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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
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

woman smoking a joint
miss.libertine / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.

flickr user Eljoja / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

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.

More than half a million people voted absentee in this week's primary election
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.

Vishal Wagh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

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. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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. 

Courtesy Dank Depot / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

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.
Flickr user Global Panorama / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

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.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry discusses legislation to bail out Detroit Public Schools, a grassroots campaign to legalize marijuana, and takeaways from last week's Mackinac Policy Conference.


Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Supporters of legalizing marijuana in Michigan dropped off more than 350,000 petition signatures at the Secretary of State’s office today. That would be enough to put the issue on the November ballot.  

But there is a question whether the signatures were gathered within the time allowed.

“Michigan law allows you to petition beyond 180 days,” says Jeffery Hank, executive director of MI Legalize. “The current law just deals with how do you verify those signatures that are beyond 180 days.  We believe we have done everything we could to try to do that.”

flickr user Heath Alseike / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

How high is too high to drive in Michigan?

With more and more physicians prescribing medical marijuana for chronic pain and other conditions, it's a question that needs to be answered.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The future is cloudy for groups fighting to get those marijuana and anti-fracking proposals on the November ballot in Michigan.

The House last week gave final approval to Senate Bill 776, which sets a strict 180-day window for groups to collect signatures on ballot initiatives and constitutional amendment petitions. 

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

2016 could bring major changes to the way Michigan treats marijuana.

There are three campaigns hoping to put legalization of recreational marijuana on the November ballot. Two of those groups – who appear to be raising significant money and have been collecting signatures for months – would tax and regulate marijuana for personal use for people 21 and older.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Michigan election officials have approved the format of a petition for a third marijuana-related ballot initiative.

The initiative would amend the Michigan Constitution to legalize cannabis for personal, recreational, commercial, agricultural and other uses. The definition of use includes growing, manufacturing, delivery, and consumption.

"What we are calling for is full repeal of cannabis prohibition across the state," said Timothy Locke, lead organizer of the petition effort for Abrogate Prohibition Michigan.

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