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The Michigan Cannabis Year In Review 2012

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michigan cannabis 2012 reviewMarijuana Policy In Michigan Saw A Lot Happen In 2012

By Rick Thompson

In compiling this listing I elected to not include repeating events- the Vote Green Initiative projects, benefits held for various subjects, club meetings and events, highway cleanups, meetings and gatherings related to the Repeal Today effort except as noted. It is not that these events escaped my notice, but there was so much to write about already it seemed impossible to add all of the repeaters in as well. Enjoy!

Rick Thompson

January

The year began with a renewing of licenses in Ypsilanti for the city’s four licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and one grow operation. All facilities completed multiple inspections and a city official was quoted as saying, “We haven’t had any problems…”

The United States Supreme Court refuses to hear two cases, one from Washington and one from Oregon, regarding possession of a concealed handgun and medical marijuana. The refusal establishes a patient’s right to own a concealed weapon and cannabis in those states.

A jury refuses to convict Shekina Pena of elections fraud in Lansing. Pena, operator of the Your Healthy Choice dispensary, was accused by the Attorney General of buying votes for friendly candidates.

23 medical marijuana stores in Colorado received letters from the federal government threatening them with “seizure and forfeit” of their stores and property. A similar strategy is employed in California and Washington State.

An Oakland County judge dismisses charges against seven defendants charged in the raid on the Ferndale dispensary called Clinical Relief. The raids were part of a sweep by Oakland County Sheriffs that covered many private residences and snared a pair of Waterford establishments.

Oral arguments are heard in the cases of People v King/People v Kolanek. The cases would eventually be decided in support of a Section 8 defense for patients in court, among other things.

State Representatives continually engage in debate and explanations over the Walsh package of bills introduced in 2011. Radio shows and newspaper articles discuss the potential effects of the various pieces of the package, aimed at altering the 2008 Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMA).

Federal officials continue their attack on medical marijuana in California by filing four asset forfeiture lawsuits against properties housing cannabusinesses. Another round of threat letters to landlords of cannabis-based commerce; the letters threaten forfeiture and legal action.

The Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment begins their quest to gather 385,000 signatures to ensure placement on their state’s ballot. The measure is eventually unsuccessful.

Libertarian candidate for President Gary Johnson, a 2011 Hash Bash speaker, is vocal against Newt Gingrich, also candidate, for his 1996 proposal to sentence two-time marijuana smugglers to a death sentence. Johnson champions the cause off and on for the remainder of the year but is defeated in November.

Wayne State University hosted a marijuana symposium featuring former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox. The Wayne Law Review sponsored the event, which included national names and local legal eagles.

 

February

LARA issues guidelines for physicians writing recommendations for medical marijuana in Michigan.

Petition drives for the Repeal Today movement are operating in communities across the state. The petition drive aims to repeal the prohibition of cannabis in Michigan.

The Silver Tour is rolling right along. Covering Florida and nearby states, Robert Platshorn’s tour bus filled with senior citizens travels the highways educating people on the healing properties of cannabis. His Tour is national news, and a video called “Why Grandma Smokes Pot” is created later in the year.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled the city of Detroit must allow the issue of legalized marijuana to appear on the ballot. This is just one bus-stop on the long route this proposal endures before being voted on- and approved- in November 2012.

A Wayne State University study researching the composition and effects of marijuana in Michigan patients rolls on in full steam. Dispensaries in three cities participate, asking patients to complete online surveys of cannabis whose chemical makeup is pre-recorded.

Big Daddy’s goes to court with Chesterfield Township over their dispensary operation. Prosecution is conducted by the Attorney General’s office.

 

March

LARA announced their ordering of a high-speed printer able to generate 4000 medical marijuana registration cards per day. MMMA participants have long-complained about delays that exceed 5 months in receiving their cards, even though payments made for registration are taken immediately.

The Downriver Health and Cannabis Fair was held in Brownstown Township. Featuring glass blowers, live music and on-site cannabis testing, the Fair was the first of what promises to be an annual event.

Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow” is making headlines and driving a national debate on reforming cannabis laws. Famous religious figure Pat Robertson unexpectedly announces his agreement.

Washington DC allows medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the city- at least, conceptually.

Senator Jones advanced his bill removing glaucoma from the list of qualifying conditions entitling a person to use medical marijuana. Physicians claim patients are ignoring other treatments and losing their sight as a result, which Jones says drives his campaign to ban marijuana use for that illness.

A marijuana expo is held at the Roostertail banquet center in Detroit. Thousands of attendees enjoy speakers, live radio broadcasts, and dozens of vendors covering every available inch of space.

The Michigan Supreme Court decided it would hear the case of People v McQueen/Taylor, knows as the Compassionate Apothecary case. The original opinion from the COA indirectly shut down ¾ of the medical marijuana facilities in Michigan when it was released in 2011.

 

April

Hash Bash and the Monroe Street Fair are held in Ann Arbor and the response is measured in the thousands. Speakers include John Sinclair and Steven Deangelo from California.

Lori Montroy, a medical marijuana patient in northern lower Michigan, is evicted from her home. Landlord quotes federal law giving him the option of ejecting her for “illegal drug use” from government-funded housing. A flood of phone calls and emails is unable to change his mind.

The US Supreme Court refuses to hear the California case of Kha v California. This refusal confirms the Cali decision that state medical marijuana laws are not preempted by federal laws.

Governors from around the country sign an open letter to President Obama asking for a rescheduling of marijuana to a class 2 drug.

The ACLU reasserts their objections to the Federal assignment of the case of Casias v Walmart. Although filed in Michigan court the case was remanded to federal status. The ACLU appeal was rejected and the verdict favoring Walmart still stands as of January 2013.

150 people protested in Lansing against the Walsh bills being reported out of the Michigan House of Representatives. Only Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, voted against all four of the bills.

The Detroit Free Press publishes a story about using mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to manufacture marijuana in quantity. This concept (and the company behind it) encourages the introduction of SB 1349, which suggests a Pharmaceutical Grade Marijuana Program in Michigan.

The Michigan-based National Patient’s Rights Association issues a press release asking for input on dispensary law. The Release goes nationwide.

The Compassion Care Group, a dispensary, is raided for the second time. They are located in Allen Park.

People v Koon is issued by the Court of Appeals, reaffirming that any trace amount of THC in a driver’s bloodstream constitutes a crime but affirming that COOH is not a Schedule 1 substance.

ASA v DEA lawsuit gets started with the filing of necessary court documents, setting the stage for hearings on the Schedule 1 status of marijuana that will take place later in the year.

HB 5580, the Provisioning Centers Act, is introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives to protect local communities that choose to license cannabusinesses.

 

May

People v Spencer comes from the Michigan COA, overturning evidence obtained by randomly wandering around a patient’s property while waiting for warrants to be delivered.

LARA removes citations of legal responsibilities in the acceptance letters they issue to MMA participants. Portions left out include the 2.5 oz. possession limit and the statement about reasonable amount necessary, for patients; for caregivers, the 4 (e) section was deleted from the letters.

The Global Marijuana Freedom March was held in Grand Circus Park in Detroit. The rally featured live music, speakers and vending booths. A coordinating March was held for the 12th consecutive year in Traverse City.

The Senate passed bill SB 505, which prevents any felon from becoming a caregiver. This bill is never passed by the House but portions of it are included in other bills.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney states that medical marijuana is not an “Issue of Significance” and is a “state issue”.

The Committee for a Safer Michigan held a rally in Lansing. The rally is in support of the Repeal Today movement to amend Michigan’s Constitution to remove criminal penalties for marijuana crimes.

People v Colvin is affirmed by the Supreme Court in California. This establishes a separation between consumer and producer that is broadly viewed as protecting both dispensaries and patients.

In some election-year merriment, it is revealed that President Obama was quite the marijuana consumer in his youth, including being part of the Choom Gang (in-car flooding of marijuana smoke)

The House introduces HB 5681, proposing to establish a Pharmaceutical Grade Marijuana Industry in Michigan. Later the Senate will introduce a harsher version, SB 1349.

A rally reportedly 50 people strong turn out to protest on the steps of the Capitol. Their issue: the recent passage of the Walsh Bills, aimed at altering the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

Gov. Malloy signs into law a bill making Connecticut the 17th medical marijuana state.

The Supreme Court rules in the cases of People v King and People v Kolanek. The rulings reaffirm the Section 8 defense and reverse the Attorney General’s position on requiring Section 4 conditions be met to qualify for a Section 8 defense.

 

June

The Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo was held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

US News and World Report publishes a study reporting 74% of Americans support ending federal crackdown on medical marijuana.

Rhode Island Governor Chafee signs a marijuana decriminalization bill, making possession of one ounce a $150 fine.

Ann Arbor delays again a vote on amendments to the medical marijuana ordinance they enacted in 2011. The changes were recommended by the zoning group in January 2012.

Chicago, Illinois, decriminalizes cannabis possession by adults, making it a ticketable offense.

People v Nicholson is issued by the Court of Appeals. It dismissed charges of marijuana possession against a person who did not have their proper paperwork on hand. Michigan State Police issue Bulletin #99 in response, which instructs officers to arrest patients anyway.

 

July

The Repeal Today petition drive to remove criminal penalties for cannabis possession and use in Michigan ends without achieving the required number of signatures.

A series of attacks begins on Harborside Health Centers in California involving suits against their landlords and forfeiture notices on their office doors. The story is national news.

The Truth in Trials act is introduced in the US House of Representatives, which would afford medical marijuana patients in states with those laws the ability to use that fact in federal court.

A petition containing over 8,000 signatures calling for PTSD to be potentially treated with cannabis is rejected by the federal ONDCP. Petitioner Michael Krawitz is the primary in the ASA v DEA case, argued in Federal court later in the year.

The COA overturned a Kalkaska court’s verdict against Archie Kiel, stating in a unanimous decision that he should have been allowed a Section 8 Defense at trial.

As a result of Eric VanDussen’s pressure on the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Michigan begins accepting proposed amendments to the COA’s electronic media policy.

People v Anderson is released from the Court of Appeals.

People v Heinzman opinion is released by the Court of Appeals. It affirms the necessity of segregating marijuana plants.

5 Star Meds in Flint is raided. Despite early indications that it was the DEA, it is eventually revealed that local authorities made the seizures.

Michigan Moms United to End the War on Drugs is launched.

The Court of Appeals rules in People v Kiel.

 

August

The Court of Appeals strikes down Wyoming’s city ordinance, which cites federal preemption in banning all cannabis-related activities within city limits.

MMMR Magazine hosted a Medical Marijuana Conference at the Clarion Hotel in Ann Arbor featuring educational classes, certifications and a mini-expo of vendors.

All four of the Walsh Bills were passed by the Senate judiciary. The lone No vote was cast against HB 4851 by Sen. Bieda from Macomb County.

Amicus briefs were filed in the McQueen case by the Ann Arbor Guild and the Michigan Townships Association et al.

The Attorney General files to appeal the decision in People v Kiel from the Court of Appeals.

Michigan Court of Appeals rules in People v Brown, about evidentiary procedures relating to medical marijuana.

In an interview, Sen. Rick Jones calls for a re-vote on the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

 

September

MedJoint is featured on the Michigan broadcast of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. MedJoint’s team raised the most money for the MDA during their annual Lock-Up charity fundraiser on Michigan’s east side.

The annual Mackinac Bridge Walk features an extra contingent of green-shirted marijuana activists as Brad Forrester leads an MINORML-sponsored crew in an activity that is sure to become a regular community event.

A Federal Judge rules that Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, a known marijuana rights supporter, will not be included on the Michigan ballot in November.

Attorney General Schuette’s bid to derail the Grand Rapids decrim ballot proposal is ended. GR city attorney Mish to say: “I can accurately count to 100 and the attorney general cannot.”

Work begins at the University of Iowa to gauge marijuana’s effect on drivers. The landmark study leaves many in Michigan wondering why their state was not chosen.

Noted Michigan activist Greg Starks dies. He is buried without a funeral at the family’s request.

The Northeast Michigan Compassion Club hosted an event in Oscoda featuring Rep. Callton, Ben Horner, Jamie Lowell, Rick Thompson, Ken Beyer and the local candidate for prosecutor Nicholl Palumbo (who won her election).

Renee Emry Wolfe dies. She is a national cannabis hero whose case was fought in Washington, D.C. more than a decade earlier. Her memorial is held at the Clarion Hotel in Ann Arbor and is attended by more than 100 mourners.

A complaint was filed by LARA and AG Schuette against Dr. Harwell of Cadillac for writing recommendations without medical records and failure to maintain his own records.

The current and former mayors of Grand Rapids issue a statement of support for the medical marijuana decrim measure being voted on in November. Also supporting the measure are a House Rep, some city council and school board members.

Jury nullification frees a man facing charges of growing cannabis in New Hampshire.

Rep. John Walsh denies support of a plan to resubmit the MMA to a second vote of the people, as suggested by Senator Rick Jones in August.

Additional charges were filed against three individuals charged with operating the Twinn Bridges Compassion Club in Cadillac.

Several hundred protesters gathered in Lansing to decry the proposed legislation pending in the House and Senate, including The Walsh bills and others related to cannabis and glaucoma and insurance.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health was released, with federal prohibitionist Gil Kerlikowske pointing to increased marijuana use in the US.

North Dakota’s 2012 bid to join the list of medical marijuana states was officially ended by their State Supreme Court.

The ExtravaGanja was held in Chesterfield Township; speakers included a candidate for Macomb County Prosecutor. This is the third year of the celebration, this year held in the city that sued Big Daddy’s.

 

October

October began with a black anniversary- 75 years ago, marijuana prohibition on a federal level was made the law of the land.

Kalamazoo City Council passes an ordinance preventing police officers from using state law to bust people for marijuana possession. The City passed a law last year making the offenses a ticketable offense.

Two dispensaries in Allen Park are raided; an Upper Peninsula family is raided on several properties, their children referred to Protective Services, for allegedly manufacturing hash oil.

Los Angeles reverses its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries after overwhelming objections from city residents and businessmen. The ban is defeated after approval but before implementation.

Oakland, California, sues the federal government over their plan to shutter the largest dispensary in the country, Harborside.

The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a Genesee County court that ordered charges against marijuana patient Chasen Pointer be dismissed due to evidentiary issues.

Oral arguments were heard in the cases of McQueen/Taylor and Bylsma before the Michigan Supreme Court. McQueen, aka The Compassionate Apothecary Case, has statewide implications for dispensary operators and the patients that use them.

Dr. William Courtney held a Seminar on raw juicing of cannabis at the Genesys Regional Health Center, sponsored by Michigan Testing Authority, Michigan Safe Transfer and MedJoint.

Americans for Safe Access finally has their day in court regarding their lawsuit against the DEA over rescheduling of cannabis. That case was heard in Washington, D.C.

In preparation for the election, Kalamazoo and Detroit held meetings to rally supporters.

Halloween parties abound. Excitement ruled the day as people anticipate a big victory on Election Night in all five cities with cannabis elections pending.

Author of “Smoke Signals” Martin Lee made numerous Michigan appearances in support of his book.

 

November

The first-ever National Medical Marijuana Business Expo was held in Colorado.

The elections on November 6th in Michigan and nationally favored marijuana law reform. Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana for adults, while all 5 Michigan cities voted to relax marijuana laws locally.

Several states announced intentions to follow suit, including Illinois and several New England states.

Following the election, calls went out from Latin American leaders and others to initiate marijuana law reform in the USA.

In Detroit, the City Council continued to ignore the vote to legalize marijuana. They claim their legal department determined the measure was in violation of state law. The Attorney General expressed reservations over the legality of the measure.

Pam and Dewey Thomas went to court over a raid of their backyard grow. In 2013, they will let a jury hear the Section 8 arguments regarding the amount reasonably necessary for a patient.

Charges are filed against the Blue Water Compassion Center crew by the Attorney General for a 3-county raid on their facilities and residences that happened in Dec. 2011.

Lansing Judge Hugh Clarke dismisses all criminal charges against the Hydroworld dispensaries raided in 2011. The civil suit remains intact, and the Hydroworld facilities remain closed.

COA rules in dog-sniffing and probable cause cases, determining that the smell of cannabis is a legitimate determinant of probable cause.

 

December

MedJoint announces their invitation to participate in the MDA Muscle Walk in 2013. The Kalamazoo dispensary has consistently supported charities throughout the year.

Grand Rapids citizens circle the Kent County Prosecutor’s office in protest of his challenge of their new marijuana decriminalization law, voted in just a month before.

Medical marijuana activists meet in Lansing to discuss another round of local initiatives for 2013.

Downriver Compassion Club begins broadcasting their message on an electronic billboard located on the I-75 freeway.

The Walsh Bills are passed by both House and Senate in the dead of night and the cold of morning, along with many other pieces of legislation rushed through in the legislature’s lame duck session.

Canada announces they will no longer grow and provide cannabis to the registered patients, instead opting to privatize the industry for production and distribution.

The case against Blue Water goes to court in Port Huron, amidst a large protest outside the County Courthouse. The Attorney General’s office leads the prosecution.

The New Conditions panel meets for the first time in the four years of the Act’s existence. They recommend Parkinson’s Disease be included in the MMA’s list of qualifying conditions but requests more input on PTSD.

The decision in the Bylsma case comes down, reinforcing both the ability to plead a Section 8 defense, the necessary segregation of plants and the single-server nature of the growing style.

This article originally appeared on The Compassion Chronicles. Please check them out for more amazing content!

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