Michigan Embraces Cannabusinesses In 2013

michigan medical marijuana businesses

Existing Entities Expand, Outside Interests Begin Operations At Outset Of 2013

by Rick Thompson

A recent series of press releases heralds the marijuana industry's upcoming contributions to a strong Michigan economy in 2013.

Mediswipe has announced Birmingham, Michigan will be their new corporate headquarters for United States operations. The company specializes in electronically processing transactions within the healthcare industry. Their previous headquarters was located in Southern Florida. Per their press release: "While the states out west including Colorado and Washington figure out total legalization, we would prefer to focus on and be the dominant player within the east coast and Midwest markets like Michigan..."

MedTrend LLC from Wisconsin has announced a contract to place marijuana dispensing machines in facilities in Michigan. Their climate-controlled, self-supporting vending machines manufactured by MedBox are already rumored to be in place in several locations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The contract is for $500,000 and will place 15 machines throughout the Great Lakes State over the next 36 months. MedTrend's press release states they have affiliate relationships with retailers at over 40 tobacco retail locations in Michigan. "We are pleased to have established this distribution relationship in Michigan as it allows the company to grow at a faster rate and with a partner that has roots in the traditional retail industry in the state," the MedBox press release stated.

Expanding their existing operations in Michigan is The Compassion Chronicles (www.thecompassionchronicles.com). The online News, Opinion, Networking and Resources leader announced in December the launch of new services designed to connect patients with dispensaries via their Safe Access Central service. The Lansing-based company also announced similar services to connect attorneys and certification centers with the citizens that need them.

Small business is the single greatest generator of jobs in Michigan according to Gov. Rick Snyder, who famously declared Michigan is "open for business" after taking office in 2011. Despite this endorsement, Attorney General Bill Schuette engaged in a jihad against the medical marijuana industry in 2011. Through his 'Clearing the Air' seminar series, Schuette instructed local officials and law enforcement personnel how to close down the very same small businesses that now seem ready to give the state a leg up on economic recovery.

"Schuette was wrong about several things in 2011," said Jamie Lowell of Ypsilanti's 3rd Coast Compassion Center. "First, he declared all dispensaries to be illegal. That was not true." Ypsilanti is poised to relicense medical marijuana distribution facilities for a third consecutive year. "Burton licenses dispensaries, Ann Arbor has more than a dozen in operation and so does Flint. Kalamazoo citizens just voted to allow three dispensaries in the city."

Secondly, the Clearing the Air seminars preached that outdoor growing was illegal. "The Supreme Court of Michigan approved outdoor growing in the case of People v King. The AG's interpretation of law was wrong." Recently the Michigan Legislature codified rules for outdoor growing that incorporate the restrictions stated in the King case.

"The Attorney General instructed prosecutors and judges to deny a patient's right to a medical marijuana defense in court by requiring a higher standard than is outlined in law," explained Lowell. There are two defenses available in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act; a Section 4 defense for registered patients and a Section 8 defense for unregistered patients. "Schuette told everyone that the requirements of Section 4 had to be met before a person could offer a Section 8 defense," said Lowell, "and the Supreme Court of Michigan unanimously declared that to be an incorrect reading of law." Since the decision was rendered, case after case has been referred from the Supreme Court back to lower courts to give the defendants the proper hearings they were previously denied, at a huge expense for Michigan's taxpayers.

"Perhaps now Governor Snyder will see that the Attorney General's opinion is biased; his reading of the law is consistently incorrect; and by letting cooler heads prevail, a robust small business market can thrive in a state where new businesses are hard to find." Lowell also noted that a bill allowing for local options in the licensing of cannabusinesses, the Provisioning Centers Act, is about to be reintroduced to the legislature by Rep. Michael Callton, R-Nashville, in January.

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This article originally appeared on Rick's blog The Compassion Chronicles