Some very important medical marijuana bills passed in the Michigan House of Representatives today. Those bills were HB 4209, HB 4210 and HB 4827. TWB posted an article earlier today via The Compassion Chronicles. In that article Rick Thompson had the following to say about the bills:
4209 will end all the existing dispensaries in the state and require them to get a new local and state authorization to reopen. It establishes a big government program to control growth/production/sale of marijuana to registered patients through commercial facilities. Commercial distribution of medical marijuana has been prevalent in Michigan since 2010 and is a pure market that is unregulated, robust and encompasses most of the state's 175,000 registered patients.
Production of cannabis is already regulated through the state's medical marijuana program. Michigan has approved approx. 30,000 licensed caregivers, who sell their extra cannabis to the dispensaries. Under the 4209 program, that all goes away. Not the caregivers, or the extra cannabis, just the safe and legal place for them to sell it. Where will people get rid of all their extra marijuana, when the dispensaries refuse to take it?
4210 re-legalizes the medical use of non-smoked forms of cannabis. It requires labels, packages, and containers for commercial production of foods, bans the use of butane extraction methods indoors, and contains penalties for failure to comply.
BOUGHT AND SOLD: HB 4827
Language in HB 4827 authorizes purchase of a computer program from California that tracks every marijuana plant commercially grown in all 82 Michigan Counties from seed to fully mature plant, and afterward. As explained by the computer program's vendor (not the Representative who introduced the bill), their program requires extensive weighing of processed marijuana at every post-plant stage of its life.
Consider: Each and every time someone touches the cannabis under the proposed program it must be recorded in the computer's program. The same with weighing the cannabis. Weights are required to be taken and recorded FOR EACH PLANT at the time of harvest and before being given to a shipper, then again after the shipper puts the cannabis in storage, then again when it is sold to the production facility, and then the finished product AND the discarded refuse must be weighed and recorded before it can be given back to the shipper who again records the weight when transporting the cannabis to the distribution center, where it is weighed upon receipt, and upon sale.
The language of HB 4209 allows for marijuana gardens in Michigan of 1,500 plants. That's a ridiculous amount of data entry for even a single one of these facilities, and an enormous program for the state to embark upon. I thought Republicans wanted smaller government, anyway?
Now the bills go to the Michigan Senate, where things are not that favorable. Again, per The Compassion Chronicles:
Positive change will be hard to find once the bill enters the Land of Mordor- the Michigan Senate- where law enforcement holds sway through the powerful grip of Sen. Rick Jones, himself a former Sheriff and the strongest argument in favor of term limitations the state has produced since Randy Richardville.
Apparently Senator Rick Jones read that article, which resulted in the following tweet:
I'm not exactly sure what is 'hilarious' about suffering patients and a black market that is empowering gangs and cartels. Michigan Senator Rick Jones needs to be voted out of office. Michigan patients and citizens deserve to have a Senator that fights to help the suffering, works to help make Michigan a safer place, and tries to generate much needed tax revenue for a state that has seen a LOT of financial hardship. Instead they get Michigan Senator Rick Jones, who likes to laugh at the situation. These bills are obviously not perfect, and need some revisions. Contact your Senator now and let them know that you support sensible reform, and that not only should they pass legislation in their chamber, but that they should improve on what the Michigan House has already passed. Below is a message that helps you do just that, via the Marijuana Policy Project e-mail I received earlier today:
Three bills that would add much-needed guidelines for medical marijuana businesses passed on a vote in the House today. These bills would establish clear, statewide protections for dispensaries, ensure patients can legally access non-smoked medical cannabis products, and establish tracking requirements for businesses involved in medical marijuana production.
As we approach the end of the year, time is running short. Be sure your senator knows you support quick passage.
The changes appearing in these bills are long overdue. HB 4209 provides the basic framework, including a business licensing system and testing and labeling requirements, among other provisions. HB 4210 makes critical changes to the definition of "medical marijuana" so that non-smoked forms can be available to patients. The third bill, HB 4827, establishes production and inventory tracking requirements.
Last minute improvements were made --- most notably a reduction in a proposed tax on medical cannabis sales. The proposed tax of 8% (in addition to the standard state sales tax) was lowered to 3%. While this provision and others are still not perfect, the vast majority of the proposed new system is reasonable and similar to other regulated programs around the country.
Please take a moment to encourage your senator to pass these measures, and then forward this email to friends, family, and supporters in Michigan!