January 27, 2010

Marijuana Dispensaries in Michigan?…Not Quite

January 27, 2010
Growing weed for beginners indoors often involves an indoor grow tent.

Earlier this month the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved an ordinance that would allow home-based caregivers to dispense marijuana to up to five patients (see story below). The Grand Rapids City Commission approved the ordinance yesterday, which requires these home-based caregivers to get a business license in order to serve this function. The plan was backed by the city police department, ‘which was concerned that larger dispensaries could be the target of robberies, and large volumes of marijuana smokers.’ There is only one more meeting before final approval, and a date has not been set yet. The state legislature is considering a ten-dispensary plan, but the city of Grand Rapids didn’t want to wait.

Do you think that this is better than a dispensary system? Do you think it is better for patients, or for that matter, do you think it is better for the police? Let’s tackle it from the patient position first. Under a dispensary system, a patient has many more choices. Some people need really potent medicine, while others need a milder blend. Under this ordinance, patients get whatever their home-based caregiver has to sell them, period. If it is too strong, or not strong enough, that’s just too bad. The patient is barred from getting their medicine from anyone else. What if the home-based caregiver gives preference to one patient and stiffs the other 4? The four that are on the short end of the stick just get to sit by while the ‘favorite patient’ buys all the good medicine. What if the caretaker is just a greedy dick, and charges his patients way too much? Sure the patient can switch caretakers, eventually, but only after they have been deprived of their state approved medicine. In the meantime, they are hostages to the system. So I ask again, ‘how is this better for the patient?’

Now let’s focus on the law enforcement side. If you want to limit robberies, as they claim, tell me which is easier to rob, a house in a residential area or a commercial property in a well lit strip mall? How often do police patrol commercial areas versus your neighborhood cul-de-sac? I have never robbed anyone, but if I was a robber, I would choose to rob an unsuspecting resident in their unprotected home, versus a commercial property surrounded by shoppers and security guards. When you look at it closely, the police department’s claims are unwarranted. I don’t know what incentive they have to make such claims, other than they are idiots?? I will let you make the decision.

From a regulation standpoint, dispensaries are way easier to keep tabs on when compared to a home based marijuana dispenser. Under a dispensary system, businesses are required to keep records, sell their medicine from a set location, and owners are more likely to follow the law, as anyone can walk thru that door at anytime. Under the Grand Rapids ordinance, there is no storefront, and the caretaker can essentially do as they please. Privacy restrictions on a home based business are far more stringent than a store front business. Law enforcement should know that it is really hard to go into a person’s home without a warrant, as opposed to just walking into the front part of a store, which requires no warrant. The home-based caretaker can do as they please, unimpeded, with little to no oversight. What you are going to see is legalized drug dealing, as opposed to a ‘marijuana pharmacy.’ A ‘marijuana pharmacy’ is what patients, cities, and law enforcement really need. The cops can fight this all they want, but if they would just pull their heads out of their asses, they would see that a dispensary system is best for all the parties involved.



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