Michigan Campaign to Make Marijuana Legal in 2018 Officially Launched

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol officially submitted ballot language to the state of Michigan today that would legalize and regulate marijuana.

The signature drive is expected to begin shortly after the State Board of Canvassers meets to review and approve the petition language. After that, the campaign must collect enough signatures to place the marijuana legalization initiative on Michigan’s November 2018 statewide ballot.

Like Michigan’s medical marijuana law, the initiative would create five categories of licensed…

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Thousands attend Ann Arbor’s annual Hash Bash

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Several thousand people gathered Saturday on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor to celebrate marijuana.

The annual Hash Bash started Saturday afternoon on the school’s Diag and has become a rallying effort for legalizing marijuana use.

The Ann Arbor News reports that attorney and activist Jeffrey Hank released a pair of white doves Saturday as symbols of the fight to legalize pot.

Read the full story on The Cannabist.

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Michigan MMJ program criticized for doctor certifications

Michigan’s medical marijuana program has come under criticism after a state audit found that a small number of doctors were responsible for certifying tens of thousands of patients for MMJ, a finding that raises questions about the state’s oversight of the industry.

An audit by the state of Michigan released Thursday found that one physician certified more than 11,800 medical marijuana patients in one year, or about 14% of all the medical cannabis patients in the state.

Another 22 doctors certified almost 47,000 patients in 2015, or…

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Michigan: East Lansing City Council Votes to Eliminate Marijuana Possession Penalties

east-lansing

EAST LANSING, MI — Members of the city council in East Lansing, Michigan (population 49,000) have voted 4 to 1 in favor of a municipal ordinance that eliminates criminal and civil penalties pertaining to the private possession and use of cannabis by those age 21 and over.

Similar local measures are in place in several other Michigan cities, including Detroit, Flint, and Lansing. However, each of those measures was decided by voter initiatives, not by a city council vote.

The East…

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Michigan Governor Signs Measures Regulating Medical Cannabis Dispensing

Michigan Governor Signs Measures Regulating Medical Cannabis Dispensing

LANSING, MI — Governor Rick Snyder has signed a package of legislation into law regulating the retail sale of medical cannabis and cannabis-infused products. The measures are ordered to take immediate effect.

The measures seek to clarify and expand various aspects of the state’s 2008 medical cannabis law. Specifically, the new law provides qualified patients for the first time with legal protections regarding the possession and use of non-smoked cannabis derived topical products and edibles, as well as cannabis-based extract products.

The…

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Michigan Lawmakers Adopt Regulatory System for Medical Marijuana, Allow Extracts

The Michigan Legislature passed a series of bills this month that overhaul the state’s medical marijuana program. This is the culmination of a multi-year debate on how, and whether, the state should allow and regulate medical marijuana businesses. It is a major — and controversial — milestone for patients and those who serve them. The bills now head to the governor, who is expected to sign them.mi-seal

For many years, federal and state law enforcement authorities obtained warrants, raided locations, arrested compassionate business owners,…

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Michigan Lawmakers Send 3 Bills to Regulate Medical Marijuana to Gov. Snyder

Michigan Lawmakers Send 3 Bills to Regulate Medical Marijuana to Gov. Snyder

These measures seek to better clarify and expand Michigan’s medical cannabis law.

LANSING, MI — Lawmakers have given final approval to a package of bills, HB 4209/4210, HB 4827, SB 141, and SB 1014, to regulate the retail sale of medical cannabis and cannabis-infused products.

The measures, which lawmakers had debated for the past two years, now await action by Governor Rick Snyder (R).

House Bill 4209 licenses and regulates above-ground, safe access facilities where state-qualified patients may legally obtain medical marijuana. Michigan…

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Week in Review: Michigan Medical Cannabis Firms in Limbo, MA to the Rescue, Alaska Crawls Ahead

weeklywrapupimage

By John Schroyer and Omar Sacirbey

Michigan medical marijuana businesses ponder their future under a new regulatory system, Massachusetts hopes to jump-start its MMJ program, and Alaska’s rec rollout proceeds at a snail’s pace.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Mulling Michigan

Michigan’s MMJ businesses wonder how life will change after lawmakers approved a statewide regulatory system for the industry. Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the legislation.

What is clear: The…

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Michigan Legislature Passes MMJ Industry Regulations

Michigan lawmakers at long last approved a set of sweeping regulations Wednesday for the state’s sizable medical marijuana industry, paving the way for a statewide oversight and licensing system for MMJ businesses.

For years, Michigan’s legislature had failed to agree on a regulatory system that would stabilize Michigan’s MMJ trade. But lawmakers were finally able to pass a package of five bills that would give legal protections to dispensaries, growers, edibles makers, and more, the Detroit Free Press reported.

MJBizCrashCourseThe new system,…

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Michigan Poised to Approve Statewide MMJ Regulatory Scheme

3d map of michigan

By John Schroyer

Michigan is one of the last “Wild West” medical marijuana markets, but it’s poised to approve a statewide regulatory scheme advocates hope will bring stability to the MMJ industry.

State lawmakers could sign off as soon as this week on legislation to establish a statewide oversight and licensing system for MMJ businesses.

That’s something Michigan has lacked since voters legalized medical cannabis in 2008. Michigan’s freewheeling MMJ industry has been technically illegal since a 2011 ruling from the state Supreme…

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Week in Review: Growth Potential in New York, Oregon Rec Market Red Hot & MI Stumbles

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By John Schroyer

New York’s health department recommends doubling the size of the state’s medical marijuana industry, Oregon recreational applications flood in as adult-use sales skyrocket, and Michigan’s MJ legal limbo may persist a few more years.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Doubling Down

In a rare move for a state agency, the New York State Department of Health this week issued a report recommending – among other things – that the number of MMJ business licenses

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Michigan Rec Campaign Loses Court Fight, May Not Make Ballot

Michigan residents may not get the opportunity to vote on legalizing recreational cannabis in November after a local judge rejected a pro-marijuana campaign’s effort to place an adult-use initiative on the statewide ballot.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello ruled on Tuesday the MILegalize campaign broke the rules by collecting signatures outside a traditional 180-day window, and therefore did not qualify for the November ballot, the Detroit News reported.

Borrello cited a 1986 Michigan state Supreme Court ruling that upheld…

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Detroit: Despite Threatened MMJ Crackdown, It’s Business as Usual

michigan cannabis

By John Schroyer

A pair of restrictive zoning ordinances and new licensing procedures that took effect in March had threatened to shutter up to 75% of Detroit’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

But so far the MMJ industry’s worst fears haven’t materialized, and it’s business as usual for most storefronts, industry insiders say.

“Many of the distribution centers that we feared would be closed by now are still open,” said Rick Thompson, editor of the marijuana website Compassion Chronicles and a board member of Michigan NORML, a…

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Michigan Marijuana Rec Campaign Files Suit to Make Ballot

MILegalize, the Michigan campaign that gathered signatures for 11 months to get an adult-use cannabis initiative before voters this November, has filed suit against the state in a bid to get its measure on the ballot.

In its lawsuit, MILegalize argues that a requirement that ballot measure campaigns gather all of their signatures within 180 days runs contrary to the state constitution. The requirement only formally became law this year when the governor signed a bill on June 8 making it so, the Detroit Free Press reported.

MILegalize…

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MI Lawmakers Again Fail to Legalize MMJ Dispensaries

Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries will continue to operate in a legal gray area for at least the rest of the summer, after state lawmakers left the capital for an extended recess without addressing the issue.

Lawmakers have repeatedly tried, but failed, for several years running to approve legislation that would formally legalize MMJ dispensaries. Lawmakers won’t return to the capital Lansing until September, MLive.com reported.

The state Senate had been scheduled to take up a…

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Michigan Officials Nix Campaign’s Rec Marijuana Ballot Petition

A Michigan campaign with an eye on legalizing adult-use cannabis in November is promising legal action against the state after the Bureau of Elections rejected its petition to get a spot on the fall ballot.

MILegalize, which submitted roughly 354,000 signatures less than a week ago, was informed Tuesday that it’s about 106,000 signatures short of the required 252,523 it needs to qualify for the ballot.

But campaign leaders vowed to keep fighting, and said they expected to wind up in court,…

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Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative Takes Double Blow, But Vows to Fight On

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative Takes Double Blow, But Vows to Fight On

Efforts to let Michiganders vote on legalizing marijuana this year suffered a one-two punch from the state’s political establishment today, but organizers are unbowed and are vowing to keep up the fight to get their initiative on the ballot.

The campaign is led by the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, also known as MI Legalize.

First, the state election board ruled Tuesday that the initiative was at least 106,000 signatures short of qualifying after throwing out 137,000 signatures that were gathered more than 180 days…

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MI Rec Marijuana Campaign Submits Signatures for Nov. Ballot

Michigan voters got a little bit closer to having the chance to decide whether or not to legalize adult-use cannabis this November, when a recreational campaign submitted roughly 100,000 more signatures than needed to qualify for the ballot.

Jeffrey Hank, chair of MILegalize, said in an email that the campaign on Wednesday turned in to the secretary of state’s office about 354,000 signatures in support of their initiative. The threshold for making the ballot is 252,523 signatures of…

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Michigan Marijuana Legalization: NORML Endorses MILegalize

Michigan Marijuana Legalization: NORML Endorses MILegalize

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is pleased to announce an endorsement of the MILegalize 2016 initiative to regulate the adult use, production and retail sale of marijuana in Michigan.

MILegalize, also known as the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, has collected more than 270,000 signatures in its effort to legalize marijuana via the petitioning process.

The grass-roots effort has been collecting signatures from registered voters since June, 2015, and represents the…

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MI Dispensary Owners Consider Suing Over Raid

A husband and wife team that owns a locally licensed dispensary in Michigan is considering suing the county whose officers raided their home 19 months ago, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Annette and Dale Shattuck assert that even though the St. Claire County Drug Task Force returned most of the property it seized from the family in July 2014 after a raid, it’s not enough to compensate for the wrongs committed against them. Not all their belongings were returned, some of what was…

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Michigan: 53% Support of Voters Want Marijuana Regulated

Michigan: 53% Support of Voters Want Marijuana Regulated

LANSING, MI — A majority of Michigan voters support changing state law so that the use and cultivation of marijuana by adults is legal, according to polling data provided by the Lansing polling firm EPIC-MRA and commissioned by Michigan NORML.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they would vote ‘yes’ on a ballot proposal to regulate and tax retail marijuana sales. Forty-five percent of those polled rejected the notion of legalizing marijuana.

The results show an increase in voter support of three percent since pollsters last posed…

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Dispensary Raids Ramping Up Across Michigan

In the past week, law enforcement raids against Michigan medical cannabis dispensaries have been ramping up, and storefronts all across the state have been targeted.

In total, at least 16 dispensaries have been hit by various law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, multiple sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police. All of the raids are tied to allegations that the dispensaries were knowingly selling cannabis to individuals who were not registered…

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Cannabis Industry Awaits Ruling in Long-Running Lawsuit Over Federal Preemption

marijuana lawsuit

By Omar Sacirbey

Arizona attorney Steven White is leaving the legal profession to concentrate on his marijuana business, but he’s fighting perhaps the biggest battle of his career before moving on.

White argued his last case on March 3 in a lawsuit pitting his client – plaintiff White Mountain Heath Center of Sun City, Arizona – against Maricopa County, which is trying to prevent the dispensary from opening.

The outcome of the case has national implications that could reverberate…

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Michigan Marijuana Legalization Drive Enters Home Stretch

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Drive Enters Home Stretch

LANSING, MI — Advocates hoping to place the issue of marijuana legalization before Michigan voters in November announced Tuesday that they have collected over 240,000 signatures to date, and hope to collect 150,000 more by mid-March.

Since MILegalize began collecting signatures last summer, the organization has collected over 240,000 total voter signatures statewide.  In order to qualify for the 2016 ballot, the state requires 252,000 valid signatures be collected by March 15, 2016.

In order to reach their goal, MILegalize is asking…

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Oregon Marijuana Store to Open Cannabis Drive-Thru

An Oregon cannabis store that just opened across the street from a hospital also plans to ad a drive-up window.

Green Life Oregon opened in January, according to its website, across from Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach, Oregon. It wants to open the drive-up on April 20, 2016.

Manager Jeremy Paulson told the Curry Coastal Pilot that the location is no coincidence, saying the shop wants to offer patients alternative treatments to typical pharmaceutical medicines. The store apparently…

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ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

ASA Releases New Report on State Medical Marijuana Programs

With the release last year of the first detailed analysis and comparison of state medical marijuana laws, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) created a patient-focused tool to identify effective programs and problem areas. That groundbreaking report was followed by the release of ASA’s new, far more detailed report on state programs, which reflects the many new states that have added programs as well as others that have improved their existing programs.

Like the original report, this latest white paper enables advocates, policy makers and…

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ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

ASA Report Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nationwide

Patient Advocates Hope Report will Help State Legislators “Make the Grade” in 2016

WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” on Tuesday. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative…

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Third Michigan Marijuana Measure Clears Initial Hurdle

Michigan election officials have approved the language of a third ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

Abrogate Prohibition Michigan must now gather 315,000 legitimate petition signatures to get its ballot initiative in front of voters next November.

While the competing measures suggest strong interest in recreational marijuana legalization – with polls showing solid support – there are also concerns that having more than one measure on the ballot could…

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Detroit Zoning Ordinance Expected to Shutter 50% of Dispensaries

Up to half of Detroit’s roughly 150 medical marijuana dispensaries could close following a Detroit City Council vote on Thursday to approve a restrictive zoning ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, which goes into effect March 1, there are 651 parcels where a dispensary could set up shop. The dispensaries can locate in four types of industrial zones, and two types of commercial zones, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

Under the new rules, medical marijuana businesses must be 1,000…

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Michigan Supreme Court Allows Grand Rapids Marijuana Decriminalization Law to Stand

Michigan Supreme Court Allows Grand Rapids Marijuana Decriminalization Law to Stand

LANSING, MI — An amendment to the Grand Rapids city charter that decriminalizes marijuana possession in the city will be allowed to stand after the state’s highest court refused to hear an appeal from Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth.

The amendment, approved by voters in 2012, makes the possession of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by fines ranging from $25 to $100 with no jail time.  The amendment, which was approved by nearly 60% of voters, also makes  marijuana cases a low police priority, and forbids city law…

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Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients Eligible for Unemployment Benefits

Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients Eligible for Unemployment Benefits

LANSING, MI — State qualified medical cannabis patients are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, according to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Justices let stand a 2014 appeals court ruling determining that patients can receive compensation even in cases where their employer has fired them for failing a drug screen. As long as there is “no evidence to suggest that the positive drug tests were caused by anything other than claimants’ use of medical marijuana in accordance with the terms of the MMMA (Michigan Medical Marijuana Act),…

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Michigan: Two More Cities Vote to Legalize Marijuana

Michigan: Two More Cities Vote to Legalize Marijuana

PORTAGE, MI — Voters in two Michigan cities on Tuesday approved local proposals to remove the criminal penalties associated with the possession, use, transfer and transportation of small amounts of marijuana.  While marijuana possession remains a misdemeanor offense at the state level, the cities of Portage and Keego Harbor join the growing list of municipalities in the state that have passed similar marijuana reforms at the local level.

In Portage, voters approved a city charter amendment placed on the ballot by Committee for a Safer…

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2016 Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: An Overview

2016 Marijuana Legalization Initiatives: An Overview

Marijuana legalization initiative campaigns aiming at November 2016 are underway in nearly a dozen states. Here’s a look at what’s likely to pass and what isn’t.

Marijuana is going to be part of the political conversation between now and Election Day 2016. Support for legalization is now consistently polling above 50% nationwide, four states and DC have already voted to legalize it, and activists at least ten states are doing their best to make it an issue this time around.

In those states, they’re working to take marijuana legalization directly to the voters in the form of initiatives. Not all of those efforts will actually make the ballot — mass signature-gathering campaigns require not only enthusiasm but cold, hard cash to succeed — and not all of those that qualify will…

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Marijuana Legalization Ballot Drive Launches in Michigan

I favor this petition from MILegalize. Please contribute to its campaign fund
soon. My understanding is that the MRC’s opposing plan would include repealing
the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. That would outlaw free-market competition
from small businesses, mid-sized growers, and the farmer’s roadside stand.

Michigan is a Right to Farm State. If your land is suitable and you raise crops according to State standards, you may compete in the State’s open market. I’d say legalize it but don’t corporatize it. Never interfere with…

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Michigan Officials Approve 2 Marijuana Legalization Petitions for Signature Gathering

Michigan Officials Approve 2 Marijuana Legalization Petitions for Signature Gathering

LANSING, MI — Two competing marijuana legalization initiatives aimed at the November 2016 ballot have been approved by state officials to begin collecting signatures.

Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers approved the two petitions Thursday, and both campaigns can begin collecting the 252,523 signatures required to place their proposals before voters in 2016.

Both proposals, one from the Michigan Cannabis Coalition (MCC) and the other from the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee (MCCLRC), would legalize the possession and…

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