Bills To Protect MMJ Users, Curb Abuses Passes

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  Bills To Protect MMJ Users, Curb Abuses Passes

Posted by CN Staff on May 04, 2012 at 04:37:01 PT
By Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer  
Source: Detroit Free Press 

Lansing -- Giving medical-marijuana users some things they asked for but also some they opposed, the state House passed a series of bills Thursday to modify Michigan's medical marijuana law. The changes include rules for doctor-patient relationships and law enforcement access to the state's patient registry.The four bills were adopted on broad, bipartisan votes, clearing the three-fourths-majority hurdle needed to amend a voter-enacted law. Similar majorities will be needed for approval in the state Senate before the changes become law, "but I do think we've sent a package they can adopt," said state Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Backers of the package said the amendments were needed to clarify the act that state voters approved in November 2008 and that the regulations would protect legitimate patients while reining in potential abuses. Opponents of the package said some changes give police excessive power to snoop in state computers for names of registered patients."This leaves it open season to harass anyone pulled over with a driver's license," said Steven Greene, 46, of Lyon Township, a registered patient and host of the weekly "Medical Marijuana Radio Show" on WDTW-AM (1310).The goal was to prevent police from breaking down doors and raiding homes of law-abiding users of the drug, Walsh said.Lawmakers "felt that was awfully harsh and a waste of police resources when a simple review would show whether the home was owned by a (state-registered) caregiver or patient," he said. That bill in the package -- sponsored by state Rep. Gail Haines, R-Waterford -- would require the state's medical-marijuana cards to have photo IDs. And it would let police check the state's computers to verify the user's status if the person were pulled over for a traffic stop or if police had a complaint about marijuana being grown in a house, Walsh said.Other medical-marijuana advocates applauded another change that would give registered patients the right to claim what's called an affirmative defense in court, something prosecutors and judges have often failed to uphold, attorney Matt Newburg said."We've had a lot of courts that don't even let the jury hear that a defendant is a state-approved patient or caregiver," said Newburg, who has offices in Detroit and Lansing.Strengthening access to the affirmative defense and allowing users to cultivate marijuana outdoors as long as it's in a fully enclosed area were in a bill sponsored by state Rep. Philip Cavanagh, D-Redford Township."My sense is that this is only the first phase" of changes to the medical marijuana law, Cavanagh said.The Legislature should "tackle the dispensary issue" by looking at how other states have licensed and taxed facilities that "provide safe distribution of this drug," he said.Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion in August that said dispensaries and other facilities selling medical marijuana were illegal in Michigan.One opponent of the bills, Rep. John Olumba, D-Detroit, said he was impressed by the level of attention the legislation received, but not convinced that the changes wouldn't unnecessarily complicate the lives of marijuana patients.Although Olumba said he opposes drug use generally, medical marijuana has proved to be genuinely helpful to some of his constituents."People with serious illness will have to go through a lot of stress and strain," Olumba said. "That sounds like Big Government."But Rep. Chuck Moss, R-Birmingham, said clarifying the rules was probably overdue.Moss said he wasn't necessarily a supporter of the 2008 ballot proposal, but "63% of the people in this state voted for it." Unfortunately, he said, the ballot proposal failed to answer many of the practical questions about how medical marijuana should be handled."It was like legalizing driving without establishing any rules of the road," Moss said.Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, voted against all four bills and said he thinks the Legislature should leave the issue of medical marijuana alone, for now.Irwin, who called overall drug policy in the U.S. and Michigan "insane," said he was apprehensive about the possibility of increasing law enforcement involvement in administration of the law (by changes in access to the registry) when "the top law enforcement official in the state has gone rogue," a reference to Schuette's rigid interpretation of several of the voter-approved law's provisions.Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)Author: Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press Staff WriterPublished: May 4, 2012Copyright: 2012 Detroit Free PressWebsite: letters freepress.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #10 posted by runruff on May 04, 2012 at 14:40:47 PT
How long?
How long will it take before congress and the presidents elect understand that they are not in charge. If the DEA or any other federal police agency had any respect for congress or the POTUS they have never shown it. They had the Santa Barbara raid in the planing when Pelosi made her comment. Knowing the attitude and demeanor of the DEA whom I have met up close and personal, and their individual agents they no doubt scoffed at her remarks and joked about how she is trying to save the dirty potheads, how sweet, Ha, ha, ha! They have pretty much become a rogue agency in as much they seem to operate by a mind of their own.
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Comment #9 posted by HempWorld on May 04, 2012 at 14:35:55 PT
Santa Barbara Pot Shops Targeted With Forfeiture
SuitsBusinessWeekBy Edvard Pettersson on May 03, 2012 Three buildings housing purported medical marijuana stores or farms in Santa Barbara County, California, were targeted with forfeiture lawsuits by US authorities for allegedly violating federal law.
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Comment #8 posted by HempWorld on May 04, 2012 at 14:17:50 PT
DEA raided at least two shops here in Santa
Barbara, yesterday.I guess Nancy Pelosi does not know or understand that the DEA was founded by the Rockefellers! And the Rockefellers where early supporters of Hitler... do you see a similarity in tactics, etc.? I do.
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Comment #7 posted by hope on May 04, 2012 at 12:51:02 PT
there will be a protest against the dea in 
California. Details are at the normal news feed.This law that this article is about is probably an act of ill will by prohibitionists and busybodies.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 04, 2012 at 12:44:52 PT
I Hope
I hope that he gets all 20 million. This is totally wrong and that amount of money might wake up more people to the futility of the drug war.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on May 04, 2012 at 12:39:05 PT
i am so glad the young man survived his encounter
With the drug warriors. A lot of people didn't. A lot of people didn't.It's truly horrible what's been done to him and yet there are seriously morally impaired people out there that can dismiss the serious egregiousness of this horror because he admitted that he did use a forbidden drug... for the fun and pleasure of it, no less, and the perpetrators of the cruelty were agents of a worshiped and infallible government.If there really is a judgement day some people are going to be very surprised at seeing the true and real ugliness of their own self righteous and judgmental nature. They will weep if they are really ever able to truly see what they have done to others in the name of stopping people from using substances that they disapprove of.There will be a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth...if there is such a judgment of how we treated others during our lifetimes.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 04, 2012 at 12:15:47 PT
One More Song
Michael Moore - The Times They Are A-Changin' - Occupy This Album
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 04, 2012 at 12:08:21 PT

A Song To Lift Our Spirits
Somethings Got To Give from Occupy The Album
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on May 04, 2012 at 11:38:01 PT

Man Forgotten in DEA Cell for 5 Days Files SuitA California man who was forgotten by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents while locked in a cell for five days without food, water or a bathroom has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the agency, according to court documents.On April 21, Daniel Chong, a 23-year-old student at the University of California, San Diego, was detained for questioning after a DEA drug raid near campus.DEA agents interviewed Chong and informed him that he would be released. Instead, the agents allegedly forgot about him, leaving the engineering student handcuffed in a holding cell for five days with no food or water.Chong's lawsuit claims that what he was subjected to constitutes torture under both international and domestic law.A spokesperson for the DEA's San Diego Division said that an investigation into the incident is underway.....Wish he would have gone after their entire annual budget......hope he gets the $20 million. Lucky he's not dead.
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Comment #1 posted by sam adams on May 04, 2012 at 09:03:23 PT

help with poll
Add more MJ penalties??? we need more NO votes:
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