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medical marijuana

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Doug Tribou / Michigan Radio

Sometimes Michigan’s state government relies on experts from the private sector to help guide public policy.

But what if the experts stand to profit from the advice they’re giving? 

Take for example the panel that recommends which medical conditions allow people to qualify for medical marijuana cards.

Marijuana
USFWS

Some unlicensed medical marijuana businesses in Michigan will be able to stay open. They were in danger of having to close their doors in the next few days.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A state board has approved 16 medical marijuana licenses. Licenses have been approved at all stages of the medical marijuana system– from dispensaries to testing labs. But there’s been some concern about having enough pot shops open for patients.

Starting September 15th, any dispensary that doesn’t have a license will have to close.

David Harns is a spokesperson for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation. He says once the deadline hits, there should be enough open dispensaries to meet the need.

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The state reviewed another round of medical marijuana licenses on Thursday. The new licensing process comes out of laws passed in 2016 meant to better regulate the medical marijuana industry.

Michael Pedrosi is managing partner of Capital Transport, LLC, a secure transporter of medical marijuana. The company’s license was approved in July during the first state review of pre-qualified applicants. He joined Stateside to discuss the nascent industry and his expectations moving forward.

Medical marijuana sign
Neeta Lind / Flickr - http://j.mp/1spglc0

The city of Grand Rapids has voted to allow medical marijuana facilities.

The city commission unanimously voted to amend a zoning ordinance that will allow medical marijuana facilities Tuesday night.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says it was important to get the business community’s opinion on the ordinance.

“But also making sure that we were including neighborhood voice in that decision,” Bliss said.

Medical marijuana sign
Neeta Lind / Flickr - http://j.mp/1spglc0

The first seven medical marijuana licenses were granted to marijuana business in Michigan last week. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs approved four growing licenses, one transporter, one processing center, and one provisioning center.

marijuana bud
Pixabay

 


Michigan residents will vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana November 9. 

The state has strict laws against driving while drunk, and cops can test how intoxicated someone is with a quick breathalyzer test. 

But if weed is legalized, how will law enforcement identify someone who is driving while high? 

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Michigan regulators have significantly expanded the list of conditions approved for treatment by medical marijuana. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on Monday added 11 medical conditions deemed debilitating by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008. They are: arthritis, autism, chronic pain, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, Parkinson's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, Tourette's syndrome and ulcerative colitis.

Denied conditions include anxiety, asthma, brain injury, panic attacks, depression and diabetes.

Dominic Simpson / flickr

Detroit is trying again to craft a city ordinance to regulate its burgeoning marijuana industry.

USFWS

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said in a statement that state laws will now allow the sale of CBD (oil based cannibus) to medical marijuana patients.

CBD advocates say the oil can help people with medical conditions like seizures, chronic pain, anxiety and sleep issues.

However, it does not give users the same "high" feeling commonly associated with smoking pot.

But any change by the state might not matter.

In the fall Michigan residents could vote on a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana.

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A state panel will recommend that ten new conditions be added to the list of acceptable reasons for medical marijuana use.

The panel of medical experts approved conditions like arthritis, obsessive compulsive disorder, spinal cord injury, and chronic pain.

But the panel wasn’t in favor of adding several mental health disorders – like anxiety and depression.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s top doctor and on the board. She says the petitions for most of the mental health conditions were too broad.

"354,000 people signed their name on a petition to vote on this issue. They were ignored. I think that's unconscionable," Jamison said.
flickr user Dank Depot / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

People who want a license to grow or sell medical marijuana in Michigan have yet more uncertainty to deal with when it comes to getting licensed.

People with medical marijuana businesses had until mid-February to get their applications into the state if they wanted to stay open while they waited for a license. If they did, they got a grace period and could stay open until June 15. The thinking was the state would hopefully be able to get them their licenses by that time.

But the state says it might not get through all those applications in time – more than 300 of them.

marijuana
flickr user Dank Depot / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state is looking for ways to help medical marijuana businesses that are having trouble finding a bank or a credit union.

Rick Johnson chairs the state medical marijuana licensing board. He says most financial institutions won’t work with marijuana-related businesses because the drug remains illegal at the federal level. He says that means the businesses don’t have checking accounts and can’t easily handle electronic transfers.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ann Arbor is temporarily halting new medical marijuana dispensaries after more than 30 recently applied for permits to operate in the city.

The Ann Arbor News reports that the city council voted unanimously Monday to impose a 60-day moratorium on issuing new permits as it considers limiting the number of dispensaries allowed in the city. Dispensaries that have already received zoning approval or that have applications currently under consideration will be exempt.

a medical marijuana dispensary
Flickr/lavocado

The city of Detroit may face a slew of new lawsuits, as medical marijuana dispensaries without permits are forced to shut down.

The state sent to cease and desist letters to 211 medical marijuana dispensaries last week. 161 are in Detroit. The reason: those establishments failed to get local permits before the Feb. 15 deadline to apply for state licenses.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's marijuana industry likely won't face any federal changes, though the state's Treasury Department has altered a tax on medical marijuana card holders.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the federal budget passed last week indicates the government will continue to not enforce federal drug laws in states with legalized medical marijuana.

marijuana
flickr user Dank Depot / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state medical marijuana board has deadlocked on the first two applications for licenses.

The issue was how to deal with old criminal convictions. 

One applicant thought his marijuana conviction had been expunged from the record. In another case, the applicant had a 20-year-old misdemeanor. 

Michael Densmore says it’s all a misunderstanding. 

marijuana bud
Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

The legal confusion surrounding medical marijuana in Detroit has grown even more confusing with a judge’s surprise ruling last week.

Detroit voters passed two ballot proposals that laid out new rules governing how and where medical marijuana is permitted, transported, and sold in the city. It effectively overturned parts of an existing city ordinance that restricted where dispensaries could locate.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Existing medical marijuana dispensaries had until Thursday to turn their applications in to a state licensing board with proof that their local governments are allowing them to operate.

The dispensaries have been allowed to continue to sell marijuana to licensed card-holders for the past two months. That’s while the state ramps up a new licensing system.

Dispensaries that have not turned in applications are likely to be denied future requests for a license.

marijuana plants
Rusty Blazenhoff / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

In 2012, Grand Rapids residents voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

And in 2016, Michigan lawmakers passed the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act, which set up the licensing and regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry.

But as a story in MiBiz points out, despite all that, Grand Rapids has not moved towards allowing medical marijuana facilities.

Neeta Lind / Flickr

Several medical marijuana businesses in Detroit are suing the city for failing to process permit applications. Attorney Michael Stein says he represents around 20 local medical marijuana businesses. He says he filed complaints on behalf of several clients Tuesday, asking the courts to force the city to issue decisions on the permit applications.

Stein says Detroit’s new medical marijuana ordinances are designed for businesses to get approval as long as they meet necessary requirements. He says several clients have submitted applications, only to have them ignored by city officials.

The state began accepting permit applications for medical marijuana facilities on December 15. Medical marijuana businesses that have already been operating can stay open while their state application is pending – as long as they receive local government approval and apply to the state by February 15.

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The state is advising Michigan residents to beware of  third parties if they are seeking a medical marijuana registry card.

According to a recent announcement from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Michiganders who want to register as medical marijuana patients should apply directly to the state.

The Department warned that using third parties can delay applications and increase the possibility of fraudulent submissions and misuse of documents.

Nassar in court.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The dean of Michigan State University's school of osteopathy, who supervised former sports Dr. Larry Nassar, is stepping down. Lawsuits filed against the university by alleged victims and their families say William Strampel and other MSU officials ignored warnings that Nassar was a predator. MSU says Strampel is resigning as dean for "medical reasons" and will remain on the faculty.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether we'll see more stories like this from MSU in the coming weeks and months.


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The state accepts the first applications for people who want to get into the medical marijuana business starting tomorrow. The licenses will allow businesses to legally grow, process, transport, or sell marijuana to patients who have medical marijuana cards. 

David Harnz works for the Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Board.  He says it will take three or four months to process the applications.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In Lansing, lobbyists, big business, and small caregivers are jockeying to influence rules for growing and dispensing medical marijuana.

At the same time, lawmakers are considering beating voters to the punch by approving recreational marijuana in a way that could be very business friendly.

Hopeful applicants in Leoni Township plan to camp out for nearly a week for the chance to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

A group of hopeful applicants plan to camp out for nearly a week for the chance to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.

Cars, trucks, and an RV are already lined up outside the Leoni Township Hall, just outside Jackson. The township will begin taking applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses November 1.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The city of Lansing will enact a recently-passed medical marijuana ordinance after a petition to repeal it failed to get enough valid signatures.

Lansing City Council approved the ordinance in early September. It caps the number of permitted marijuana dispensaries in the city at 25 and requires operation licenses for all establishments.

Petition organizers hoped to get enough signatures to either repeal the ordinance or have it submitted to voters as a ballot proposal.

Chris Swope is Lansing City Clerk. He says many signatures were invalidated because some people signed the petition as many as three times.

a medical marijuana dispensary
Flickr/lavocado

A battle is shaping up over two Detroit ballot proposals on medical marijuana, and things got pretty heated between supporters and opponents of the measures Thursday.

A group of City Council members, pastors, and community activists held a press conference to urge “no” votes on the two ballot questions next month. But a few pro-medical cannabis activists showed up too, with the two sides exchanging impromptu jabs at times.

Michigan State Police patrol vehicle shield
Michigan State Police

Michigan's state police director this week jumped into the debate over the decision of some NFL players to take a knee during the National Anthem. Col. Kriste Etue now faces an internal review by her department after she shared a Facebook post that called those players "anti-American degenerates." This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether her career can recover.

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