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Supporters of marijuana legalization are getting closer to taking the question to the people of Michigan. The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in petitions to the state Bureau of Elections on Monday. If the state verifies that 252,523 signatures on the petitions are valid, we’ll be voting on legalizing recreational use of marijuana next fall.

CRMLA reports having gathered well over 300,000 total signatures, with pre-verification measures showing more than 252,523 to be valid.

There was an awkward moment on the way to the triumphant turn-in of petition signatures by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The CRMLA owed some $30,000 to National Petition Management for gathering signatures, and National wasn’t giving up the signatures without being paid in full.

A fundraiser and appeal to donors took care of that financial shortfall and the CRMLA met its financial need for the moment. The group is going to need plenty more cash for the ensuing campaign, particularly when the naysayers start neighing. I expect it to be dirty but I also expect voters to do what they do almost every time they have a say in the matter and vote for legalization and access.

The recent vote in Detroit for Proposals A and B, which opt the city into the state medical marijuana system and relax some zoning requirements for provisioning centers, just shows again that if you get the question on the ballot the people will vote for it.

Even though those proposals were successful, it seems outrageous that it’s taken nearly a decade for lawmakers at the state and city level to respond to voters’ choices and accept a medical marijuana distribution system. The response has been mostly foot-dragging by legislators, outright cheating by law enforcement, litigation, threats, stealing the children of marijuana patients, arresting people

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By Corey [email protected]

READING — Less than 24-hours after Reading Township voted unanimously in opposition of allowing medical marijuana facilities to take root in the township, the city of Reading voted 3-2 in favor of allowing the facilities.

In fact, the city of Reading will allow the growing and processing of medical marijuana as well as safety compliance and secure transport businesses to take root in the city limits. Nine licenses of each type of business will be allowed and the city will also allow up to five dispensary type businesses to open up shop in Reading.

The ordinance, adopted Nov. 14, also established a $4,000 “facility fee” for each license and an annual $3,600 renewal fee.

However, the city also holds expressed rights to terminate or alter the ordinance as they see fit.

The night before, Reading Township Supervisor Andrew Barnhart and the Reading Township board of trustees voted against the zoning for medical marijuana facilities.

“We had some strong opposition here in the township as the majority were against it,” Barnhart said. “Especially the dispensary.”

Barnhart said another reason he voted nay is the constant changes to the current laws coming from the state of Michigan.

“They’re still adding this, changing that.” Barnhart said. “I was uncomfortable with how this was going to shake out eventually.”

Those entrepreneurs seeking to obtain medical marijuana license(s) for one of the five business types will file for state licensing on or after Dec. 15 in addition to local licensing in the city of Reading.

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LANSING, Mich. — Organizers of a ballot drive to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes in Michigan submitted 365,000 signatures to the state Monday, which appears to be more than enough to qualify the initiative for a statewide vote in 2018.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said the prohibition against recreational marijuana is “a massive failure.”

Michigan has allowed medical marijuana use for nearly a decade. If the new proposal were to make the ballot and win voter approval, it would make Michigan the ninth state to legalize the drug for recreational use.

If passed, people 21 and older could possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants at home. A 10 percent tax on marijuana would be assessed on top of the 6 percent state sales tax.

Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the coalition, said fully legalizing the drug for adults would generate hundreds of millions in new tax revenue. He estimated that 20,000 people in the state are arrested annually for marijuana possession and cultivation.

“Oftentimes it’s just adults using a plant that is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco,” he said at a news conference a couple of blocks from the state Bureau of Elections. “It’s breaking up families. It’s destroying communities. … We can impose some regulations, create a new industry in the state. You’re going to see not only the tax benefits of that, but jobs, less crime and letting law enforcement go after things that are more important.”

If state officials determine that about 252,000 of the voter signatures are valid, the bill would go to the Republican-controlled Legislature. Lawmakers would have 40 days to adopt the measure or it

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More than 18,000 people and 678 vendors gathered in Las Vegas for the MJBizCon, a conference all about the cannabis industry. Wochit

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Hilary Dulany, started a vaporizer business in Oregon but also has a residence in Lansing and hopes to get a license for growing and processing marijuana in Michigan.(Photo: Kathleen Gray/Detroit Free Press)Buy Photo

LAS VEGAS — For Hilary Dulany, long roots in Michigan and the prospect of expanding her Oregon marijuana business are luring her back to the Great Lakes State.

For Nancy Whiteman, the prospect of taking her business national has her looking for partners in Michigan.

For the two women and many other entrepreneurs attending the MJ Biz Conference in Las Vegas last week  —the pre-eminent conference where 18,500 professionals  looking to get into the cannabis industry gathered — the common thread was Michigan’s soon-to-explode marijuana business.

Michigan’s 272,215 people who hold medical marijuana cards – second only to the number of medical marijuana users in California – are a potent enough clientele to attract business to Michigan. But the prospect of a recreational marijuana ballot proposal that could open the market to millions more has investors betting on the state as their next potential gamble.

Read more:

Activists: Pot legalization signatures will put issue on 2018 ballot

Detroit voters say ‘yes’ to relaxing rules on medical marijuana dispensaries

“Michigan has no idea what’s coming,” said Dulany as she talked with conference attendees about the vaporizer her Michigan-based company – Accuvape – sells around the country. The device, which she now sells in about 100 retail outlets in Michigan, allows users to vaporize marijuana-infused oils and cartridges without the hassle of rolling their own. 

Dulany already has licenses to process

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Medical pot dispensaries in Lansing like Kind Provisioning Center are largely left alone.(Photo: Michael Gerstein / The Detroit News)Buy Photo

Lansing— The road to the Michigan Capitol is lined with marijuana.

It’s almost impossible to drive to the capital dome without seeing scores of shop signs emblazoned with bright green medical crosses and plucky names — BudzRUs, TruReleaf, Best Buds, Kind Provisioning Center — all along Michigan Avenue and the city at large. A constant stream of people filter in and out of the pot shops.

In major cities such as Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Lansing and Flint, medical marijuana dispensaries are largely left alone.

In other areas, however, police follow federal and state law, in effect treating medical marijuana as an illegal narcotic and a public safety issue. Regional state police drug teams have raided and closed dispensaries with the help of county prosecutors across the state, including in Grand Traverse, Kent, Oscoda, Otsego, St. Clair and Wexford counties.

This unequal treatment occurs as Michigan implements new regulations on everything the industry does, from growing to transporting to selling. On Dec. 15, those trying to get into or stay in business can submit applications for an official state license.

It has been unclear since voters approved a 2008 referendum allowing marijuana for medical use what the state’s law actually permitted. In 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that dispensaries are illegal.

But the ruling has left some communities without local access to medical pot while others have a glut. Still others face legal fees and prison.

“I’ve shed tears over this. This has never been about money for me,” said Chad Morrow, a 39-year-old Gaylord resident and former dispensary owner facing up to seven years in prison. “To have that taken away — it’s

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Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – A man from Michigan is facing drug charges, having been stopped by Sparta Police Cpl. Joseph Antonello because the driver’s view was obstructed.  On November 11 around 1 p.m. Antonello stopped Gabriel Larosa of Ypsilanti, Michigan driving a white Jeep, according to police.

When the officer spoke with Larosa, Antonello smelled marijuana.  Antonello asked Larosa if there was anything illegal in his car.  Larosa showed Antonello a partially smoked marijuana cigarette.  He also gave the officer a zip lock bag containing marijuana, police report.

When Larosa’s Jeep was searched the officer found a prescription bottle, containing clear liquid, belonging to someone other than the driver.  Larosa said it was not his.  Police took the bottle for testing and took Larosa to Sparta police department headquarters for processing, police report.

Larosa was charged with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was released with a court date.

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Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – A man from Michigan is facing drug charges, having been stopped by Sparta Police Cpl. Joseph Antonello because the driver’s view was obstructed.  On November 11 around 1 p.m. Antonello stopped Gabriel Larosa of Ypsilanti, Michigan driving a white Jeep, according to police.

When the officer spoke with Larosa, Antonello smelled marijuana.  Antonello asked Larosa if there was anything illegal in his car.  Larosa showed Antonello a partially smoked marijuana cigarette.  He also gave the officer a zip lock bag containing marijuana, police report.

When Larosa’s Jeep was searched the officer found a prescription bottle, containing clear liquid, belonging to someone other than the driver.  Larosa said it was not his.  Police took the bottle for testing and took Larosa to Sparta police department headquarters for processing, police report.

Larosa was charged with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was released with a court date.

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EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, MI – Greg Maki kept his comments short and sweet when he supported the creation of a new medical marijuana ordinance that would allow growers and provisioning centers to operate in Egelston Township.

“All I have to say is, it’s just weed,” said Maki, 28, of Muskegon, during a public hearing before the township’s planning commission earlier this week.

Maki’s sentiment was echoed by other pro-pot advocates and would-be marijuana growers who dominated the public hearing.

Following the hearing and subsequent debate Tuesday, the planning commission on a 3-2 vote approved the ordinance and forwarded it to the Egelston Township Board of Trustees for consideration.

If the ordinance is approved by the township board, medical marijuana plants and products could be grown, manufactured and sold at provisioning centers located in Egelston Township. It’s not yet known when the board will vote, according to township Supervisor John Holter.

The township board voted unanimously in July to begin drafting an ordinance allowing the township to regulate the growth and sale of medical marijuana.

Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department issued a new set of rules earlier this year that allow municipalities to regulate medical marijuana on their own terms.

The proposed ordinance allows processing facilities in I-1 and I-2 industrial zones, provisioning centers in C-1 and C-2 commercial zones and growers in R-5 residential districts or I-1 and I-2 zones. Facilities must not be located less than 1,000 feet from a school, church or licensed day care facility.

The ordinance would also regulate how medical marijuana is distributed to Egelston Township patients and would discourage unregulated sales.

Voting in favor of the proposed Egelston Township ordinance were planning commission Vice Chairwoman Lois Gunther, Commissioner Robert Coon and Secretary Shawn Vanderstelt. Chairman Rob Gustafson and Commissioner Barbara Woudwyk voted “no.”

Future of marijuana dispensaries in Muskegon hazy after

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The Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) released two advisory bulletins today to inform and advise potential licensees of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation’s (BMMR) intention regarding (1) the transition from medical marihuana caregivers and patients to facility license holders and employees and (2) local and state license fees. The bulletins are for advisory purposes only and are subject to change.

Caregivers and Patients: Transition to Facility Licensee or Employee

The Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) requires grower and processor facility licensees to have at least two years experience as a caregiver, or have an active employee with such experience. However, a licensed grower or processor – or their employee – must not be registered as a caregiver. LARA intends to require that, upon licensure, any caregivers affiliated or employed by a grower or processor must submit the form to cancel caregiver status within 5 business days. New employees have five business days to submit the caregiver cancellation form.

The MMFLA requires that – to be eligible for a secure transporter license – an applicant and its investors cannot be registered patients or caregivers. Therefore, applicants for a secure transporter license – and those affiliated with the applicant as investors, direct/indirect owners, partners, officers, directors, managers, or members – must withdraw from the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program (MMMP) registry as caregivers or patients prior to applying for a secure transporter license.

The MMFLA does not prohibit provisioning center and safety compliance facility licensees from being registered as patients or caregivers under the MMMP, nor does it prohibit such facilities from employing patients or caregivers.

A patient or caregiver who wishes to withdraw from the MMMP registry must submit a completed Withdrawal Form directly to the MMMP according to the instructions on the form.

Fees under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act

The MMFLA requires BMMR to collect two separate fees:

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NILES, Mich. (AP) – A township in southwestern Michigan might reverse a decision to welcome medical marijuana businesses.

Milton Township in Cass County could rescind an ordinance Tuesday after hearing from the prosecutor and sheriff, who fear medical marijuana could bring crime.

Township Supervisor Robert Benjamin says, “Maybe it’s just not right for Milton at this time.”

New Michigan laws are significantly changing how medical marijuana is treated in the state.

The state will be issuing licenses next year to businesses that want to grow, process or sell marijuana.

But the businesses still need the blessing of local governments.

The South Bend Tribune reports that Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke is concerned about public safety.

Behnke says he’s not aware of any other community in the county welcoming medical marijuana businesses.

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