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Michigan: Cannabis Industry Association Capitol Protests


Lansing, MI – Today two sides of Michigan’s cannabis industry protested in front of the State Capitol Building in a debate over how the industry should move forward. The sides have been in court disputing whether the licensed dispensaries should be allowed to continue selling caregiver products as an interim solution until more growers and processors are operational.

While the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association is not taking sides in the debate, MICIA spokesperson Josh Hovey issued the following statement:

Michigan: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Submits 360,000 Signatures to Place Issue on 2018 Ballot


By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

LANSING, MI — The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 360,000 signatures earlier this month calling for its marijuana legalization initiative to be placed on Michigan’s November 2018 ballot. The state Board of Canvassers approved ballot language on May 18 of this year. Shortly afterward, the campaign began its 180-day statewide signature collection effort using both volunteer and paid signature collectors.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Coalition Nearing Petition Drive Goal

Michigan Signature Gathering

Backers of a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan are approaching the finish line

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Hundreds of petition circulators in Michigan have been busy collecting signatures for the legalization of cannabis.

Josh Hovey, the spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, says the group is pushing forward and their petition drive will collect its 300,000 signature in the coming days.

"We're around 80 percent toward our goal, which puts us at about 280,000 signatures. If we can keep our fundraising up the we'll be pushing 300k very soon and wrapping up the signatures in the next month," Hovey told Hemp News.

Michigan: Proposal to Legalize Cannabis on Pace to Make 2018 Ballot

Michigan Cannabis 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for recreational use in Michigan is gaining momentum as the group raises more money and claims to have gathered more than half of the signatures needed to put the issue before voters in 2018.

The proposed law would decriminalize the possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana in public and allow for up 12 plants to be grown per household.

Michigan: Recreational Cannabis Initiative Allowing 12 Plants Per Household Moves Forward

Mi Cannabis Cup, Leafly

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for recreational use in Michigan is gaining momentum as the coalition raises awareness throughout the state. The group, which has gathered half of the signatures needed to put the issue before voters in 2018, is seeking to end cannabis prohibition with a proposal 12 plants per household.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Campaign Hits 100,000 Signature Milestone

Michigan Signature Gathering

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

LANSING, MI — Marijuana legalization supporters announced Monday afternoon that the signature collection effort is running ahead of schedule with more than 100,000 signatures collected to-date. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which must collect 252,523 valid signatures over the summer to place the question on Michigan’s Nov. 2018 ballot, plans to submit signatures sometime this fall.

If approved by voters, Michigan would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, license cannabis businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana, and protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail cannabis.

Michigan: High Times Midwest Medical Cannabis Cup This Weekend In Clio

High Times Cannabis Cup 2017

Cannabis activists will be at the event gathering signatures for a recreational cannabis initiative for 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

This weekend, on June 24-25, the Michigan cannabis community is coming together in Clio for the 4th Annual High Times Midwest Cannabis Cup. High Times, the organization sponsoring Cannabis Cups since 1988, has been working to unite cannabis freedom fighters since 1974.

Michigan: Effort to End Marijuana Prohibition Gathering Signatures, Seeking Volunteers

Michigan Cannabis

If passed, Michigan would tax cannabis at retail levels with a 10 percent excise tax and six percent sales tax, which would support K-12 public schools, roads, and local governments

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last month, the Michigan Board of Canvassers approved a petition for a state ballot initiative that would regulate marijuana. If approved by voters, Michigan would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, license cannabis businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana, and protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail cannabis.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Campaign Seeks To Gather 252,523 Valid Signatures To Qualify For November 2018 Ballot


Personal grow limits and cultivation of hemp are included in the bill

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On May 18, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the language of a cannabis legalization initiative for the November of 2018 ballot. If passed, the progressive initiative would legalize personal possession, cultivation and use of limited amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and older. It would also tax cannabis with a 10 percent excise tax and 6 percent sales tax.

The proposal sets up three classes of cannabis growers: those who can grow up to 100 plants, 500 plants and 2,000 plants.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Petition For 2018 Approved For Circulation


The initiative seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan approved to circulate petition for 2018, Revenue would go to K-12 schools, road repairs and participating cities and counties

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Thursday, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the language of a cannabis legalization initiative for the November of 2018 ballot. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RMLA), the group behind the initiative, has 180 days to collect 252,523 valid signatures from registered Michigan voters.

Ohio: Some Patients Already Receiving Medical Marijuana

Ohio mmj.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Even though Ohio is not ready to open its first medical marijuana dispensaries yet, some patients in the state are already receiving medical marijuana.

Patients are going to the Holistic Center in Toledo where they are issued an affirmative defense card, which protects them from prosecution if stopped with marijuana in Ohio. They are then able to head north to Michigan to get medical marijuana.

We have doctors who are actually very passionate about providing alternative solutions to opioids," said Louis Johnson, of Omni Medical Services. “The state is still working out their infrastructure but the law says patients have the right to use marijuana and as long as a doctor certifies such then they have that right to do so," said Johnson.

There are several conditions that can qualify a patient in Ohio to use medical marijuana:

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Alzheimer's disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Crohn's disease
Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
Hepatitis C
Inflammatory bowel disease
Multiple sclerosis

Pain that is either of the following:
Chronic and severe

Parkinson's disease
Positive status for HIV
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Sickle cell anemia
Spinal cord disease or injury
Tourette's syndrome

Minnesota: PTSD Added to List of Qualifying Conditions For Medical Marijuana

Minnesota mmj.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Minnesota Department of Health is adding post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list of conditions that can qualify patients for medical marijuana.

Minnesota now joins New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon as states that allow those with PTSD to legally use medical cannabis.

A large amount of research has led to the conclusion that medical marijuana can be useful for "innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders,” according to a government-funded study released in 2014.

Another study released in 2015 found that; “When inhaled or delivered orally or transdermally, cannabinoids (the psychoactive components of unrefined marijuana and various derivative products) activate endogenous cannabinoid receptors, modulating neurotransmitter release and producing a wide range of central nervous system effects, including increased pleasure and alteration of memory processes…. Those effects provide a pharmacologic rationale for the use of cannabinoids to manage the three core PTSD symptom clusters: reexperiencing, avoidance and numbing, and hyperarousal.”

Michigan: Police Say 3 Grand Rapids-area Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Operate Illegally


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Three medical marijuana dispensaries were searched by police in the Grand Rapids area because police say they are in violation of the state's Medical Marijuana Act.

The three businesses were investigated Monday, Nov. 28, by the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, according to a news release. The dispensaries are Relief Hub dispensary at 4920 Plainfield Ave. NE, Third Day dispensary at 4981 Plainfield Ave. NE, and Red Jasper dispensary at 3926 West River Drive NE.

A new tax on dispensaries was signed into law by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in September.

Police say there is evidence the businesses continue to operate illegally despite the new law. The release states that officers purchased marijuana from the dispensaries, confirming their illegality.

Public tips helped to lead investigators to the dispensaries.

Michigan: Marijuana Vote Kept Off Ballot With Federal Court Ruling


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A federal judge denied a court motion today meant to stop the printing of election ballots in Michigan until signatures supporting marijuana legalization could be counted.

The decision came at noon today, September 13, in U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker's courtroom in Flint.

Plaintiffs Sean Michael Myers and Dakota Blue Serna both signed and circulated petitions to place a ballot question asking voters to legalize marijuana in Michigan and filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, Sept. 8.

Parker ruled after a hearing that lasted over an hour that there is not enough time to stop the process of Michigan's election to place the issue on the ballot.

"...It's really too late to have an effect," she said while ruling on the plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order to pause election processes. She noted a Sept. 24 deadline to send ballots to overseas voters, and a 40-day window that the state legislature has to be given to look at the ballot initiative before the election.

MI Legalize turned in 354,000 signatures for the ballot issue -- well over the total needed to qualify for the November ballot — but state rules made signatures older than 180 days void, blocking it from being added to the ballot.

Michigan: Court Says No To Marijuana Ballot Question: Advocates Plan Appeal


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Yesterday the marijuana-legalization question on Michigan ballots suffered a setback that may keep the measure off ballots this November.

MI Legalize, the campaign to legalize cannabis in Michigan, failed to submit enough valid petition signatures, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled.

Although 354,000 signatures were submitted -- well over the required 252,000 signatures -- the court agreed with a State Board of Canvassers decision in June that “more than 200,000 were collected more than 180 days before the petition was submitted” to the Secretary of State — a violation of state law.

“We’re disappointed but we always figured this would go to the state Supreme Court — and that’s where we’re headed” with an emergency appeal, said Jeff Hank, a Lansing lawyer and chairman of MI Legalize. Hank and other pro-marijuana advocates are hopeful that they will prevail and see the question on this year's ballot.

However, state election law experts have said for months that MI Legalize is unlikely to succeed this year. Others said the MI Legalize relied on volunteers for too long, not hiring professional petitioners until it was too late to gather the signatures in 180 days.

Michigan: Melissa Etheridge Smokes Weed On Stage For The First Time

Melissa Etheridge.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rock star Melissa Etheridge performed at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Clio, Michigan recently, where she fired up a joint on stage for the first time ever.

“This is my first time ever, smoking while performing,” Etheridge stated, just before lighting up the spliff. Etheridge whipped out a 'doob tube', complained about the difficulty of opening it, shared with the crowd that she prefers a sativa strain, then lit up and blew smoke into the air.

Etheridge performed on stage at the Auto City Speedway, where hundreds of vendors and thousands of patients braved temperatures as high as 96 degrees to enjoy the first day of the annual High Times celebration.

Before her performance she took the time to discuss her battle with cancer and how she used medicinal marijuana as a treatment option and as a way to control side effects of other treatments in a Q and A session.

The Medical Cannabis Cup continues on Sunday, ending with an awards ceremony which should take place without the rain which has plagued past Cup events. It should also take place in more moderate temperatures, as the high for the day is anticipated to not exceed 76 degrees.

Photo courtesy the Compassion Chronicles

Michigan: Elections Bureau Says Marijuana Signatures "Insufficient" For Ballot


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Michigan state election officials said Tuesday that the number of valid signatures submitted by a group seeking to legalize marijuana was "insufficient."

Although the activist-led group submitted roughly 354,000 signatures , well over the 252,523 required to make the ballot, the Bureau of Elections said only 146,113 were collected within 180 days of the filing. State law, recently updated to tighten that window, had treated the older signatures as "stale and void."

Jeff Hank, executive director of MI Legalize, said the group plans to sue the state for ballot access. He asserts the 180-day window is unconstitutional and that the current policy for rehabilitating older signatures makes the task impossible.

“The only way we’re probably going to rectify this is through litigation, and the fact that the Bureau has made this decision in a timely fashion gives us enough time to litigate,” Hank said. “We’re going to fight for the rights of every Michigan voter and make sure we get this on the ballot.”

On Tuesday Gov. Rick Snyder signed a new law solidifying the 180-day collection window on petition drives for initiated legislation or constitutional amendments, eliminating the option for petition groups to attempt rehabilitation of older signatures.

Michigan: Legalize Marijuana Group Submits 345 Thousand Signatures To State

michigan marijuana.png

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Michigan group trying to legalize marijuana says it has submitted approximately 345 Thousand valid signatures to the state in time to beat the deadline.

Whether the state considers all of the signatures submitted Wednesday to be valid is unknown. A bill was presented to Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday that would stop groups from counting signatures more than 180 days old.

253,000 valid signatures are needed to put the measure before voters. Current law allows them to count older signatures. So far, neither Snyder's office nor the Secretary of State's office has said whether the bill before Snyder would apply to the marijuana advocacy group.

Jeffrey Hank, director of the group, says they turned in about 200,000 signatures older than 180 days. He says even if Snyder signs the bill it wouldn’t apply to them.

Michigan: Rule Changes Could Derail Marijuana Legalization Effort

MI weed.png

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

MILegalize has 11 days left in their campaign to get a marijuana legalization question on this year's ballot. They've collected close to 320,000 signatures, well over the 252,523 needed to get on the November ballot.

But SB 776, passed by the House on Wednesday, would limit the window for collecting signatures to 180 days, a change that would likely invalidate many of the signatures collected.

"The state legislature, and perhaps the governor, are trying to throw chaos into the election system by enacting SB 776. We've got a potential legal battle on our hands. We may be going to court this week," says MILegalize Chairman Jeffery Hank. "We're going to be going to court over it, assuming the governor doesn't veto it, which we're calling for him to do."

There is a feeling that the legislation is specifically trying to sabotage MILegalize with the bill. "It's definitely targeted at us. It's definitely targeted at the anti-fracking campaign," Hank says. "It's also just in general an attempt to destroy our constitutional check and balance that we have so that Michigan government is accountable to the people. It's part of the trend.

Michigan: Marijuana Petition Supporters Rally At State Capitol

Michigan marijuana rally.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana activists working to place a legalization proposal on this fall's ballot rallied outside the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing Friday, campaigning for elected officials to "free the weed" and celebrating a petition drive they launched at the Capitol last year.

The MI Legalize committee has run into several obstacles ahead of the June 1 deadline for petition submission, one of which was legislative approval of a bill that could block its attempt to include older signatures that would typically not be counted by the state.

“We’ve scared the establishment,” executive director Jeff Hank told a crowd of more than 100 people. “…They are literally changing laws to try to prevent MI Legalize from proceeding. That should tell you we’re doing something right.”

MI Legalize has collected over 315,000 signatures since the petition drive started last June 25, according to Hank. The state requires 252,523 to make the ballot.

But many of the signatures were collected last year and could be invalidated under a state law requiring petitioners to collect within a 180-day window or go through a difficult process to "rehabilitate" older signatures.

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