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The federal tax overhaul could affect Michigan's tax code. The federal personal exemption has been eliminated, but Michigan has state deductions tied to it. Gov. Snyder wants to restore the state's personal exemption, so that Michigan doesn't collect more tax than it would have before. 

Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Jack Lessenberry discuss what this could mean for Michigan taxpayers.

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DETROIT - An official says a pending lawsuit by a business group over medical marijuana regulations in Detroit means the industry will be on hold in the city until it's resolved.

The Detroit Free Press reports Detroit's deputy corporation counsel Charles Raimi said in a recent memo that it "would be improper, administratively wasteful and confusing to the public" to implement the new ordinance or take action on permitting or licensing of marijuana facilities amid the lawsuit.

Dollar bills and pennies
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Minimum wage in Michigan bumped up again with the start of the New Year on Monday. For most workers, that means a jump from $8.90 an hour to $9.25. A group wants to put a measure on the November ballot that would drive that figure up to $12 by 2022, but business groups have expressed concerns.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what might be best the move for the state.


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The headlines this week have been peppered with news of Attorney General Jeff Sessions “unleashing” federal prosecutors on legal marijuana. This runs counter to the Cole Memo of 2013, in which federal prosecutors were asked to limit their actions in states that legalized marijuana.

weed
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The Trump administration says federal prosecutors will begin to more aggressively enforce marijuana laws, even in states where marijuana is now legal.

The Justice Department is planning to roll back a policy instituted during the Obama administration that discouraged those prosecutions. It's not yet clear what specific type of enforcement the government is planning.

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Earlier this month, supporters of the push to make marijuana legal in Michigan delivered more than enough signatures to tentatively qualify for a proposal on the November 2018 ballot.

The group Healthy and Productive Michigan is working to stop the measure from passing. The group's mission is to fight legalizing marijuana.

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Starting today, law enforcement in five counties are piloting a new roadside drug test that analyzes saliva swabs for marijuana, opioids, meth, and other drugs above a certain threshold.

“When you say ‘roadside drug testing pilot begins,’ everybody thinks that we're setting up checkpoints and putting swabs in everybody's mouth,” says First Lieutenant Michael Shaw, a spokesperson for the state police. “And that's not the case.”

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In Lansing, lobbyists, big business, and small caregivers are jockeying to influence rules for growing and dispensing medical marijuana.

At the same time, lawmakers are considering beating voters to the punch by approving recreational marijuana in a way that could be very business friendly.

Medical Marijuana
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Michigan continues to wrestle with how to regulate and license medical marijuana dispensaries.

But there’s a potentially bigger issue facing the budding cannabis industry: the prospect that someone is trying to build a national monopoly on legal weed.

Marijuana plant
USFWS

Michigan is giving medical marijuana businesses until December 15 to close or potentially risk not obtaining a license under a new regulatory system.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced the decision Tuesday, and hours later a state board dropped a proposal to potentially force the dispensaries to shut down later this week.

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A new University of Michigan study finds that marijuana use among college students continues to rise in the U.S.

The latest report from U of M's Monitoring the Future program finds that in 2016, marijuana use among full-time college students was at the highest level since 1987.

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Medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008, and a few cities like Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids have decriminalized recreational use (though, you can still get civil infraction – a fine).

And a marijuana facilities licensing law signed by Governor Rick Snyder is set to go into effect this December. Rick Thompson serves on the boards of MI Legalize and Michigan NORML. He says the roll-out of the medical marijuana Facilities Licensing Act will basically “reinvent” the medical marijuana pipeline in Michigan.

straight-party voting
Lars Plougmann

Several ballot proposals for Michigan’s 2018 election cleared a hurdle today.

The Board of State Canvassers approved the form of proposals on earned sick time, marijuana legalization and redistricting.

That doesn’t mean the board guarantees the content of the ballots will hold up against lawsuits. But it makes sure the campaign won’t succumb to a challenge in front of the board on technical issues after they gather signatures.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals has struck down a rule that says bars and party stores can’t sell “narcotics paraphernalia.”

In 2013, the state Liquor Control Commission sanctioned a Montcalm County party store for selling bongs and pipes commonly used to smoke pot.

A Liquor Control Commission rule says bars and party stores can’t sell –quote- “narcotics paraphernalia.” There’s no specific definition of that phrase in the rule, though. The appeals court says that leaves owners with no real guidance on whether they’re breaking the rule.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Kalamazoo is the latest Michigan city to look to expand medical marijuana offerings.

The city will have two public meetings next week to discuss proposed ordinance changes that would allow commercial medical marijuana shops in some parts of town. The changes are allowed under a set of state laws passed last year

Clyde Robinson is the city attorney.

"None of this has been adopted yet by the city commission," he says. "So we’re looking for input into what we’re going to be recommending to the city commission."

sign that says flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality sued the City of Flint this week. The state says the city council's refusal to approve a long term deal to buy water from a Detroit-area system endangers a public already troubled by a lead-tainted water crisis. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the lawsuit filed by the state agency that's been blamed for much of Flint's water crisis.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new study from the University of Michigan finds that levels of first-time marijuana use among college students are at a 30-year high.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, says 51 percent of college students ages 19 to 22 became first-time marijuana users in 2015. That's up from 41 percent in 2014 and 31 percent in 2013.

Marijuana
USFWS

Bills to legalize recreational marijuana for adults were introduced in the Canadian Parliament Thursday. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says no matter what Canada does, it's not going to change anything at the Michigan border.

The agency says its officers are highly trained to detect the illegal importation of narcotics. So anyone hoping to buy marijuana in Windsor, Sarnia, or Sault Ste. Marie and return to the U.S. with it could face fines and arrest. 

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A federal appeals court has found nothing heavenly about a Michigan's man claim to have a religious right to grow pot.

The court on Thursday upheld an 18-month prison sentence for Brendan Barnes. In 2014, Lansing authorities responding to a gas leak found 321 plants at his house. Police found more marijuana at another house in Marshall.

Barnes claimed he was growing marijuana under a religious exemption from the Oklevueha Native American Church. He said he paid $25 for a membership card and $200 to possess sacraments.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

New state laws take effect Tuesday that will regulate Michigan’s medical marijuana industry.

The three laws taking effect will legalize medical marijuana dispensaries, regulate growing and processing facilities and extend legal protections to registered patients who prefer to use non-smokable forms of the drug, including edibles and oils.

It’s the first major update to Michigan’s medical marijuana laws since voters approved legalizing pot for medicinal purposes in 2008. 

weed
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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. 

"354,000 people signed their name on a petition to vote on this issue. They were ignored. I think that's unconscionable," Jamison said.
flickr user Dank Depot / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


From an early-morning fixture on Detroit television to an advocate for legalized marijuana in Michigan, Anqunette Jamison has made quite a transition.

The former Fox 2 Detroit anchorwoman walked away from her TV job to become a volunteer for MI Legalize, one of the groups that’s been fighting to put the question of legalization before Michigan voters.

She’s got a very personal stake in the fight for legalization: Jamison uses marijuana to help with her multiple sclerosis.

Marijuana advocates collected more than 300,000 signatures earlier this year, only to have them rejected for failing to meet a state rule on collecting signatures.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan marijuana advocates say legalization may be an “easier sell” after ballot victories in California and other states on Tuesday.

MI-Legalize executive director Jeff Hank is feeling good these days.

“The next election’s already started for us,” Hank says with a laugh.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

LANSING, Mich. - Marijuana won't be on Michigan's statewide ballot in November.

The state appeals court and the Michigan Supreme Court each turned down appeals Wednesday by a group trying to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

A group called the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee submitted 354,000 signatures, apparently enough to get marijuana on the ballot. But the Board of State Canvassers said more than 200,000 were collected outside a 180-day period, a decision that left the group short of enough names.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If it has roots and leaves, in Michigan, it’s a plant. That’s the legal definition now that the Michigan Court of Appeals has made a ruling in a medical marijuana case.

           

Lorenzo Ventura was challenging charges that he exceeded the number of plants he was legally allowed under Michigan’s medical marijuana law. He was convicted and sentenced to two years of probation and 120 hours of community service.

 

The law adopted eight years by voters ago does not provide a definition. The dictionary did not offer any guidance in this instance.

 

The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason uses bumper stickers to spread their message.
First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason / Facebook

The First Amendment guarantees us the freedom to practice whatever religion we choose.

For Jeremy Hall, that religion centers around cannabis. 

Hall is a marijuana caregiver and an ordained minister. He's also the founder of a new church in South Lansing.

It's The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason.

Marijuana
USFWS

A group of medical marijuana patients has filed a class-action lawsuit against Michigan State Police crime labs and Oakland County.

The lawsuit filed earlier this week says crime labs are testing marijuana in oil and edible form then reporting it as synthetic, even if it isn't.

Defense attorney Michael Komorn says this practice has resulted in the wrongful arrest and detention of people who should have only been charged with misdemeanors.

A pro-marijuana group is going to cA pro-marijuana group is going to court to get a question onto the November ballot.ourt in order to get a petition onto the November ballot.
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MI Legalize, a group trying to legalize marijuana in the state, is making the court its battleground. The group is hoping to get the question of marijuana legalization on the November ballot.

A state elections board shut down the group's petition, because it failed to get the signatures within the 180-day limit. Now the group is suing to get its question on the ballot.

Jeff Hank, executive director and general counsel of MI Legalize, joined us to discuss his group’s litigation.

GUEST

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The campaign trying to legalize marijuana in Michigan has filed a lawsuit challenging the state's six-month time limit to gather petition signatures.

The MI Legalize drive is still trying to either get the Legislature to adopt a law or place the question on the November ballot after its petitions were rejected by a state elections board last week because too many signatures were too old under the 180-day rule. 

M-I Legalize attorney Jeff Hank says what the state’s doing is not allowed.

The group that’s trying to legalize marijuana in Michigan is telling the state: See you in court.

And the outcome of the challenge could have a huge impact on politics, law-making, and future elections in Michigan.

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