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Michigan MMJ

Discussion in 'Medical Marijuana Law by Jurisdiction' started by momofthegoons, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    When marijuana was legal in Michigan: 22 days in 1972
    John Sinclair, “Michigan’s hippie king,” walked out of Jackson’s State Prison of Southern Michigan on Dec. 13, 1971 after serving two-and-a-half years of what might have been a 10-year prison sentence for marijuana possession.

    Surrounded by a cheering crowd, a television reporter quizzed Sinclair as he embraced family and friends outside of the prison gate.

    “After all of the trouble you’ve gone through Mr. Sinclair, how do you feel about marijuana? Do you still feel...”

    “I wanna smoke some joints, man!” Sinclair interrupted.

    Standing well over 6 feet tall with a mane of curly dark hair, Sinclair was a minor celebrity in Michigan’s counterculture: the manager for the Detroit rock band MC5 and the gregarious chairman of the White Panther Party, a revolutionary organization named in solidarity with the Black Panther Party.

    He proclaimed that marijuana was safe, the government was oppressive and young people were going to take over the country.

    The press characterized him as “colorful and quotable.” Police labeled him a threat to public safety.

    The Michigan Supreme Court found him convincing.

    The court fight that followed Sinclair's arrest for marijuana possession in 1967 — and the “Free John Now!” publicity campaign launched by artist and activist Leni Sinclair, who was John's wife at the time — briefly overturned Michigan's marijuana laws and gave hope to Michigan's more optimistic marijuana enthusiasts that legalization was within reach.

    “We were such utopianists,” Leni Sinclair recalls.


    Leni Sinclair in 1971. (Photo: Leni Sinclair)

    The Sinclairs helped to launch the Michigan Marijuana Initiative in 1972, the state’s first serious effort at marijuana legalization.

    It failed, of course. Legal marijuana was a hard sell to a public that largely believed smoking reefer was immoral and dangerous. A 1969 national survey indicated that 84% of Americans thought marijuana should be illegal. By 1972, things hadn’t changed drastically.

    But 2018 is different.

    In November, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted around 360,000 petition signatures to legalize the consumption, production and distribution of recreational marijuana in Michigan. It is all but assured that the ballot proposal will reach the 250,588 valid signatures necessary to make it on the November ballot.

    With nearly 60% of Michiganders in favor of legalization, it’s also expected to become law.

    Which might sound like vindication for Leni and John Sinclair. They don’t see it that way.

    Both say smoking marijuana in the 1960s was an affirmation of a fiercely do-it-yourself lifestyle and a form of protest against a national culture that sanctioned discrimination, demanded commitment to American militarism and protected individual liberty only within the bounds of consumer capitalism, Christianity and the nuclear family.

    “They are subverting the whole marijuana culture that we created, which was based on sharing, noninterference with others, high-mindedness, and spirituality,” said John Sinclair, from his upstairs apartment office in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.

    At 76 years of age, he is still heavily involved in marijuana legalization efforts. He and Leni have been divorced since 1988.

    “At first I thought it was a good thing” to legalize marijuana, said Leni Sinclair, who has been arrested five times on marijuana-related charges over her 77-year life.

    “In retrospect,” she said, when medical marijuana was legalized, “it destroyed the whole distribution system” that consisted mostly of friends getting together to share weed and hang out.

    They agree nonetheless that legalization is long overdue.


    Photographer and political activist Leni Sinclair, of Detroit, who is best known for her remarkable portraits and performance images of Detroit music royalty, from the MC5 to Bob Seger, as well as some of the world's most important jazz musicians including John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, photographed in 2016. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell/Detroit Free Press)

    “People are just ready for it,” said Jeffrey Hank, the Lansing attorney who founded MI Legalize, a grassroots organization that almost succeeded in getting an initiative on the ballot in 2016 to legalize recreational marijuana.

    The failure of the 2016 initiative inspired Hank's organization to found the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, up their fundraising efforts and professionalize their campaign.

    The Coalition is a diverse collection of activists, farmers and investors from both large companies and small businesses such as Lansing’s Wholesale Hydroponics.

    Its three largest donors have been the retail tobacco chain Smokers Outlet, the national lobbying group the Marijuana Policy Project and MI Legalize.

    And its efforts are aimed squarely at the political mainstream. The initiative includes a 10% excise tax on marijuana sales that would be divided between schools and road repairs and the municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.

    Its campaign has focused on the failure of efforts to prohibit marijuana use — one ad shows a Prohibition-era photo of men pouring a beer barrel into a storm sewer beside the caption "Insanity: Doing the same thing and expecting a different result" — and on "unnecessary" arrests.

    “You never get everything you want when you try to get something of this nature done,” said Hank.

    “You really have to appease people’s political opinions to have any chance at it.”

    Marijuana in Michigan
    In the 1950s, Michigan implemented some of the harshest penalties for marijuana in the country.

    Legislators worried publicly that “dope peddlers" and “bad associates” — which their listeners would have understood as code for black and working class — were manipulating white youth to smoke marijuana.

    A 1952 bill made the punishment for narcotics possession anything between probation and 10 years in prison, and the law treated marijuana as a narcotic. A second offense could mean 20 years behind bars. A conviction for selling carried a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison with no parole.

    In practice, these laws intensified the aggressive policing aimed at Michigan’s expanding black neighborhoods.

    By 1956, the Detroit Narcotics Bureau estimated that 89% of people arrested for narcotics were black, though they were only 20% of the city’s population. The conviction rate was a staggering 90%.

    When white and college educated John Sinclair was first arrested for “sales and possession” of marijuana in October of 1964, he got a slap on the wrist.


    Detroit Free Press archives John Sinclair at 27 outside the Oakland County Courthouse in April 1969. (Photo: Tom Venaleck, Detroit Free Press)

    The judge dropped the sales charge, put him on two months’ probation and fined him $250.

    Still on probation, Sinclair started a Detroit chapter of LEMAR (which stood for “Legalize Marijuana”), the first group dedicated to legalization in the U.S.

    John and Leni Sinclair had recently helped found a beatnik-inspired artist collective called the Detroit Artists’ Workshop. Their commune became a home base for artists, musicians, activists, and entrepreneurs.

    The Detroit Police assigned an undercover agent to infiltrate the commune to keep tabs on Sinclair and the anti-Vietnam War activists who lived in the same building, which led to Sinclair's second arrest.

    He pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and, this time, was sentenced to six months in the Detroit House of Corrections.

    Detroit’s Red Squad, a special police unit that investigated suspected communists, started compiling a detailed file on Sinclair for “possible narcotics and subversive activity.”

    Sinclair’s third arrest came under the auspices of a drug raid targeting narcotics traffic near Wayne State University’s campus. A month prior, he had given two joints to undercover police who had taken jobs at the commune in order to build a case against Sinclair.

    “They weren’t interested in marijuana,” Sinclair told the Detroit Free Press a couple days after the January 24, 1967 raid, “[t]hey’re just against our way of life.”

    “They couldn’t arrest people in America for saying things against the government,” Leni Sinclair said, “so they used the marijuana laws.”

    John vowed to appeal his conviction by challenging the legality of the state marijuana laws.

    Two years later, Judge Robert J. Colombo of the Detroit Recorder’s Court sentenced John Sinclair to nine-and-a-half to 10 years in prison.

    He also denied bond, which would have allowed Sinclair to stay out of prison during the appeal process, a move usually reserved for the most dangerous offenders.

    “The law means nothing to him and to his like,” Colombo said.


    Members of the White Panther Party and others on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing in 1971. (Photo: Leni Sinclair)

    Leni was “stunned.” She began urging voters to write members of Congress, participate in demonstrations and join her petition drive to change the marijuana laws.

    The commune printed and sold t-shirts, posters, bumper stickers, and buttons that read “Free John Now!”

    The strategy, she said, was “to get him out by any legal means possible.”

    Though they did step outside the law to make their point.

    Leni and a few friends rolled a pile of joints and mailed two apiece to every member of the state legislature, Gov. William Milliken and Wayne State University President William Keast with a note explaining that they were now in possession of narcotics and subject to a ten-year prison sentence.

    Ann Arbor was a strong base of support for their efforts. So was East Lansing.

    Students at Michigan State University swayed Republican Senator, Philip O. Pittenger, who represented East Lansing, to vote for a more lenient drug bill.


    George Griffiths in 1970 (Photo: Lansing State Journal file photo)

    The East Lansing City Council passed a resolution recommending Sinclair’s release from prison and the same for all Michiganders imprisoned for marijuana crimes.

    George Griffiths, a Democratic City Council member at the time and later, mayor of East Lansing, saw marijuana as “nothing more or less than alcohol.”

    “I have my wine or scotch and soda,” said Griffiths, now 88, “but if somebody wants to smoke their marijuana, that’s OK by me.”

    The “Free John Now!” campaign culminated in the “John Sinclair Freedom Rally” on December 10, 1971, headlined by John Lennon.

    Lennon and Yoko Ono took the stage around three in the morning with a dobro guitar and an impromptu band. They closed their short set with a song written especially for the occasion.

    “It ain’t fair, John Sinclair, in the stir for breathing air,” Lennon sang.

    Three days later, John was free.

    His case convinced the Michigan Supreme Court that marijuana and heroin were not equally dangerous, though state law had treated them that way, misclassifying cannabis as a narcotic and imposing long sentences for possession and sales.

    The Court released Sinclair from prison and, three months later, declared the state’s marijuana laws unconstitutional.


    John Lennon and Yoko Ono play the "John Sinclair Freedom Rally" in Ann Arbor in 1971. (Photo: Leni Sinclair)

    There were no new marijuana laws in place, and so, in March of 1972, marijuana was effectively legalized in Michigan for about three weeks.

    To celebrate, several Ann Arborites half-jokingly advertised a “hash festival” to take place on the University of Michigan’s Diag the day the new marijuana law was to go into effect — April Fool’s Day.

    Hundreds of people showed up on the snowy Saturday to puff joints in public, the origin of what would become Hash Bash. No one was arrested. A few days later, the court ordered the release of 128 people in Michigan jails for marijuana offenses.

    Pressured by young people, Congress had passed a constitutional amendment in 1971 to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, the same age at which Americans became eligible for the draft.

    Hoping to capitalize on the momentum, the Sinclairs devoted their energies to registering young voters.

    Nancy Wechsler and Jerry DeGrieck, both 22, won seats on Ann Arbor’s City Council in 1972 and immediately introduced an ordinance that would downgrade possession, use and sale of marijuana to a $5 civil infraction within Ann Arbor.

    It passed, making Ann Arbor the first city in the United States to implement a “traffic-ticket” marijuana ordinance and earning it the nickname, the “Midwest’s dope capital."

    East Lansing quickly became the second.

    The Sinclairs began working furiously on a Michigan Marijuana Initiative that mirrored an ongoing campaign they had worked on in California. It called for “free, legal, backyard marijuana” through an amendment to the Michigan constitution.

    The blueprint they settled on was “don’t do anything but legalize it," Leni Sinclair said.

    Their hands-off approach would “keep the distribution network that already existed all over the country,” she continued, where people mostly bought “an ounce and shared it with their friends.”

    Those networks weren't run by large criminal enterprises, she said. “Everybody that was in that kind of business was helping their family put food on the table.” They “would just be legal and pay taxes.”

    They had two months to collect 265,000 signatures to put the proposal on the November 1972 ballot.

    They collected roughly 125,000, less than half of what they needed. Only around 40,000 of those were considered valid.

    The End of Marijuana Prohibition?
    Participants smoke during the annual Hash Bash at the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor in 2015. (Photo: Nicole Hester/Associated Press)

    In 1973, Ann Arbor’s newest state representative, the shaggy-haired Perry Bullard, invited his colleagues in Congress to attend the city’s 2nd Annual Hash Bash, where Bullard smoked a joint in full view of the media.

    “There’s nothing wrong with it,” he said.

    His constituency, he would say later, “wants an outspoken advocate.”

    Former Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero didn’t smoke a joint for the cameras and said he “got almost no contact buzz” when he spoke Hash Bash in 2015 to promote “sane, sustainable, enforceable policy” regarding marijuana.

    Bernero said he hoped to combat “misinformation” about marijuana, which he equated with the “reefer madness” propaganda of the 1930s.

    “It’s still a Schedule I drug for God's sake,” he said, referring to marijuana’s classification under Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which is reserved for the most dangerous drugs. “It’s unbelievable to me that that’s still the case.”

    Bernero supports “normalization and legalization” of marijuana, noting that it’s “less fatal and less problematic in many respects than alcohol,” and he sees its potential to bolster both local economies and hard-pressed municipal budgets.

    “I think that it can be a real boon to the economy,” said Bernero, who hopes that it will remain an “indigenous industry.”

    Lowell, of MI Legalize, said the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol ballot proposal alleviates “the need for law enforcement to be concerned with adults with small amounts of cannabis.”

    “That goes a long way for me as an activist.”

    John Sinclair doesn’t trust the police to let go that easily. He anticipates that the “law enforcement bureaucracy” will swell to monitor the legal marijuana industry from “seed to sale.”

    Timothy Locke shares those concerns.

    Locke is the treasurer of Abrogate Michigan, which is running a separate petition campaign to legalize recreational marijuana but without an excise tax. The organization is pursuing a constitutional amendment, which is not expected to make it onto the ballot.

    In other states that have treated marijuana like alcohol, the excise tax “has not slowed down the arrests” and has actually “emboldened the black market because if people can find a cheaper product, they will,” he said.


    A rally-goer almost gets it right during the 30th annual Hash Bash rally to legalize marijuana held on the University of Michigan Diag in Ann Arbor on Saturday, April 7, 2001. Supporters tried and failed to get a marijuana legalization measure on the 2000 ballot. (Photo: Lon Horwedel, Copyright 2000 The Lansing State Journal;No)

    Which Lowell concedes is a possibility.

    Inside his organization, “there’s definitely a lot of discussion about that very thing,” he said. “It’s plausible.”

    For most, these concerns are offset by the benefits of funding Michigan’s public schools and road repairs through the excise tax on legal weed.

    Jeffrey Hank touts the model of marijuana licensing in the ballot proposal as the most small-business-friendly of any state.

    The “microbusiness” licensing process — akin to that of microbreweries — will allow small business owners and entrepreneurs to get a fair share of the market, not to mention giving them protection under the law.

    However, licensing fees for the smallest dispensaries still exceed $10,000 and a “no felons” clause limits access to the market.

    As a result, the black and working-class communities most victimized under marijuana prohibition could be largely excluded from the legal marijuana industry.

    Leni Sinclair hopes that whoever does end up profiting from legalized marijuana will “pay some reparations to the people who have suffered the most.”

    She wonders “how much would it have cost the state of Michigan to house all these prisoners for 20 to life if we hadn’t changed the law?

    “How many millions or billions of dollars,” she asks, has “John Sinclair saved the state of Michigan?”
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  2. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Michigan pot legalization push faces new opposition
    Lansing — A campaign to legalize and commercialize recreational marijuana in Michigan is facing opposition from a national group that has fought similar proposals in other states around the country.

    Smart Approaches to Marijuana of Virginia is the initial sole donor to the “Healthy and Productive Michigan” committee formed to fight the potential 2018 ballot proposal. Its 501(c)4 nonprofit action fund contributed $150,000 on Dec. 26, according to a campaign finance report filed last week with the state.

    The contribution is the latest sign that outside groups could spend big here if Michigan becomes the epicenter of a national battle over marijuana legalization. Vermont recently became the ninth state to legalize the drug despite warnings of possible federal enforcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    “Michigan is a priority because it’s been targeted by the pot industry,” said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “They see it as an opportunity to make a lot of money.”

    Sabet said the group will likely donate more to the legalization opposition committee and assist with fundraising efforts in Michigan.

    “We’re very concerned about what more marijuana use would mean for Michigan families, kids, the workplace and businesses,” he said.

    The Marijuana Policy Project, a national pro-legalization group based in Washington, D.C., helped plan the Michigan initiative and has contributed more than $174,000 in cash and in-kind services to the campaign.

    The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol includes local legalization activists. The committee reported $651,486 in direct contributions for 2017, including $549,238 from Michigan donors.

    Spokesman Josh Hovey said organizers expected opposition groups to “start popping up sooner rather than later” but noted the anti-legalization committee has not yet reported any Michigan donors.

    Opposition funding from the national group “reinforces to us that the campaign is going to be a very real fight this year and that we can’t take anything for granted,” Hovey said.

    “We’ll have to work hard to get the truth out there and make sure people have the facts. When the facts are out there, the only choice people will make is yes.”

    Organizers submitted roughly 365,000 petition signatures to the state on Nov. 20.

    If the Michigan Bureau of Elections and Board of State Canvassers determine at least 252,523 of those signatures are valid, marijuana legalization will likely appear on the statewide ballot in November. A signature challenge deadline expired Friday.

    Scott Greenlee, who leads the Healthy and Productive Michigan opposition committee, said his group expects the measure to make the ballot and is focused on fighting it there.

    A “strong national partner” helps, Greenlee said, noting he reached out to Smart Approaches to Marijuana and began meeting last month with potential Michigan investors. He expects support from both business and law enforcement groups.

    The proposal would allow and regulate marijuana production and retail sales in Michigan, building on the state’s new system for licensing medical pot businesses. It calls for a 10 percent excise tax, with revenue dedicated to roads, schools and local governments.

    Residents could generally carry up to 2.5 ounces of the drug or possess up to 10 ounces in their homes, but smoking would not be allowed on public sidewalks.

    About 57 percent of Michigan voters support legalization, according to a recent poll of 600 likely voters conducted by the Glengariff Group and provided to The Detroit News and WDIV.

    The Jan. 16-19 poll showed support for legalization was stronger among Democrats than Republicans and assumed a higher turnout among Democrats in 2018 than showed up in 2016.

    But the strongest indicator was prior use of the drug. Among voters who admitted to using marijuana at some point in their life, 73 percent said they supported legalization, compared with 41 percent among voters who denied ever trying the drug.

    “It’s those people who haven’t smoked pot who are going to decide this, not just based on the question of should this be legalized, but also is this the right way to do it,” said pollster Richard Czuba. “I think you’re going to see both sides target these folks.”

    Greenlee is a GOP strategist who worked in Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office from 2013-16, but he said his group intends to appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle.

    Sabet worked as a policy adviser to the Obama and Bush administrations. Smart Approaches to Marijuana was co-founded by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, a Democrat and son of deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy.

    The national group does not “want to put people in handcuffs for smoking a joint,” Sabet said.

    But he contends there is a difference between an adult using marijuana at home and legal shops that can sell edible pot products.

    “We’re concerned by the fact the initiative would allow for cookies, candies and soda and really start a new industry that’s very similar to the tobacco industry,” he said. “We don’t think the answer is legalization.”

    A separate opposition group called the Committee to Keep Pot Out of Neighborhoods and Schools reported a $5,000 contribution in June but has not been active in several months.
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  3. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Crawford County Township On the Rise Due to Medical Marijuana Opt-In

    A Crawford County township is standing out for its efforts to opt-in to the state’s new medical marijuana licensing rules.

    Frederic Township’s decision to opt-in in August, is already paying dividends, hundreds of thousands of times over.

    “We didn’t know what to expect,” Frederic Township Supervisor William Johnson, said.


    Bring in some extra revenue, maybe, but Frederic never expected medical marijuana to spur a small renaissance.

    “Frederic has sat stagnant for a lot of years, now all the sudden we’ve seen some growth coming on, and we are all excited about it,” Johnson, added.

    Frederic Township has issued 23 permits for a mixture of dispensaries, grow operations and transporters.

    Those permits alone have generated close to $100,000, before any of these places have even opened.

    “A lot more money than we’ve had come in for a long time for anything,” Johnson, explained.

    Many vacant buildings are off the market and the township thinks this new industry will bring a ton of jobs with it.

    “Within another year and half we are looking at another 200 jobs in just the Frederic area,” Johnson, added.

    Many Northern Michigan municipalities have yet to decide whether or not to opt-in.

    Including places like Gaylord, where medical marijuana has been a discussion for years.

    “I definitely can see how this is going to open the eyes of a lot of other municipalities and council members, and people that are elected officials,” Al Witt, said.

    Al Witt is a medical marijuana advocate and a Gaylord City Councilman, he hopes towns like Frederic inspire others.

    “Being an elected official, your duties are to bring growth to the community, to bring business to the community, the well-being of the community and the overall health of the community, and the medical cannabis industry does all of those things,” Witt, added.

    The state application deadline for prospective medical marijuana facility operators is February 15th.
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  4. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    I just hate this stuff.....so, Scott....why don't you just concern yourself solely with a "Healthy and Productive Scott Greenlee" and leave everybody else in Michigan the fuck alone.....

    Now this will probably get some rotten tomatoes thrown at me...but what I think would go a LONG way toward making America great again is if we all again learned to mind our own fucking business.

    @momofthegoons - Sabet and SAM donations may backfire if legalization advocates can get the word out that local opinion is being overrun by outside interests. Lot of times people don't take kindly to this type of stuff (for good damn reason).
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  5. Shredder

    Shredder Dogs like me

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    It must be quite a sell now days to get peeps to donate against mj. The writing has been on the wall for a while now. But hey, keep throwing your money away, lol

    I just hope we pin our AG to the anti's for the gov race. It's his (former ~ya right~) staff people running the opo. He's trying to just pull strings.

    Even when we legalize, a shitty governor could still cause people to be arrested. I want the cake and eat it, lol.
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  6. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Pot goes pro: Marijuana business pulls in people who see a big opportunity

    Larry Peplin for Crain’s
    Marc Beginin and Nick Tennant founded Precision Extraction Corp. in Troy in 2015.

    • Michigan marijuana industry getting more sophisticated
    • The current medical marijuana industry is valued at nearly $700 million
    • New regulations and potential for recreational legalization causing professionals to enter the market with more expected to follow

    Precision Extraction Corp.'s Troy plant looks like another one of the many small manufacturing operations in the city.

    Inside the 18,000-square-foot building, workers fit hoses and nuts and gauges to stainless steel vats. Lab equipment and high-pressure vessels filled with solvents and other potions come together to form precise machinery with names like "The Judge," "The Predator," and the "The Executioner."

    Those names might be a hint that the machinery isn't tooling used to stamp bumpers or gearshifts. Royal Oak-based Precision manufactures equipment to extract oils from one very specific product — marijuana.

    Once a seedy underbelly that has now morphed into a gray economy, Michigan's marijuana industry is quickly professionalizing, thanks to new state regulations for medicinal use.

    Michigan is now the second-largest medicinal marijuana state by registered card holders, behind California. The size of that market, and the potential that voters might legalize recreational use in November, are drawing experienced professionals and business savvy to the industry.

    That's starting to create a robust supply chain typically reserved for more mature businesses.

    Precision was founded in 2015 by Birmingham private practice attorney Marc Beginin and founder and president of Med Grow Cannabis College, a trade school for state-licensed medical marijuana growers and caregivers, Nick Tennant. Tennant was a 2010 Crain's Twenty in their 20s honoree for creating the trade school.

    Beginin was introduced to Tennant, who had the idea of creating extraction machinery for the marijuana industry, in 2012 but was hesitant to get involved.

    "The big thing for me was the leaf. I wanted no part of it," said Beginin, who remains a licensed attorney but hasn't enter a court room in a few years. "But what Nick showed me: It was a chemistry set. It's manufactured product. We don't touch the leaf, we make the shovels," — a reference to the companies that supplied products, like shovels, and services during the California gold rush. Those businesses ultimately made far more money than those panning for gold.

    Precision, which employs 25, is expected to generate $20 million in revenue in 2018, continuing its trajectory of 200 percent year-over-year growth, Beginin said.

    Entering new phase
    Larry Peplin for Crain’s
    Byron McVay and Damian Nicholson at Precision Extraction Corp. in Troy.
    For market entrants, it's not gold they're after, but green.

    Michigan's marijuana industry, which is legally limited to only to the roughly 250,000 medical marijuana card carriers, is expected to generate more than $694 million in sales in 2018, according to Washington, D.C., analytics firm New Frontier Data. That figure is expected to eclipse $755 million by 2020 — strictly from medical use.

    The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, a grassroots committee formed to legalize adult use of marijuana in Michigan, submitted 365,000 signatures as part of a ballot drive to the state in November. That could put the issue in the November 2018 elections.

    If passed, people 21 and older could possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants for personal use. The proposal also calls for a 10 percent tax on marijuana, on top of the 6 percent state sales tax.

    If voters approve the measure, Michigan would become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

    New Frontier projects Michigan's marijuana industry would generate between $1.5 billion and $2.3 billion in sales by 2020 if it passed a well-regulated adult use program.

    Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, CEO of New Frontier, said 2018 is the beginning of the third phase of the U.S.'s marijuana industry, transitioning from users turned business operators to middle-management entry into the market to now public investor funds and top executives leaving their perch in traditional business to join the industry.

    "These new companies are not only surviving and getting more capital, they are getting executives with major experience," she said. "It's not complicated, it's a numbers game. There's demand and a monetizable business model, and the companies are maturing, which has attracted more mature money and talent."

    Canada, which is expected to legalize recreational marijuana on June 1, already has several public companies operating in the space, including Canopy Growth Corp., the first publicly traded cannabis company in North America. Canopy (TSX: WEED and NASDAQ: TWMJF) sold more than a metric ton of cannabis oil in its second fiscal quarter, which ended on Sept. 30, 2017, and has a market cap of more than $6 billion.

    Founder Bruce Linton previously served as president of Ottawa Internet company webHancer Corp. In October, New York-based Constellation Brands Inc., which sells Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wines, said it plans to acquire a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy for roughly $199 million.

    But the industry is ramping up more slowly than expected in Michigan, partially due to complex regulatory framework, said Alan Rogalski, licensed clinical pharmacist and attorney for Warner Norcross + Judd LLP in Southfield.

    But early entrants with business know-how will line their pockets, he said.

    "The first ones to the playing field will control the playing field," said Rogalski, who co-chairs the firm's life sciences practice and is the lead attorney on the marijuana industry. "There is going to be a stampede, because we have such a huge population of medical users. The money is going to talk. Those with business sophistication and the ability to raise funds have the ability to plug and play very rapidly."

    As of late January, only 14 state license applications for growing facilities, processing facilities, provisioning centers and compliance facilities had been submitted to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. However, roughly 600 applications are in the prequalification stage or are in process, according to data provided by David Harns, public information officer for LARA.

    The state began accepting applications in December on its newly designed regulatory framework, nine years after residents voted to legalize medical marijuana.

    Crain's spoke with several high-volume growers, those expecting to grow tens of thousands of plants, but none agreed to speak on record until licenses are approved by the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board. The first batch is expected to be presented to the board in March or April, Harns said in an email.

    But it's the establishment of the supply chain that's occurring right now, said Margeaux Bruner, executive director of marijuana consulting firm Quantum Mechanic Services LLC.

    "This is different than building an engine, but you still need outside suppliers, packaging experts, labeling compliance, benchmarking, etc.," said Bruner, a former contract project management analyst for Ford Motor Co. "Everything we've learned in the automotive industry is very useful in this one. This is the middle of a perfect storm, where we're witnessing the end of prohibition and there's immense opportunity for professionals. We've only just begun the professionalization of this industry. It's going to need specialty skills from real estate brokers to educators to CPAs to all the other necessary infrastructure to build a viable industry."

    Rogalski said it's the external investors playing the market on the periphery that are enjoying the market growth in Michigan.

    "People who own the land, get the municipal approval with an ability to build the facility; those are the guys getting paid regardless if the seeds sprout," Rogalski said. "All that makes money with little to no risk. It's a calculated industry right now. The continued flow of money is eventually going to drive more change and sophistication."

    Real estate has likely been the most active part of the pot equation in recent years. Lansing real estate magnate Ron Boji, president of The Boji Group, is already developing space for medical marijuana growers. Boji previously told Crain's he expects a lofty profit by leasing space in up to seven of his approximately 25,000-square-foot industrial buildings across the state.

    Jeff Donahue, another private practice attorney, and investors acquired 130 acres in Windsor Township, 10 miles southwest of Lansing, to develop for marijuana growers specifically.

    Donahue's Harvest Park Development LLC industrial park sold out all 10 lots, which are expected to house 15,000- to 80,000-square-foot grow buildings, of its first phase that came on the market in November six months ahead of schedule. It's recently opened up development on the second 67-acre phase.

    "We were looking at the industry migrating from that weed shop, 'Reefer Madness' concept to a more traditional equity market," Donahue said. "We saw an opportunity."

    However, few communities in the state remain open to marijuana grow operations or dispensaries, which makes developments like Harvest Park more valuable, Donahue said. Brokers and legal experts have pointed to communities like Warren, Troy, Commerce and Shelby townships, Livonia and Detroit as being prime targets for growers in Southeast Michigan.

    "From a pure park development standpoint, you can get acreage that's decent," Donahue said. "But when it comes to cannabis, having infrastructure, zoning and ordinances and a municipality that's friendly ... That's rare, so this ended up being a prime piece of property that we're able to sell at a premium."

    Donahue said his investors are considering another development in West Michigan as the industry matures.

    There are still limits to how much like any other business marijuana operations can be.

    Banks can't lend to marijuana growers and sellers because it's considered a Schedule 1 narcotic, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and banks would be in violation of federal money laundering laws.

    States seeking a tax-collection infusion from marijuana sales are left relying on the trusting nature of the industry's operators. Because of banking rules, most marijuana businesses pay taxes in cash.

    As the San Francisco Chronicle wrote on Jan. 28: "Bay Area marijuana retailers who went fully mainstream this month were forced to act like gangsters anyway as they rumbled down freeways and across bridges in sport utility vehicles and sedans and, in at least one case, a Tesla, bearing cash piled in shopping bags and suitcases."

    An estimated 70 percent of the more than 1,600 recreational and medical dispensaries in California, which legalized recreational marijuana use at the beginning of the year, are still dealing in cash.

    Rogalski expects this to stimulate change at the federal level, regardless of who is in office.

    "They are going to have to walk into the treasury with a bag full of dimes; It's onerous," Rogalski said. "That's the only system that currently exists — having the equivalent of a Brinks truck, two guys with Glocks on their hips and ex-military personnel walking in bags of large deposits for taxes into the treasury. That can't continue. Revenue is generated, taxable revenue, and certainly the IRS expects to be paid taxes, so that's going to change and I think it's going to change in the next 12 months."

    For Precision, none of these rules matter. It's dealing in manufactured products. Expensive products, ranging from $43,000 to $1 million, that are in demand. It's the only extraction product supplier in the state and is looking to expand globally in the coming years, Beginin said.

    "For Michigan, it was always a question of whether the end product was legal. Now the Legislature has answered that, which I like," Beginin said. "Right now we're the only manufacturer East of the Mississippi (river), and our biggest market is California. The industry is getting bigger and bigger, and we're looking to grow with it."

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  7. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Detroit ordered to accept medical pot applications
    Lansing — Detroit is beginning to accept applications for medical marijuana business licenses under an order of the Michigan Court of Appeals, but the city is not guaranteeing it will finish processing any requests this week despite a looming state deadline.

    A three-judge panel on Friday issued an emergency order directing Detroit to accept applications as dispensary owners rush to meet Thursday’s state deadline. Existing businesses that do turn in an application and local approval form by then could be closed and denied the chance at licensure under a new state law.

    Attorneys representing several of those dispensaries are now asking the Michigan Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation for an extension as they seek approval from the city, which had halted implementation of two new voter-approved ordinances because of a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality.

    “The stakes are as high as they can get,” said Michael D. Stein, a Bloomfield Hills attorney who represents more than a dozen dispensaries in Detroit that fear forced closure if they miss the state deadline.

    “Basically, they put us in a disaster situation because we timely filed our lawsuit to get Detroit to accept the applications in a timely manner pursuant to the new law. This Court of Appeals decision vindicated our legal position that the city of Detroit must accept applications.”

    Despite the state deadline, Stein said he is concerned Detroit will not process applications by Thursday or provide businesses with an “attestation” confirming the local community allows dispensaries, as required under a 2016 law.

    Lawrence Garcia, the city’s new corporation counsel, said Detroit will comply with the Court of Appeals ruling to begin accepting applications but declined to estimate how long processing could take. The court dismissed a request to dictate specifics of how the city should review applications.

    “The form is available and can be submitted, and the city is accepting it,” Garcia told The Detroit News. “But I hope those folks can be sympathetic to the city’s need to process the applications in a way that is fair and consistent and doesn’t really fall prey to what me be a temporary change in the state of the law by virtue of the way our legal system works.”

    New ordinances approved by Detroit voters in November effectively repealed existing medical marijuana facility rules and prompted a lawsuit from a business group challenging their constitutionality.

    Garcia said a Friday hearing before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo Jr. could be “pretty momentous” and “clarify the impact” of the voter initiatives.

    “We’re trying to do the right thing,” he said. “We’re not trying to ... skirt the law. We’re trying to do the right thing, but this is a very confusing time, and we want to do things in the most logical fashion so that we get just and equitable outcomes for everybody.”
    At least 63 cities, townships and villages in 35 Michigan counties have adopted ordinances allowing local businesses to qualify for the new state licenses, according to the state, which is not counting Detroit since its new rules were suspended after the lawsuit was filed Jan. 1.

    Spokesman David Harns said Monday that the Michigan Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation will not extend its Thursday deadline for applicants operating with local approval, a requirement that is designed to bring existing businesses into compliance after they had been operating without direct state oversight.

    But all hope is not lost for Detroit businesses.

    “In situations where it is applicable, the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation will accept relevant court orders in lieu of the attestation,” Harns told The News.

    Charles Raimi, deputy corporation counsel for Detroit, had issued a Jan. 5 memo telling city officials not to accept, process or approve any applications for a permit to license any medical marijuana facility until further notice.

    “It would be improper, administratively wasteful and confusing to the public to implement the initiatives or take any action pertaining to permitting or licensing of marijuana facilities while the litigation is pending,” Raimi wrote.

    But there “is no injunction” to prohibit the enforcement of the ordinance and no court has declared it unconstitutional, Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Cameron said in the Friday order directing the city to begin accepting applications.

    “There is a presumption that ordinances are constitutional,” he wrote.

    Five other Metro Detroit communities have adopted ordinances opting into the new state licensure law, according to the Bureau. Inkster and River Rouge in Wayne County, Hazel Park and Orion Charter Township in Oakland County and Lenox Township in Macomb County will allow licensed facilities within their boundaries.

    Michigan voters approved medical marijuana in 2008, but the law did not authorize dispensaries, which had operated for years in many parts of the state without the legal blessing of the state or federal government.

    Gov. Rick Snyder signed the new licensing law in September 2016. The state had initially contemplated closing down existing dispensaries but announced in November that owners could apply for new licenses with local approval.

    Businesses that continue to operate without local approval past Thursday must close under emergency state rules issued in December.

    “Noncompliance is grounds for disciplinary action and referral to law enforcement for unlicensed activity,” according to a Friday memo from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

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  8. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    Wow! Wow!Wow!Wow! What a frakin mess!
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  9. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Detroit issues moratorium on new medical marijuana licenses

    The Detroit City Council approved a 180-day moratorium Tuesday on new medical marijuana permits and licenses, citing ongoing legal challenges and concerns raised about two voter-approved initiatives that were set to relax local control this year.

    Councilman James Tate, who drafted the resolution with the city's law department, said in a Feb. 8 memo obtained by the Free Press that he's also working to develop new ordinances that would "regulate both licensing and zoning for medical marijuana facilities and medical marijuana caregiver centers."

    "This is a cautionary tale for those who want to seek ballot initiatives with illegal language in them or language that is afoul of proven case law," Tate said before the council Tuesday. "This is what has created this situation ... (Not) working with the city to try and find some common ground. This is a perfect example of things that can go wrong."

    The moratorium, according to the resolution, will become effective once it is approved by Mayor Mike Duggan.

    The initiatives eliminate the authority of the city Board of Zoning Appeals to review dispensary applications; allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of another dispensary; allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of religious institutions, and eliminate the requirement that the city hold public hearings and solicit public comment on proposals to open dispensaries.

    In addition, they establish a process for licensing dispensaries that bypasses the Detroit City Council and opts into the licensing regulations issued by the state.

    About 60% of voters approved both initiatives last November.
    But late last year, the City Council pushed the city's legal department to challenge the proposals, saying both measures contain improper and potentially illegal zoning language.

    Tate said in the memo that it would be "against public policy" for the city to issue any licenses or permits until after the validity of the initiatives has been determined.

    "... The initiatives contained impermissible zoning provisions and have been legally challenged in the Wayne County Circuit Court," Tate wrote. "The law department believes that the initiatives will be declared void in whole or part."

    The two proposals were set to have a wide-ranging impact on the city. In 2016, the city adopted an initial ordinance — which took effect March 1, 2016 — that made it more difficult for marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.

    Since the original ordinance took effect, the city has shut down more than 186 of the 283 dispensaries that had been selling medical marijuana.

    Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia said Tuesday that the legal framework behind processing applications is currently "under a cloud" because of the litigation.

    Garcia said the city has received "dozens and dozens" of new business applications already but said none can be approved since the rules are in flux. According to the resolution authorizing the moratorium, at least 14 lawsuits have been filed in Wayne County Circuit Court seeking to order the city to grant licenses.

    "The rules that would be used to judge those applications today might very well be different from the rules that we use to judge those applications next week," Garcia said. "Rather than have all these different standards for the same application ... we think that a moratorium is an excellent way to freeze things until the legal framework is finalized, stabilized."

    In Detroit, about 60 dispensaries are operating with some sort of approval from the city under the old ordinance.

    In addition, Garcia told the Free Press in an e-mail, about 70 medical marijuana caregiver center applicants have received zoning approvals from the city for use as a medical marijuana facility.

    "Upon request, the city is completing attestation forms (for continued operation) for those 70 locations," Garcia said. "Those forms can be filed with the State of Michigan to receive licenses from Lansing. Theoretically, that would make those locations official medical marijuana facilities under statute."

    But beyond that, Garcia said there are no facilities in existence that are in compliance.

    "The initiatives created an untenable and confusing state of affairs and the legal process of working through that takes some time," Garcia wrote.

    Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs spokesman David Harns said in a statement that "LARA cannot extend the Feb. 15 deadline (to submit applications) but we will accept relevant court orders in lieu of the attestation in situations where ongoing litigation is delaying medical marijuana applicants from getting their local attestations."

    Jonathan Barlow, spokesman for Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform, which advocated for the ordinances passed by voters, previously told the Free Press that the medical marijuana patients are at the biggest disadvantage because of the potential for losing access to medical marijuana after Feb. 15.

    Michael Stein, a Bloomfield Hills attorney for several businesses hoping to get a medical marijuana license in Detroit, called the moratorium "absolutely ridiculous" and said he's prepared to launch a legal battle against it.

    "I'm not surprised because at every step along the way, the City of Detroit, whether it be through the Board of Zoning Appeals, City Council or the Law Department, has attempted to subvert the will of the people," Stein said. "If the City of Detroit was looking to engage in a protracted legal battle with the opposite side of this, that's what they're going to get. We will respond accordingly."

    Stein said until Duggan signs the city’s resolution, there is some room to get an emergency order from the court to make the city accept applications and give temporary approval to dispensaries that are currently operating.
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  10. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    hey @momofthegoons - I was about to post this article (or one like it) and see that you did....but without any comment?

    As far as I can tell, this is Detroit city government against the people of MI who passed the initiative that basically told the city to fuck off and issue licenses.

    What is happening in our democracy, on a wide number of fronts, is very alarming.
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  11. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    What is to say that you don't already know? I am so disgusted by the entire cannabis climate right now..... here in Michigan and nationally. I don't like how cannabis is being demonized... I don't like the taxes on it.... I don't like that our politicians are using their power to impose their own will instead of the will of the people.... I could go on and on and on.

    This just wasn't the day for me to be commenting too broadly. I'm not in the mood. Or should I say; I'm in a mood? :disgust:
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  12. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, go on, Mom....do it. Take some of the heat off of me as I'm seemingly always in 'a mood' about this stuff. Try it...call one of these politicians an 'asshat'. You will feel better for it! LOL
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  13. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Well the good news is that it looks like the dispensaries that are currently open will stay open IF they turned in an application. Whether or not they stay open after the June 15th application approval deadline remains to be seen.

    Thursday Deadline For Medical Marijuana Licenses In Michigan

    DETROIT (WWJ) – Thursday is the deadline for medical marijuana license applicants to submit their paperwork to the state. This is a pre-application that must show the medical marijuana facility will have local approval before it can get a state license.

    In November, the state allowed medical pot businesses in compliance with local ordinances to stay open until the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs had reviewed applications and awarded licenses. But few applicants have completed the process given concerns over federal law making pot illegal, along with inconsistent police enforcement that have shut down some dispensaries while allowing others to stay open.

    Proposed facilities must stop operating if they do not apply by Feb. 15, if they are denied a license or if they are not issued one by June 15. Violators will face law enforcement.

    State officials expect to begin issuing licenses by April.

    Michigan currently lets patients obtain marijuana from caregivers who grow plants; but the legal status of dispensary businesses has been in doubt. Roughly 265,000 patients have registered with the state to grow their own marijuana or obtain it from 42,000 registered caregivers who can supply a limited number of people.

    Dispensary shops are not explicitly addressed under a 2008 voter-approved medical marijuana law. They have gone unchecked in some municipalities and have been blocked in others under a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that questioned their legality.

    A five-tiered licensing system is being developed under a 2016 law that further regulated medical marijuana and aimed to address confusion. The law imposes a new 3 percent tax on provisioning centers and establishes a licensing system to grow, process, sell, transport and test marijuana. The emergency rules will remain in effect until at least June or permanent ones are finalized.
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  14. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    This official symbol will mark medical marijuana sold in Michigan
    Updated Feb 15, 12:19 PM; Posted Feb 15, 12:18 PM

    This symbol will mark medical marijuana products sold in Michigan. (Courtesy, State of Michigan)

    LANSING, MI -- The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs on Thursday released an official symbol that will be displayed on medical marijuana products.

    It is an inverted green triangle with a marijuana plant in the middle, plus text that says "CONTAINS THC," short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component of marijuana.

    The symbol will go onto products sold under the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act approved by lawmakers in 2016. Under it, the state will soon license marijuana growers, processors, transporters, testers and provisioning centers -- the businesses that sell medical marijuana to customers. The state began accepting applications to license these businesses in December.

    In addition to the symbol, marijuana being sold by or transferred to a provisioning center must be sealed and have a label containing:

    - The name of the licensee and license number of the producer and/or the packager.

    - The tag or source number as assigned by the statewide monitoring system.

    - The unique identification number for the package or the harvest, if applicable.

    - Date of harvest, name of strain, net weight, and concentration of THC or CBD.

    - Activation time expressed in words or through a pictogram.

    - Name of the safety compliance facility that performed any test, any associated test batch number, and any test analysis date.

    - A warning that states the following: "For use by registered qualifying patients only. Keep out of reach of children. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marihuana."

    As part of the new regulations, Michigan is implementing a "seed-to-sale" tracking system to track the medical marijuana in the new system.
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  15. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Michigan towns poised to become medical marijuana hubs

    Sharon Stalsberg is looking forward to the day, hopefully in the next several months, when Pinconning Township will no longer be known as the home of the Pinconning Paralyzer.

    The legendary – and supposedly very potent – strain of marijuana plant, developed in the 1980s by a Pinconning resident who was looking for relief from symptoms of multiple sclerosis, has defined the township for decades, the township supervisor said.

    The move from the illegal marijuana business to the new regulated and taxed medical marijuana industry is set to go live in the next month or two and Stalsberg said the township in Bay County is all in for the legal business and ready to erase the memory, if not the few remaining seeds and cloned plants, of the Paralyzer.

    Along with Pinconning, dozens of other communities are pinning their hopes of economic growth and revitalization on the new industry. According to an unofficial report put together by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, 64 communities have approved ordinances to allow medical marijuana businesses in their towns and half of those have placed no limits on the number of licenses they’ll approve.

    “The way we looked at it, it's a right the state has given people,” said Marcus Braman, supervisor of Windsor Township in Eaton County near Lansing, which has approved an ordinance allowing for 100 Class C grow licenses — those that allow for 1,500 marijuana plants, as opposed to the Class A and B licenses, which allow for 500 and 1,000 plants respectively.

    He said the township is looking forward to the development of a large, 130-acre industrial marijuana park this year.

    "As soon as you have development and jobs, that spurs economic growth,” he said.

    Harvest Park Development along the Grand River in the township is set to become one of the largest marijuana business parks in the state. Ranging from 2.5 to 25 acres, half the 20 lots at Harvest Park Development are already sold, even though potential cannabis entrepreneurs are buying the land with the knowledge that the purchase is a big gamble because they may not get a license from the township or the state to grow, process or test marijuana at the park.

    “Most of the buyers that I’ve dealt with have seemed to have successes in other businesses. A lot of them will build out a shell and will try to avoid the tenant improvement costs, like HVAC and lighting systems so they’re not exposed to those costs until they get a license,” said Jeff Donahue, managing partner of Harvest Park. “If they have a nice warehouse shell, they could resell it without a whole lot of exposure if they don’t get a license. But I haven’t talked with one buyer who doesn’t think they’re going to get a license.”

    In Pinconning, Stalsberg is looking forward to moving from the Paralyzer to PinCanna, a Farmington-based medical marijuana business that has applied for 15 Class C grow licenses that will allow it to grow up to 22,500 marijuana plants in greenhouses on 108 acres in the township.

    “When these businesses go up, they’re going to be state-of-the-art. I don’t think you’ll see any opposition anymore,” she said, noting the PinCanna plan is a multi-million project.

    Pinconning was the first township in the state to pass an ordinance to allow medical marijuana businesses into the community and is poised for an explosion of legal cannabis businesses anchored by 59 licenses that have already been approved for Class C growers.

    And that’s just the start. The township has decided not to limit the big growers who might find Pinconning’s welcoming demeanor and location, with easy access to I-75, a boon for business.

    The medical marijuana business is expected to generate more than $700 million in sales once it’s fully phased in. And if a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use gets on the Nov. 6 ballot and is passed by voters, that amount is expected to easily exceed $1 billion.

    Spreading the wealth

    Another industry benefiting from the marijuana onslaught is the commercial real estate business. The lots at Harvest Park are going for $149,000 per acre, which is more than twice the price that normally is charged for light industrial space in an area without a whole lot of other type of businesses nearby, such as the open acreage in Windsor Township, said Steve Morris, a partner in Axis Advisors, a commercial real estate consulting firm in Farmington Hills.

    “It’s been a pretty successful endeavor for us,” Donahue said, whose company bought the land and is selling the lots to marijuana businesses. “A number of the partners have owned commercial real estate in the area, so we weren’t uncomfortable with the investment. We tried to find a really solid location with access to freeways and we found a township open and willing and it just started as that, as a conversation."

    Indeed, Braman said, the township was impressed enough with the caliber of the people applying for permits that it decided to boost the number of Class C licenses from 10 to 100.

    “If there’s going to be a good development set up, we’d like to meet market demand. What we didn’t want to do is to have a top-notch operator disappear because there aren’t enough licenses,” he said. “We’re not looking to hand them out willy nilly. If we only have 15 licenses given out in the next few years, that’s fine. But this is an industry we believe is another big opportunity.”

    The Lansing Board of Water and Light is also on board and is planning to install new lines to provide the necessary water and electricity that the large grow operations will need.

    Hidden behind walls

    In Michigan, people hoping to get a glance of marijuana blooming across the state will be disappointed.

    The greenhouses that will be put up for growing the product will be hard-sided with walls that won’t be see-through. The roof might be made of some sort of transparent material to let in the sunlight, but the facilities will also have extensive artificial lighting systems to aid the growing process, said Hilary Dulany, one of the partners in Aardvark Extracts, a 13,000 square foot grow facility in Oregon, who hopes to get licenses for a 50,000 square foot growing, processing and dispensary facility in Michigan.

    Electrical and water demands at grow facilities are going to be huge, she said, to power the lights, watering systems and heating and air conditioning units.

    “A 50,000-square-foot facility is going to cost in the six figures per month just for electricity,” she said, noting that her Michigan business is named Aardvark Cannabis Company and that eventually, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power will pop up at hers and many other grow facilities.

    Security will also be tight around the cannabis businesses with gates, surveillance and facial-recognition equipment, and remote-control access to all the systems on site, which will set off alarms when levels of certain compounds such as CO2 get too high. They will also be able to turn on emergency generators during power outages.

    Each community will develop its own rules on when the lighting systems can operate to avoid light pollution coming from the transparent roofs and what kind of signage will be allowed on the greenhouses.

    “It’s going to be a city-by-city determination until the state decides to make it a blanketed rule,” Dulany said. “In the township we’re working with, it’s going to be a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. lights out situation, but they’re still fleshing that out.”

    At Green Man Cannabis in Aurora, Colo., neighbors would never know that the former plumbing and pipe manufacturing facility is actually an 118,000 square foot building full of marijuana plants. There is no distinguishing signage, primarily because there are no sales allowed from the building, and the only hint of what's going on inside is a heavy security presence at the site, said Corey Buffkin, master grower and one of the owners of the business.

    "It’s a huge building. It looks like a WalMart," Buffkin said, noting he is able to monitor all the systems at the facility, which includes 3,000 lights, on his Apple Watch. "Right now, it costs about $80,000 a month in electricity to run the place ... and on any given day, there are 60 to 65 people working there."

    Revenue for local communities

    In Bay County’s Bangor Township, the board upped the number of class C licenses from 30 to 80 to accommodate all the interest from marijuana entrepreneurs.

    “This particular industry found us. Widget factories weren’t knocking on our door, so this is the opportunity for us,” said township Supervisor Glenn Rowley. “We’re a handsome host. We’re surrounded by river, rail and road.

    “The vote for the ordinance was unanimous. It was, quite honestly, lead, follow or get out of the way.”

    One company, which Rowley wouldn’t name, has applied for and received township approval for 29 Class C growing licenses with a plan to transform a vacant manufacturing plant that Dow Chemical once owned into a massive grow facility.

    “This will be the poster child for medical marijuana facilities. As the building sits right now, there’s enough power to run five Meijer supermarkets,” Rowley said. “But that only handles about one third of their needs. The biggest challenge is to generate enough power to run these shops.”

    The businesses will not only bring in revenue for the township from licensing application fees – up to $5,000 for each application – but property tax revenue and a portion of the 3% excise tax that will be charged on medical marijuana sales.

    That has already brought in enough money for Pinconning for the township to fund two additional Bay County Sheriff deputies to patrol the town, add a canine unit and two law enforcement vehicles.

    “We’ve made out pretty good on our permits,” Stalsberg said. “So we’re making sure that everyone is secure and safe.”

    In Bangor, the extra cash from fees “definitely doesn’t hurt one bit," Rowley said. "Not that I’m ready to go public with how much we’ve received, but it’s more than I had last year.”

    And the township will start giving out a bulk rate discount. Any business that applies for more than 10 licenses, the fee will go down from $5,000 to $2,500.

    Bay County Executive Jim Barcia has no problem with his county becoming a mecca for mega growers. Three additional towns – Kawkawlin and Gibson townships and Bay City – have also approved ordinances with generous numbers of licenses available.

    “We’re getting a pretty substantial amount of contact from individuals who are interested in investing in Michigan for grow operations,” he said, adding that if full legalization is approved in November, those early communities approving ordinances will have a head start on a billion-dollar market. “We’re getting regular contact with people who are interested in investing in a new industry that’s spreading throughout the state. We’ll see what happens with the ballot proposal.”

  16. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    Now THAT is a great name for a strain.

    Mom, have you ever had this stuff????
  17. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    I have not.... and would love to! :biggrin:
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  18. Baron23

    Baron23 Well-Known Member

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    What a mess...I'm not even sure who the good guys are in this rumble...wow.

    Judge strikes down Detroit marijuana initiative

    In a surprise move late Friday, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge overturned a voter-approved medical marijuana initiative that would have relaxed local control in Detroit this year.

    The initiative, placed on the November ballot as Proposal B, specified which zoning districts medical marijuana-related facilities could be located within in Detroit. It would have allowed provisioning centers and processors in all business and industrial districts, including downtown and Midtown.

    Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. also partially overturned the zoning portion of a separate medical initiative, Proposal A, that sought to allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of another dispensary; near liquor, beer and wine stores; child care centers, arcades and parks.

    The decisions came after Colombo, earlier in the day, dismissed two cases that had sought similar action — one brought by VK Real Estate Holdings III LLC, a company seeking a medical marijuana license to operate in the city, and the other by Detroit residents Marcus Cummins and Deborah Omokehinde. Colombo ruled they had failed to establish standing or show “special injury."

    The dismissal seemed to deliver a victory to Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform, the group that had brought forward the two initiatives last year.

    Colombo said, however, the city could proceed with a lawsuit or motion of its own seeking to overturn the two initiatives.

    Michigan towns poised to become marijuana hubs

    City of Detroit to challenge pot initiatives

    "The parties in the suit were realigned by mutual agreement this afternoon," said Lawrence Garcia, Detroit's Corporation Counsel in a statement to the Free Press. "Shortly after the city became a plaintiff in the suit, Judge Colombo granted our motion."

    Attorneys for the Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform declined to comment immediately on the ruling.

    In its motion, the city argued that both proposals contained zoning provisions and determined the location of uses, and should be tossed out because Michigan law prohibits zoning by initiative.

    The city pointed to a ruling in another local case, Korash v. Livonia, where the Michigan Supreme Court decided that a zoning ordinance cannot be enacted by initiative.

    Colombo ruled that the city's interpretation of the law was not misplaced.

    "Indeed, the fact that the cases in question may no longer be good law is immaterial where Korash has not been overruled and dictates that the citizens of a home rule city cannot ... employ a voter initiative to rezone property," Colombo wrote.

    Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform attempted to argue that the city waived any right it had to challenge the ballot initiatives since it failed to take any action allowed by the city charter. The group also argued that the city improperly relied on the original plaintiffs — the business owner and homeowners — who were found to lack standing. But Colombo disagreed.

    "Citizens' argument is moot because at the hearing held on the city's motion and citizens' request, the parties agreed to be realigned such that the city would become plaintiff and file a complaint against Citizens," Colombo said.

    Among its other arguments, the city also asserted that Proposal A conflicted with the Michigan Medical Facilities Licensing Act and the City Charter.

    But Colombo agreed with Citizens and said Proposal A only brings Detroit in line with the state's standards.

    "There is no conflict since medical marijuana facility operators can now be licensed by the State of Michigan as well as the city," Colombo wrote.

    The initiatives were both approved by 60% of voters last November but have been in limbo since then after a crop of lawsuits surfaced, challenging the measures. But the trouble began for the proposals even before they were placed on the ballot.

    Although the city's election commission approved Proposal A to be placed on the ballot, it decided that Proposal B inappropriately sought to amend zoning so it denied placing it on the Nov. 7 ballot.

    But a lawsuit filed by the cannabis reform group challenged the decision and the court decided last September to place the measure on the ballot.

    Proposal B, which was struck down in its entirety, sought to amend Chapter 61 of Detroit's city code to establish land use standards and procedures. It amends the city's zoning ordinance to be consistent with Michigan's Medical Marihuana Facilities Zoning Act. The proposal also sought to allow growers and secure transporters to open within the city's M1-5 industrial districts and B1-5 business districts.

    Prior to Colombo's decision, attorney Charles Murphy, who represents Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform, said early Friday that he believed the judge has "significant grounds to uphold both proposals under the law as it exists today."

    "On the zoning part of the ordinance, we believe it's proper to amend the zoning ordinance," Murphy said. "We believe it's still regulating the activity and it's not based on the classic definition of a zoning district."

    Colombo’s decision comes days after Mayor Mike Duggan signed a 180-day moratorium on new medical marijuana permits and licenses.

    The Detroit City Council approved the moratorium Tuesday, citing ongoing legal challenges and concerns raised about the two voter-approved initiatives.

    "This is a cautionary tale for those who want to seek ballot initiatives with illegal language in them or language that is afoul of proven case law," Councilman James Tate, who drafted the resolution, said before the council. "This is what has created this situation ... (Not) working with the city to try and find some common ground. This is a perfect example of things that can go wrong."

    Attorney Jason Canvasser, who represents Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform, said early Friday that he disagreed with the city's decision to put a moratorium in place.

    "I think they're putting the cart before the horse at this point," Canvasser said about the moratorium. "It's just another attempt to subvert the will of the people."

    Prior to the voter-approved initiatives, the city already had an ordinance regulating dispensaries in place. Tate originally introduced the ordinance in 2015 and it went into effect March 1, 2016. An effort to amend the ordinance began a year later.
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  19. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons Nurse Ratched Staff Member

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    Detroit medical marijuana initiative overturning could be appealed

    The group behind two Detroit voter-approved medical marijuana initiatives is weighing its options — including a possible appeal — after a Wayne County Circuit Court judge last Friday overturned one of the measures that sought to relax local control this year.

    But Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform spokesman Jonathan Barlow said Monday that no official decision has been made yet.

    "Currently, we are examining all options before moving forward with any course of action," Barlow said. "However, we are disappointed in that the city refuses to have dialogue with us in order to help minorities in the industry."

    The overturned initiative, placed on the November ballot as Proposal B, specified in which zoning districts medical marijuana-related facilities could be located within Detroit. It would have allowed provisioning centers and processors in all business and industrial districts, including downtown and Midtown.

    Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. also partially overturned the zoning portion of a separate medical marijuana initiative, Proposal A, whicht had sought to allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of another dispensary; near liquor, beer and wine stores; child care centers, arcades and parks.

    Despite the ruling, Detroit will still be required to opt into the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Act, the state licensing and regulatory framework for medical marijuana.

    The decisions came after Colombo, earlier that day, dismissed two cases that had sought similar action — one brought by VK Real Estate Holdings III LLC, a company seeking a medical marijuana license to operate in the city, and the other by Detroit residents Marcus Cummings and Deborah Omokehinde. Colombo ruled they had failed to establish standing or show “special injury."

    Later in the day, the city filed its own motion seeking to overturn the two initiatives, which Colombo granted in part.

    Cummings, who is cochair of the community-based Metropolitan Detroit Community Action Coalition, said he was shocked, but pleased to hear the reversal.

    "We're glad the city picked it up after our standards were questioned," Cummings said. "... Legally, they (Citizens) can appeal, but if you ask me, 'do they have a case?,' I'd say no. Proposal B went against Michigan's Zoning Enabling Act. I don't see any of the appellate court judges ruling in their favor. The best thing for Citizens is to work with neighborhood groups in drafting something that was equitable for all."

    Cummings said the coalition plans to go before council to offer suggestions to tweak the city's current ordinance.

    "We're not anti-marijuana at all," Cummings said. "We just want fair regulations and we don't want to be flooded with this industry. ... You just want to make sure the communities and the business owners and the patients are set up where it's a safe environment."

    The initiatives were both approved by 60% of voters last November but have been in limbo since then after a crop of lawsuits surfaced, challenging the measures.

    Colombo’s decision came days after Mayor Mike Duggan signed a 180-day moratorium on new medical marijuana permits and licenses.

    The Detroit City Council approved the moratorium last week, citing the ongoing legal challenges and concerns. Councilman James Tate and the city's legal department argued a city's zoning ordinance can't be modified via a voter initiative.

    "This is a cautionary tale for those who want to seek ballot initiatives with illegal language in them or language that is afoul of proven case law," Tate, who drafted the resolution, said before the council. "This is what has created this situation. ... (Not) working with the city to try and find some common ground. This is a perfect example of things that can go wrong."

    Prior to the voter-approved initiatives, the city already had an ordinance regulating dispensaries in place. Tate originally introduced the ordinance in 2015 and it went into effect March 1, 2016. An effort to amend the ordinance began a year later.

    "I think they're putting the cart before the horse at this point," Jason Canvasser, attorney for Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform, said about the moratorium. "It's just another attempt to subvert the will of the people."
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