LANSING- The Committee for a Safer Lansing (CSL), who recently announced plans to petition to decriminalize marijuana in Michigan's capital city, have announced a fundraiser and send-off celebration for longtime community activist and entrepeneur Ryan Basore.
The Avenue, formerly Gone Wired, on Michigan Avenue in Lansing is the location for the event. The Capitol Building can be seen along Michigan Avenue, once referred to as the Green Mile for the proliferation of marijuana-related businesses along that stretch. A court decision and local pressure closed the distribution centers in Lansing. The Lansing State Journal reports, "Signs advertising vacant space again (appear) in windows along the avenue... leaving landlords without a reliable source of revenue. Today some of the former dispensaries' spaces remains empty...".
That restrictive mentality is the target of the Committee for a Safer Lansing's petition drive. "The laws as currently written abrogate constitutional freedoms, waste taxpayer dollars, and undermine a more healthy relationship between local people and the justice system. State legislators should see a working model of re-legalization every day," says Jeff Hank, Lansing attorney and principal in the CSL group, through a press release. The petitions have been printed and have already begun circulating. The effort to decriminalize marijuana in Lansing is more than just a petition drive- it's also a public relations campaign.
Detroit, Grand Rapids and Flint all passed decriminalization measures in November 2012. Activists in Ferndale and Jackson have already announced decriminalization drives for 2013. Once the petitions are signed and certified and the issue is on the ballot, the inevitable anti-marijuana campaign will follow. Hank reiterates the Lansing decriminalization effort does not authorize minors to use marijuana, it does not decrease penalties for minors who use marijuana, and it does not legitimize driving under the influence of marijuana.
The Fundraiser will feature a performance by Lansing-area attorney Bob Baldori of Woolies fame, a longtime harmonica and keyboard player for Chuck Berry. Baldori also happens to be the attorney representing the evening's man of the hour, Ryan Basore. In a recent Lansing State Journal article Baldori described the prosecution of the Lansing Seven this way: "It is a horrible miscarriage of justice and a waster of taxpayer monies."
You don't have to be a marijuana advocate to feel sympathy for Basore's legal issue. After seeking advice from attorneys and business experts, a team of entrepeneurs set up a small business under the auspices of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA). After six months of operation the business of providing cannabis to legal medical marijuana patients via legal medical marijuana distribution centers was brought to a crushing halt by the federal government. Those entrepeneurs have all been convicted of federal crimes and are sentenced to, or are currently serving, sentences within the federal prison system.
Basore was tapped as the man with the most responsibility for the business and he received the strongest sentence- 4 years.
There is a much larger picture than a quick rundown of events would indicate. Basore had one of those places on the Green Mile- Capital City Caregivers. He was a principal in the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers (MACC), an organization of Centers formed in response to the raids on dispensaries in Oakland and Lapeer Counties in 2010.
MACC sued the Attorney General in January of 2011 to stop him from releasing confidential patient information from the medical marijuana program database to the DEA.
MACC helped little Kathleen Edward, a victim of bullying and harassment due to her illnesses, to find temporary peace at a vacation with her family. The Downriver area family was featured on national news programs. MACC paid for the vacation; Kathleen has sadly passed away from her illness.
MACC paid for a dozen buses to bring patients, caregivers and loved ones to the September 11 protest at the State Capitol Building in Lansing, the largest gathering of marijuana advocates at the Capitol in recent memory.
Beyond MACC's accomplishments, Basore himself provided advice and suport to many cannabusinesspersons in the Lansing area. His Capital City Caregivers pioneered some of the best business practices employed by the industry today. By establishing a code of ethics and a standard of operation higher than others that came before him, Basore proved to be the example of professionalism that endeared him to patients and legislators alike.
Basore influenced some of today's strongest advocates for marijuana law reform- Reps. Irwin and Callton, for example, and city officials in many municipalities. He has always stood for the rights of individual growers and worked to make the cultivation and distribution models compliment each other in Michigan.
Basore will soon turn himself over to Federal authorites and begin his four year prision sentence for following Michigan law and the advice of attorneys. He is a Cannabis POW. The Lansing Seven and the Duvals are just the latest in a series of federal prosecutions of registered, law-abiding Michigan medical marijuana patients. Actions like the decriminalization proposed by the Committee for a Safer Lansing are a step toward normalizing attitudes toward marijuana and eliminating wasteful prosecutions like the one that ensnared the Lansing Seven.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles