies a distrust in the entire process. Why are we listening to these guys, anyway?

8. Access To Your Assets At Any Time

The MCP and MSA both want to ensure the ability of local law enforcement to inspect all medical marijuana facilities, any place, any time, just like the State Police can, which sounds reasonable enough. Until you start defining people’s homes as marijuana facilities.

The MCP asked for access to provisioning centers, transportation, storage and manufacturing facilities for inspections.

What about the MMMA’s privacy provisions? Out the window. Local law enforcement should have access to the LARA MM patient and caregiver registry database and all licensing databases, MCP said.

Of course he’d say that. Local LEO wants to know who in their town is registered as a caregiver, but that information is denied to them by language of a bill passed by popular vote of the people. An unpopular vote begun by a small group of Senators could change the privacy standards, if an amendment to HB 4210 were to include a provision like that. HB 4210 is the only one of the three bills that actually amends the Act itself, and is the only vehicle for direct change to the language of the MMMA.

 

9. Even caregiver-to-patient transactions?

MCP thinks that all marijuana sold anywhere should have packaging and labels that follow the model established for medibles- including raw cannabis flower, or buds.

The Chiefs of Police: “The current bill provides some provision for labeling dosing and THC levels on medibles… We strongly believe these (medibles packaging) standards also need to be applied to the raw plant base and smokable forms of marijuana as well.”

Later testimony included references to holding individual caregivers to the same standards the commercial producers are being asked to honor. Caregivers don’t have money for a seed-to-sale tracking system, nor do they need to label cannabis packaged for their patient to consume.

 

10. Ratios Are Out Of Whack

MCP believe there needs to be a total redo on the “conversion rate” included in the bills, not relying on weight and volume to define how much a patient can legally possess at any given time.

“Instead of weight we should consider THC quantity,” Denner suggested, perhaps forgetting that she herself testified in front of multiple legislative bodies saying the Michigan State Police Crime Lab cannot determine the volume of THC contained in any sample of medible or concentrate, only that there is THC there.

Way to ask for a standard that you freely admit you cannot attain.

11. The MSP wants to dictate your business model

Controlling the nature of marijuana distribution is essential to the happiness of the MSP. Their first order of business: NO DELIVERY SERVICES.

“This is Non-Negotiable,” Denner said. “Transportation should only be allowed between licensed facilities.” She later added, ”There is no delivery from a dispensary to a patient’s home… this is where the caregivers would come in.”

Denner said the MSP wants to prohibit Internet sales, ramp up penalties for violators of HB 4209’s new laws, cap the number of licenses available across the state and use the tobacco tax as a model for dispensary law.

Source: The Compassion Chronicles

  • moldy

    Cops have no business dictating drug policy, they are only enforcers with weapons and are not qualified to testify in front of anyone since all they do is make up facts as they go. This has been going on for decades and they need to be disengaged from influencing policy/laws.

    • Who did you think was going to enforce the taxes and regulations favored by many “reformers”.

      No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.

      • Mark

        Crazy … Many canna losers here in Oregon are crying because the OLCC is steam rolling a path of new laws … I am sure these canna losers were paid well to fight for legalization … Bye bye Ommp ….. The count down begins 1/4/2016 ….

        • mjavenger

          Mark you are an ignorant idiot

          • Mark

            Yes I answer to “hey asshole” …ya got a problem with that ? I am more than familiar with canna idiots of your caliber …. So I do consider you an idiot also mjavenger ….

          • Mark

            You sound just like Lori ! ?

  • Closet Warrior

    Dumbasses, you wanna keep on about how devastated your state is because of motor city’s downfall. Well, here’s another chance to take out of other’s pockets to line yours, sounds about right and this will only hurt your state and it’s patients. Good job fuck nuts!!! Way to turn the people away.

  • The cops just want more ways to bust us, they could care less about the horribly sick and poor that cannot afford medicine, after all medical marijuana is a joke according to the head of the DEA.

    It’s the most dangerous shit on the planet, right?

    Our medical program is being destroyed by the haters in control. Why did the panel only listen to law enforcement and not a single Doctor, Psychiatrist, dispensary owner, patient or caregiver, absolutely NO ONE in the industry?

    Because the panel was appointed by our hater Governor, that’s why.

    It has been said many times, this is a health department issue NOT a law enforcement issue. Law enforcement is still blind as they truly believe cannabis should maintain schedule 1 status because it is soooo dangerous(oh yea, never has hurt anyone and is physically impossible to harm anyone).

    The cops even insist that a caregiver use armored car service to transport pot to their patients……because pot is sooo friggin dangerous that just looking at it will KILL you!

    And of course, everyone knows that potheads INSIST on giving pot to children to get them hooked on it to create life long addicts for profits, right?

    Everyone knows that pothead parents are not responsible enough to keep their pot away from their children but alcoholics are totally responsible in not letting their children access the box of wine in the fridge next to the milk for cereal.

    BTW, the cops need to look at reports from the Colorado Dept. of Transportation, NO MAJOR INCREASE of drugged drivers since legalization.

    This is bad law produced by haters to increase the way the cops can bust cannabis users, period.

    In the law is states that a license holder WILL sign a contract with the state to allow cops to come in and inspect, search and seize anything, anytime, anywhere WITHOUT notice, warrants, etc. even to the point where cops can come in and FRISK the owner WITHOUT a warrant AND we have NO recourse, NO day in court, TOTAL SURRENDER of your 4th amendment rights.

    AND we MUST sign the agreement to surrender, no options, no rights.

    I am OK with inspections but BODY FRISK?

    If a dispensary, grower, processor, transporter or testing facility wants to hire an employee, they must provide the state board with a full background check and fingerprints of the prospective employee and THE STATE BOARD will determine if you will hire this person or not. YES we have to have our employees approved by the state before we can hire them. WTF?

    This destroys the system we voted on and creates felonies for simple possession.

    Instead of Michigan getting more de-crimnalized we will now have more laws creating felons over possession, wow.

    Cannabis is now more illegal than it was.

    Time to move the fuck out of Michigan and take our commerce elsewhere.

    Typical Michigan idiots on the hill, destroy the ONLY growing industry in the state, dumb asses cutting off their nose to spite their face.

    “Destroy Michigan industry…yea go Lansing…wooo…wooo!

  • Jon Alan

    Just like the devastating effect that NY Governor Cuomo had on a decent MMJ bill crafted by the NY Legilature, when he recrafted the NY MMJ bill, virtually destroying the effectiveness of getting medicine to patients and causing rediculous delays making the NY MMJ law all but useless, it seems the rabid interests of the Law Enforcement community in Michigan are moving to do the same to Michigan’s MMJ laws. Law enforcement generaly has the mistaken impression that they are the sole judge and jury in spite of the democratically proven will of the people. This is a case of needing to remind Law Enforcement that their role is not in politics in any way, shape or form. Their mandate is to enforce the laws as directed by the electorate and crafted by the state assemblys and legislatures. They should have no say in the decision making process except to vote like everyone else. If, however, we live in a police state, which is sadly the case across this entire country, then the power hungrey members of Law Enforcement management and community in general will continiue to disrupt and harass people who need and want relief from their illnesses that the MMJ laws are crafted to address. It is time to pass legislation that holds the Law Enforcement community to its sole job, to carry out the laws as enacted by assemblys and legilatures answering the will of the electorate. If Law Enforcement oversteps its authority and involves itself in the legislative process the checks and balances system breaks down. Pass laws that prohibit all Law Enforcement from involvement in degrading and obfuscating the will of the people they are sworn to protect and not harass. If those in Law Enforcement start to lose their jobs when interfering in the legislative process or by their own initiatives in their perceived but mistaken role as bullys lording over the electorate, perhaps they will begin to understand the difference between true Law Enforcement and the current trend of Police state tactics that injure, kill and purposefully frighten the average citizen. We must reward the good members of OUR Law Enforcement community and remove the divisive element within the ugly Blue Wall that mandates that no matter what injustice is committed by Law Enforcement the members of the Blue Wall must protect their brothers and sisters even if they must lie to protect the injustices of the bad seeds in Law Enforcement. We MUST put a legal structure in place to create roadblocks that stop this rabid element in Law Enforcement, or the police state tactics so prevalent in our cities will continue to gain power and momentum.

    • Lawrence Goodwin

      For 45 unbearable years, the heart of this prohibition beast has been the federal Schedule I classification of “marihuana” in the Controlled Substances Act, which still empowers police agencies nationwide to impose absolute tyranny on Americans. It’s about time millions of us march on Washington, D.C. and rip out the tyranny’s heart ourselves, since federal lawmakers refuse to budge. Every single DAY of this tyranny equals another nail in our constitutional republic’s coffin.

  • The Truth

    This just goes to show you that we are in a war for freedom, justice and liberty, and frequently the police are the enemy of freedom, justice and liberty and they should be exposed as such.

  • Silverado

    It’s the lunatic cops running the asylum called Michigan and why they let these…”killers” talk about anything except what they’re good at (killing unarmed citizens) is beyond me. Oh then again it’s Michigan where legal MMJ really isn’t legal especially if the cops don’t like you for some other reason. So citizens of Michigan who’s the boss in this situation – you and all the others who want unfettered access to their medicine? Or more killer cops trying to…muscle their way into something (like the gangsters they are) that shouldn’t concern them in the least, especially after seeing their true motives?

  • Kathleen Chippi

    Cops asking to get rid of medical cannabis–it’s spreading as we knewit would. Same thing everywhere as IF cannabis was LAWFUL cops would have to actually work and bust actual criminals instead of kind people who chose gardening and healing with non-toxic cannabis, the safest therapeutic substance known to man/the tree of life/sacrament. IF cannabis was lawful….that is.

    But cannabis is not really lawful anywhere in the US and everyone is facing the same harms of the drug war that they did before (fake legalization) like law enforcement lobbying for prohibition/control or worse yet loss of employment, loss of gun rights, loss of child custody, loss of assets, loss of all government aid, loss of student loans, loss of insurance, loss of housing, loss of banking, DUI without impairment, public consumption tickets, loss of freedom/jail etc.

    I’ve spent the last 5 years in CO screaming about this happening right in front of our faces and it looks like it’s going nationwide to tightenthe monopoly. And they call it: “legalization”, “legalization like alcohol”, “adult use”, “tax and regulate”, “regulate like alcohol”.

    What part about the LIE of REEFER MADNESS are we “adults” still expected to accept in 2015? What part of science are we supposed to ignore and for how many more decades? Why are we “adults” “taking baby-steps”? Why are we ADULTS allowing over 1,000 pages of new pot prohibitions to be created and held over our “adult” heads.

  • Rob Shaffer

    Give us our power back, we love our power. End of story.

  • But I thought the crowd here favored regulation – because….

    No more taxed or regulated than tomatoes.

  • Mark

    Prohibition has been renewed in many states that have legal or medical marijuana … It is all about the government telling use what is or isn’t harmful to us … And taxing and regulating everyone out of the legal market except big business

  • John

    Jackasses

  • MikeParent

    We’d all be better off if the police would focus is on crimes that have actual victims.
    Let’s hear what the government experts, the DEA said; In 1988, DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young wrote in his ruling;
    “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”Judge Francis Young rules marijuana is safe, 1988, DEA, USA
    http://www.ccguide.org › young88

  • Charles Rushing

    Enough! without cannabis I would be a vegetable.

  • Michigan to cops: Your job is to enforce laws not make them. They have no business dictating marijuana policy. Time to make money the old fashioned way – earn it.

  • And yet they won’t regulate gmo’s… They allow oil, gas, and power companies to contaminate our soil, water and air (the government even subsidizes it!). The dispensary near me has already had a few recalls due to mold and pesticides! Natural small home-grows are what some people need. The dispensaries are not always the best option. God knows they are too expensive!

  • Mark

    The police will tell what you can and can’t have ….. Legalize this evil drug so the government can dictate what you do on your own property …. Haha bet you didn’t see this shit coming down the pipe ….. Legalization = a bunch of taxes and regulation .. Fight for global legalization … Out the cartel ,out the small mom and pop grower and let the big business take this market over …