Representative Phil Cavanagh, D-Redford Twp., May Vote Against His Own Bill
By Rick Thompson
House Bill 4851 is one of four whose purpose is to change the way medical marijuana patients interact with officers, interact with their doctors, interact with the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and how they conduct their daily lives. The four bills have been passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and are ready to be taken up by the full House. Normally this would be a cause for celebration in a first-term Representative like Cavanagh- instead the man who spent months in an ad-hoc subcommittee framing the proposed changes may try to kill his own bill.
Democrats are starving for a victory during this legislative session of servitude. Being forced to watch as the good works of decades are torn asunder with naught to do save cry in vain has to hurt a legislator's soul. With the proposed changes to the MMA, the party of the minority is in charge, for they need only 26% of the House votes to block the Republicans from being Schuette's Hammer. Now that the colluding Democrats are retracting their support for the bills there should be nothing stopping House Minority Leader Richard Hammel, D- Mt. Morris Township, from putting the brakes on this runaway train. It's the only time he'll be allowed to reach the pedal all year long.
Want to read the bills in their current format? You can't, unless you know somebody. The full text of the current language is nowhere on the government's website. This makes it nearly impossible for citizens to provide intelligent commentary to guide their Representatives in the decision-making process. Wait, discouraging input is the goal of a bully legislature that demeans the Democrats and the democratic process in the same breath.
(My readers know me, and I am somebody. All the current versions of the bills can be found here: http://www.cannamiracles.com/Useful-Links-4-everyone----.html )
Jack Lessenberry, in a column for the current issue of the Metro Times, referred to the republican party as a party of hate. A party of shadows, I say. Eleventh-hour additions to the aforementioned House bills has cost Rep. John Walsh, R- Livonia, Chairman of the Judiciary, his credibility. It has cost the authors of these four bills the support of the activists and patients that participated in the process, in the limited way they were allowed to.
MCL 333.26422 reads:
The people of the State of Michigan find and declare that: (a) Modern medical research, including as found by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in a March 1999 report, has discovered beneficial uses for marihuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions...
(c)...Michigan joins in this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens.
223%. Shadows do not listen, do not hear, do not care. Since the Medical Marijhuana Act became law in 2009 there has been an increase in police action, a ramped-up effort to crack down on the sick and injured. Arrests are up 223% from 2007 to 2010. Seizures of cannabis plants is up 68% during the same time. These are DEA numbers; imagine how many other seizures went unreported, how many times patients were hassled and harassed and lost their medicine to an uneducated officer of the law. I'm scared to see the numbers from 2011. How is that consistent with the Michigan law quoted above?
So patients and caregivers are taking it on the chin in the streets- how are they doing in the courts? 16-0 in the Court of Appeals. That's 16 victories for the prosecutors and the Attorney General's office with zero victories for patients and caregivers. That's a statistic that should raise a hint of suspicion in the mind of the most devout Conservative. Even if you hate cannabis, even if you buy into the drug war hysteria garbage, you have to look at that statistic and know there is no justice for my people in Michigan's court system today.
Enter the Democrats. In the House of Representatives there are 110 votes. 63 are Republican and 47 are Democrats. 29 NO votes are all that is needed to secure a victory for the party of the minority. The MMA has 200,000 registrants, and for every one of them there is a family of voters that support their medical use of marijuana. Democrats that are looking for anything to point to and claim victory should take up this cause; Democrats that are looking to be reelected in November should look to these single-issue voters and embrace them, for we are powerful and we are united.
The Committee for a Safer Michigan, of which I am a Director, is having a rally in support of the effort to repeal the prohibition of marijuana in Michigan. On May 15th activists and patients will gather on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing. Many voices will be heard as one. Many feet will shake the ground. Many crowded faces will create a tapestry of our state's populace. These people already know the one overriding and inescapable fact of the entire debate about marijuana: sooner or later, everybody gets sick.
Rick Thompson is on 2 radio shows and writes for several MM publication in Michigan