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Michigan medical marijuana fees are funding the crack down on illegal marijuana

Dec 13, 2016

Medical marijuana fees are funding law enforcement cracking down on illegal marijuana growth and use

This information comes from a 2016 report to the legislature produced on October 27, 2016. It details that 18 counties applied for over $1 million in funding and 17 spent over $600,000. Fund use included paying overtime wages and covering raid gear. 

As Jonathan Oosting of the Detroit News reports, critics say the use of medical marijuana to fund crack down on illegal usage is “worse than ironic".

More from the Detroit News:

“You can’t give the guys who have been kicking in our doors and taking all of our property with unfettered power — and they still have it — this money,” said Charmie Gholson, an activist and founder of Michigan Moms United.

“I really don’t think it’s appropriate to fund law enforcement on the backs of medical marijuana patients,” medical marijuana attorney Matt Abel said. “… It’s really a hidden tax on patients.”

Yet some county officials, like Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, find the policy necessary — according to the Detroit News:

“The gambling comes from gamblers,” Bouchard said. “Your gas tax comes from drivers. That’s a policy decision the Legislature made. We just think there obviously has to be a funding stream for a regulatory process.”

"Bouchard said the funding has allowed his office to obtain 'both the equipment and some of the training to be in the best position to carry out our regulatory part of the equation.'"

Oakland County spent the most funds at $282,661.91. Wayne County spent the second highest at $275,194.59. Macomb County, with the third highest expenditure, spent significantly less with $60,329.29.

Each county receiving a grant provided a summary that included in part:

  • A summary of the project implementation plan and any deviations from the original project as proposed.
  • Accomplishments and problems experienced while carrying out the project activities.
  • Any experience in applying the project products and anticipated “next steps.”
  • Actual budget expenditures compared to the budget in the agreement, and the reason for any discrepancies.

Medical Marijuana funds going towards county law enforcement comes from Public Act 84 of 2015 section 902.