michigan marijuana
Medical Marijuana Policy

Michigan Senate Judiciary Takes Up Medical Marijuana

michigan marijuanaSenator Jones takes up the highly controversial package of bills seeking to establish a framework for Michigan’s medical marijuana distribution centers on October 20.

The bills- HB 4209, 4210 and 4827- passed the House of Representatives earlier this year and were assigned for Senate debate in the Judiciary Committee. The bills are controversial not because they propose to regulate dispensaries and growing facilities, but because they do so in a way that excludes registered caregivers, puts barriers to entry at levels unattainable for small business and leaves many of the program’s most critical elements undefined. Those elements will be decided by a government-appointed review board that does not easily take citizen input.

Michigan has an estimated 250-300 medical marijuana distribution centers already operating despite the absence of state regulation. A recent report by Loveland Technologies revealed that Detroit has at least 148 identifiable centers, although city officials called that number into question during a Zoning Commission meeting on October 15. In some cities ordinances protect the centers, and in others they exist at the whim of the local prosecutors and Councils.

The Senate Hearing on Oct. 20 won’t actually be taking up the three bills, and there may not be an opportunity for citizens to speak. Sen Jones has scheduled three presentations from corporations seeking to sell services to the state: BioTrack THC, Beacon Information Designs, LLC., and Blue Health and Wellness Center, LLC.

Rep. Michael Callton introduced an industry-written dispensary bill in 2011 and he’s altered it many times since then. His dispensary bill was nearly made law in December of 2014; after passing the House and a Senate Committee, the state’s law enforcement community lobbied to stop passage of a two-bill package on the very last day of the legislative session.

Rep. Klint Kesto hijacked HB 4209 from Callton after the inferior Republican brought it back into the legislature in January 2015. What began this year as Callton’s ‘Provisioning Centers Act’ is now Judiciary Committee Chairman Kesto’s ‘Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act’. Kesto sponsored HB 4827 and even held a hearing on the bill before it was introduced to the House or assigned to his Committee. That bill, the Seed-To-Sale Tracking bill, was industry inspired (cough, cough) by a Colorado company who wants to sell services to the state. It was rushed to print and to a vote so quickly there are no other sponsors or co-sponsors listed on HB 4827; Kesto’s name stands alone.

The new version of HB 4209 is so controversial that attendance is grand for the Committee Hearings. There was standing room only in the House chambers when Kesto’s House Judiciary hearings were held and overflow rooms were used each time. On the final day of hearings for the now three-bill package, Kesto, fearing what might be said by the citizens, called for a vote on the bills BEFORE allowing those taxpaying voters in attendance the opportunity to speak.

Fellow Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) confirmed that Kesto ‘gotchya’ ploy was bizarre. Irwin told the Planet Green Trees Radio Show that it was the first time in his 5 1/2 years of sitting on the Judiciary that he had seen the Committee vote on a bill before taking testimony on the language in that session.

More of the same treatment can be expected from Jones in his Senate Committee, as he is a former Sheriff who has belittled and denied speaking rights to medical marijuana patients in past Committee hearings.

Below is the official notice of the Judiciary Committee meeting:

NOTICE OF SCHEDULED MEETING

COMMITTEE:                     Judiciary

DATE:                                    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

TIME:                                    3:00 p.m.

PLACE:                                  Room 110, Farnum Building, 125 W. Allegan Street, Lansing, MI   48933

PHONE:                                Corey Woodby  (517) 373-1721

Committee Clerk

AGENDA

Presentations on Medical Marihuana Regulation by:

BioTrack THC

Beacon Information Designs, LLC.

Blue Health and Wellness Center, LLC.

 

SB 487         Sen. Booher                 Corrections; other; operating unmanned aerial vehicles within 1,000 feet of correctional facility; prohibit, and provide penalties.

SB 488         Sen. Booher                 Criminal procedure; sentencing guidelines; sentencing guidelines for operating unmanned aerial vehicles within 1,000 feet of correctional facility; enact.

SB 558         Sen. Jones                    Probate; other; dower rights; repeal.

SB 559         Sen. Jones                    Family law; marriage and divorce; requirement that judgment of divorce contain provisions regarding wife’s dower rights; eliminate.

SB 560         Sen. Jones                    Probate; wills and estates; reference to dower in estates and protected individuals code; revise to reflect abolition of dower.

HB 4535      Rep. Theis                     Weapons; licensing; purchase permit process; exempt law enforcement officers.

And any other business properly before the committee.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

In the spirit of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with a disability should feel free to contact the Office of the Secretary of the Senate by phone [(517) 373-2400] or by TDD [(517) 373-0543] if requesting special services to effectively participate in the meeting.

Corey Woodby
Senate Majority Committee Clerk

517-373-1721

  • john

    Just goes to show, money talks. Small growers, caregivers will be cut out of the equation. That’s what big business wants.
    John

    • Big business gets monopolies on software AND the haters have worked into it where it will be possible to charge a DOUBLE felony for simple possession by a caregiver. The same charge is a single misdemeanor if you ARE NOT medical. WTF?

      The haters finally get a felony charge for possession, This is bad law, we do not need this.

      90 days after passage all current dispensaries MUST close, after another 180 days they can then apply for a state permit, wait another 90-180 days for approval and reopen IF approved.

      In other words the haters have found a way to shut down the dispensaries. They could remain open until they are approved but no, all must close.

      This is bad law, highly corrupted and adulterated and sends us back to the stone age.

      We are supposed to be decriminalizing not felonizing cannabis.

      Everyone in Michigan reading this needs to get out there and sign the petition from MILegalize and get legal on the ballot. There has never been a more important time for the movement.

      LEGALIZE 2016

  • joplin42

    This is why the political process has obtained such a bad reputation….Michigan government i understand has an unfortunate rating …something like a D- for their closed door sessions.

    • joplin42

      I stand corrected….it’s actually an F

  • Eddie273273

    Our elected representatives have found a way to make money growing and selling cannabis . Now they are writing the laws to insure their businesses are successful squeezing everyone else out of the market . And they’ve made law enforcement happy by giving them more felonies to arrest us for . It’s a win win win for government oppression .
    How do you like being screwed by your elected representatives who you are forced to pay for the rest of their lives .
    They are laughing at you Michiganders …
    all they to the bank .