medical marijuana

The January EPIC/MRA poll shows 57% support legalizing recreational weed in Michigan
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The state medical marijuana board has deadlocked on the first two applications for licenses.

The issue was how to deal with old criminal convictions. 

One applicant thought his marijuana conviction had been expunged from the record. In another case, the applicant had a 20-year-old misdemeanor. 

Michael Densmore says it’s all a misunderstanding. 

marijuana bud
Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

The legal confusion surrounding medical marijuana in Detroit has grown even more confusing with a judge’s surprise ruling last week.

Detroit voters passed two ballot proposals that laid out new rules governing how and where medical marijuana is permitted, transported, and sold in the city. It effectively overturned parts of an existing city ordinance that restricted where dispensaries could locate.

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

Existing medical marijuana dispensaries had until Thursday to turn their applications in to a state licensing board with proof that their local governments are allowing them to operate.

The dispensaries have been allowed to continue to sell marijuana to licensed card-holders for the past two months. That’s while the state ramps up a new licensing system.

Dispensaries that have not turned in applications are likely to be denied future requests for a license.

marijuana plants
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In 2012, Grand Rapids residents voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

And in 2016, Michigan lawmakers passed the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act, which set up the licensing and regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry.

But as a story in MiBiz points out, despite all that, Grand Rapids has not moved towards allowing medical marijuana facilities.

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Several medical marijuana businesses in Detroit are suing the city for failing to process permit applications. Attorney Michael Stein says he represents around 20 local medical marijuana businesses. He says he filed complaints on behalf of several clients Tuesday, asking the courts to force the city to issue decisions on the permit applications.

Stein says Detroit’s new medical marijuana ordinances are designed for businesses to get approval as long as they meet necessary requirements. He says several clients have submitted applications, only to have them ignored by city officials.

The state began accepting permit applications for medical marijuana facilities on December 15. Medical marijuana businesses that have already been operating can stay open while their state application is pending – as long as they receive local government approval and apply to the state by February 15.

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The state is advising Michigan residents to beware of  third parties if they are seeking a medical marijuana registry card.

According to a recent announcement from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Michiganders who want to register as medical marijuana patients should apply directly to the state.

The Department warned that using third parties can delay applications and increase the possibility of fraudulent submissions and misuse of documents.

Nassar in court.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The dean of Michigan State University's school of osteopathy, who supervised former sports Dr. Larry Nassar, is stepping down. Lawsuits filed against the university by alleged victims and their families say William Strampel and other MSU officials ignored warnings that Nassar was a predator. MSU says Strampel is resigning as dean for "medical reasons" and will remain on the faculty.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether we'll see more stories like this from MSU in the coming weeks and months.

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The state accepts the first applications for people who want to get into the medical marijuana business starting tomorrow. The licenses will allow businesses to legally grow, process, transport, or sell marijuana to patients who have medical marijuana cards. 

David Harnz works for the Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Board.  He says it will take three or four months to process the applications.

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.

Hopeful applicants in Leoni Township plan to camp out for nearly a week for the chance to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

A group of hopeful applicants plan to camp out for nearly a week for the chance to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license.

Cars, trucks, and an RV are already lined up outside the Leoni Township Hall, just outside Jackson. The township will begin taking applications for medical marijuana dispensary licenses November 1.

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The city of Lansing will enact a recently-passed medical marijuana ordinance after a petition to repeal it failed to get enough valid signatures.

Lansing City Council approved the ordinance in early September. It caps the number of permitted marijuana dispensaries in the city at 25 and requires operation licenses for all establishments.

Petition organizers hoped to get enough signatures to either repeal the ordinance or have it submitted to voters as a ballot proposal.

Chris Swope is Lansing City Clerk. He says many signatures were invalidated because some people signed the petition as many as three times.


A battle is shaping up over two Detroit ballot proposals on medical marijuana, and things got pretty heated between supporters and opponents of the measures Thursday.

A group of City Council members, pastors, and community activists held a press conference to urge “no” votes on the two ballot questions next month. But a few pro-medical cannabis activists showed up too, with the two sides exchanging impromptu jabs at times.

Michigan State Police patrol vehicle shield
Michigan State Police

Michigan's state police director this week jumped into the debate over the decision of some NFL players to take a knee during the National Anthem. Col. Kriste Etue now faces an internal review by her department after she shared a Facebook post that called those players "anti-American degenerates." This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether her career can recover.

marijuana bud
Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Lawmakers in Lansing say they want a seamless transition as marijuana dispensaries start to get licensed.

Democrats in the House and Senate introduced legislation today. A few Republicans have voiced support of the bills. The legislation would let dispensaries keep their doors open while they wait for a license.

medical marijuana billboard that says "high ann arbor"
Emma Winnowiecki / Michigan Radio

The state Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would ban medical marijuana advertising on billboards in Michigan. State law already bans advertising tobacco products on billboards.

"The intention of the bill is to match the ban on tobacco advertising, so we're not advertising marijuana to  our youth," said Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state is going to allow all-in-one medical marijuana facilities. The state’s licensing department today said it plans to let one person grow, process and sell marijuana – and do it all in one facility.

Andrew Brisbo is Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Bureau director. He says the plan isn’t set in stone yet. But Brisbo says the bureau wants to make sure people are aware of the intent.

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.

Tracy Samilton

The future of medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan could be decided tomorrow, when the state Medical Marijuana Licensing Board meets again to discuss whether current dispensaries should be able to get a license.

At the last meeting, one member said dispensaries should have to close their doors until the application process opens – or risk not getting a license at all.

The state’s licensing department will make a recommendation on the issue at the meeting.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

In December, the state will start accepting applications for medical marijuana shops to get licenses. But meanwhile, there’s a dispute over how to deal with the dispensaries that are already open.

At a meeting today, the state’s medical marijuana licensing board considered whether dispensaries should have to close their doors before they can get a license. At least two board members want dispensaries that are already open to close next month – or risk being denied a license.

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."

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new state medical marijuana licensing board met for the first time Monday.

The meeting was mainly for the board to hear public comment about how the new medical marijuana program should operate. It won’t start issuing licenses until next year.

John Kroneck came to the meeting to represent Michigan Prevention Association. That group is concerned about potential consequences of expanding the medical marijuana system.

medical marijuana billboard that says "high ann arbor"
Emma Winnowiecki / Michigan Radio

State Senator Rick Jones says billboards advertising medical marijuana are sending a harmful message to kids and adults.

"All over the capital city of Lansing as you drive around, you see giant billboards that advertise 'High Michigan," says Jones.  "And they're talking about getting high on medical marijuana.  It would be the same as if you had billboards that said 'get high on opioids' that you take for pain medication."

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

A pair of identical bills were introduced to the Michigan House and Senate Wednesday that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries and businesses from advertising on billboards.

Marijuana plants.
scubabrett22 / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New medical marijuana laws mean that by this time next year, things will be very different for the medical marijuana industry in Michigan. The state will be handing out licenses to growers, testing facilities, transporters and dispensaries.

That means the state will have to regulate and license this business as it expands.

It will also mean new taxes. Some predict that the medical marijuana industry could generate revenues topping $700 million in Michigan.


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. 

Screenshot of Detroit website allowing residents to see locations of medical marijuana caregiver centers.

Medical marijuana users have a new way to learn about caregiver centers in Detroit.

An interactive map will help them track the status of the more than 280 centers across the city.

120 shops are in the application process. Over 60 of them are able to operate in the meantime.

Marvin Jamo, owner of a medical marijuana caregiver center in Detroit, says plenty of people use medical marijuana.

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

The Monroe City Council approved a decision this week to opt out of authorizing potential medical marijuana facilities. 

The council voted unanimously on the resolution. City Manager Vincent Pastue told The Monroe News that one of the reasons for the action is the lack of regulations related to marijuana facilities.

"It's difficult, if not impossible, for a community to make a land-use decision absent of these regulations."

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

A mistake in a newspaper report brought frightened medical marijuana users to the Livingston County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night.

The report wrongly said sheriffs are planning to use a state grant for unannounced spot checks at patients' homes.

Because of the stigma of being a medical marijuana user, many people who spoke at the meeting would identify themselves only by first name, like Denise from Hartland.

She says spot checks of patients violate the Fourth Amendment, "our right to not being searched and seized in our own homes."

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

Governor Rick Snyder has just a few bills from last session left to consider.

Among them is a bill that would allow landlords to include a provision in their leases preventing tenants from smoking or growing medical marijuana.

Bill sponsor Republican Senator Rick Jones said the legislation protects fellow tenants and landlords from smoke and damage to buildings.

“No one needs to use medical marijuana in a smoking form,” he said. “If they have a prescription, they can use it in many other ways – edibles, creams, oils, and even vaporizers.”

Marijuana plant.
user Coleen Whitfield / flickr

ST. JOHNS, Mich. - The Michigan appeals court says the state's medical marijuana law protects people who are accused of illegally transporting pot.

In a 2-1 decision, the court threw out the misdemeanor conviction of a man in Clinton County, north of Lansing.

Callen Latz is a registered medical marijuana user. But he was charged in 2014 with violating a law that requires pot to be stored in a case in the trunk of a vehicle or in a spot that's not easily accessible.