Lawmakers have not been in session more than two months but already a slate of marijuana-related bills are filed for the 2015-16 Michigan legislature.
Each of the seven bills are familiar to veteran Senators and Representatives, as they have been introduced in one form or another during the previous session.
The Provisioning Centers Act, formerly known as HB 4271, has been assigned the new bill number HB 4209. It would establish a set of legal protections and outline guidelines for medical marijuana distribution centers, based on a model of capturing excess marijuana produced by the state's 140,000-member medical marijuana program. The bill is once again sponsored by Rep. Michael Callton (R-Nashville) and has 20 co-sponsors, a bipartisan group of 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate. It carries the same language as the House version and carries the designation SB 142. The sponsors are Sen. Knezek (R- Dearborn Heights) and co-sponsors Sens. Ananich, Hune, Shirkey, Kowall, Gregory and Hertel Jr. .
The Smoking Alternatives Bill, formerly known as HB 5104 or the Concentrates Bill, is now known as HB 4210 . Last year's sponsor, Rep. Eileen Kowall, is no longer in the legislature; the bill's new sponsor is Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R- Alto). Co-sponsors include a group of 15 Representatives from both sides of the aisle.
There is a Senate version of the Smoking Alternatives Bill, too. SB 140 is sponsored by Mike Shirkey (R- Clarklake) and carries co-sponsors Sens. Ananich, Young II, Horn and Knezek.
Last year, a marijuana decriminalization bill was introduced in the House and Senate. The Senate version has made a re-appearance, sponsored by Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit). It would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil infraction instead of a criminal penalty. SB 080 has no listed co-sponsors.
A technical correction of law is contained in SB 141, a companion bill to SB 140. It would bring language in the criminal code in line with the language established in SB 140 and is tie-barred to the Smoking Alternatives Bill. SB 141 is sponsored by Sen. Young II and features co-sponsors Sens. Ananich, Shirkey and Knezek.
Finally, Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) has re-introduced his pro-business Discompassionate Landlords Bill. SB 0072 would allow landlords to ban patients from exercising the most basic rights provided under Michigan law to all licensed and registered patients: the use and possession of 2.5 ounces or less on private property and the cultivation of up to 12 plants. His co-sponsors include Sens. Marleau, Zorn, Schuitmaker, MacGregor, Schmidt and Knollenberg.
As head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jones has already rushed his bill through Committee and it waits consideration on the Senate floor. The other bills have been assigned to various Committees and have yet had a first reading, let alone a vote.