medical marijuana

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Michigan police are weighing in on state proposals to officially recognize – and regulate – medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Michigan House already passed a bill to create a new framework for who grows, transports, and sells marijuana to these storefronts – sometimes called a “seed-to-sale” tracking system.

 There’s been lots of debate over the past few days about the political wisdom of going ahead in Michigan with a couple of ballot campaigns after similar efforts suffered big defeats last week in Houston and Ohio.

OH to MI? Apples to oranges

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s planning commission got an earful from residents about medical pot dispensaries Thursday night.

The city is considering an ordinance outlining new zoning and spacing restrictions for marijuana dispensaries.

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A new State Police crime lab policy allows prosecutors to charge cannabis users with felonies they didn’t commit. That’s according to medical marijuana activists, who uncovered the policy through a public information request and provided the documents to the Michigan Public Radio Network.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has approved a medical marijuana ordinance.

The law outlines licensing and inspection procedures for marijuana dispensaries in the city.

Troy Holden / flickr

The state House has overwhelmingly approved bills to overhaul Michigan’s medical marijuana system.

The legislation creates legal protections for dispensaries and for patients using non-smokable forms of cannabis.

Bill sponsors say patients should not face prosecution for using forms of marijuana that are safer than smoking.

The Detroit City Council is expected to vote on a medical pot shop ordinance in the coming weeks.

It would create zoning, licensing, and inspection guidelines for marijuana dispensaries.

The ordinance has been introduced, and is going through the Council's committee process.

Marijuana plant.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss proposed bills relating to abortion and medical marijuana, what’s behind the $21 million lobbyists spent at the state capital this year, and the impact of a possible influx of Syrian refugees to Metro Detroit.

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A state House panel has approved long-stalled bills to overhaul Michigan’s medical marijuana system.

House Bills 4209, 4210, and 4827 would add protections for dispensaries and non-smokable forms of medical marijuana. But to get the necessary support from Republicans on the committee, the bills now include taxing and tracking cannabis sold through dispensaries.


The Detroit City Council could consider an ordinance to regulate medical pot dispensaries this month.

Council member James Tate says Detroit is experiencing an “oversaturation” of dispensaries, and that city leaders need to do something.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Patients with autism and Parkinson’s disease could use medical marijuana under a new effort to overhaul the system in Michigan.

The Michigan Responsibility Council (MRC) announced this week it will push lawmakers to make the state’s medical marijuana system safer and more accessible to qualified patients.

A button promoting marijuana legalization.
Danny Birchall / Flickr -

Everything you ever wanted to know about marijuana in Michigan was discussed this week on Stateside.

From the politics - to the business - to the potential downsides.

We sat down with reporters, business owners, and law enforcement to learn more about the topic.

Here's a quick rundown of what we covered:

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We’ve reviewed the movements pushing for marijuana legalization in Michigan, we’ve taken a look at how legal pot has treated Colorado, and we’ve heard the viewpoint of a medical marijuana caregiver in Ann Arbor.

Today, we get the law enforcement perspective.

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More than 50% of Michigan voters say in recent polls that they support marijuana legalization.

Two groups hope to put legalization proposals on the November 2016 ballot.

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When it comes to the issue of marijuana – to legalize or not to legalize – Michigan seems to be about where Colorado was not too long ago.

Colorado had over a decade to experiment with medical marijuana before legalizing its recreational use in November 2012, which Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus tells us gave the state ample opportunity to figure out how marijuana can fit into the political and business landscape.

“Medical marijuana was huge. The state then decided, hey, we need to regulate this thing,” he says.

user A7nubis /

Getting high in Michigan has certainly changed over the past few years.

Voters legalized marijuana for medical purposes in Michigan in 2008. Soon, it could be legal just for fun.

A number of groups seeking to legalize cannabis in Michigan are working to put ballot proposals on the 2016 ballot.

Michigan drivers have become all too familiar with the dreaded pothole.
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This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss another road funding plan, proposed changes for medical marijuana cardholders, and body cameras.

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A state board has approved adding autism to the list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Review Panel voted 4-2 on Friday to make the recommendation.

The final decision will be made by Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Mike Zimmer.

Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Attorneys specializing in marijuana law now have their own division within the State Bar of Michigan.

The state Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals have had to rule on several cannabis issues since voters approved medical marijuana in 2008.

The chair of the new division says it will make it easier to attorneys to keep track of Michigan’s complex and ever-evolving medical marijuana law. 

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A state board is considering adding autism to the conditions that can legally be treated with medical marijuana in Michigan.

Lisa Smith is the mother of a 6-year-old boy with autism. She says no other treatments have helped.

“As a last resort, I decided to try cannabis,” Smith told reporters after a hearing on Wednesday.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons

The state is holding a public hearing Wednesday on a request to add autism to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. 

Lisa Smith of Van Buren Township filed the request to add the disorder to the list.

Smith said her autistic son's severe behavior stopped after taking medical marijuana orally to treat a different condition.

Colleen Allen, president of the Autism Alliance of Michigan, said alternative treatments for the disorder require more study.

Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Bills to expand access to medical marijuana in Michigan may be benefiting from efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

 At least three Michigan groups are already pursuing petition drives to legalize marijuana in 2016. 

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The state Senate has passed a bill that would allow landlords to ban tenants from smoking or growing medical marijuana in their rental units. Senate Bill 72 passed on a 34-3 vote with bipartisan support.

The legislation required a three-quarters majority vote because it would change Michigan’s voter-approved Medical Marijuana Act.


On Election Day in 2008, Michigan voters said yes to medical marijuana. The vote came despite federal laws banning the sale and consumption of pot.

Since then, local ordinances and court rulings have created a patchwork of rules on the medical marijuana front. Following a 2013 Michigan Supreme Court ruling, patients remain protected as consumers even though sellers no longer have a clear-cut legal protection to sell.

And since 2011, there’s been a drop in the number of patients receiving medical marijuana ID cards.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Confusion surrounding the legality of marijuana dispensaries and non-smokable forms of the drug are prompting lawmakers to propose changes to Michigan's 5-year-old law that legalized marijuana for medical use.

Bipartisan legislation would allow for "provisioning centers" where patients with a state-issued medical marijuana card could obtain marijuana.

State Capitol
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like a decision about whether to ease restrictions on medical marijuana will come down to the final days of the state Legislature’s 2014 session.

The state Senate has been debating for almost a year whether to allow dispensaries and edible forms of medical marijuana in Michigan.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he wants to pass House Bills 4271 and 5104 in December. But he says some groups are still concerned the legislation could lead to more illegal pot sales.


A scene in Portland.
user Ian Sane / Flickr

On November 4, voters in five Michigan cities voted to decriminalize marijuana possession.

  • Berkley
  • Huntington Woods
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Port Huron
  • Saginaw

These are the most recent cities to do so. But decriminalizing a federally illegal substance is complex. These laws leave a lot up to the interpretation of local law enforcement officials. 

Decriminalizing marijuana began back in 1972 in Ann Arbor, and has really picked up steam over the last few years. Here's an overview of the cities that have decriminalized marijuana in Michigan, when they did so, and what it means for residents and law enforcement.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan appeals court says workers can qualify for unemployment pay if they're fired for using medical marijuana.

  In a 3-0 decision Friday, the court ruled in favor of a hi-lo operator, a hospital employee and a furniture repairman. The court says there was no evidence that they used marijuana at work or that they had worked while under the influence of pot.

  Rick Braska, Jenine Kemp and Stephen Kudzia were fired after drug tests. All had medical marijuana cards. The use of marijuana to alleviate certain ailments was approved by voters.

miss.libertine / Creative Commons

Pot, meet your new friends: Michigan Republicans. 

All the signs indicate that the conservative legislature will legalize medical marijuana dispensaries and edibles this year. 

The House overwhelmingly passed the dispensary bill, which was a bit of a shock to the bill's sponsor, Mike Callton.

He's a Republican from Nashville, Michigan,and a chiropractor who's passionate about the benefits of pot for some patients with cancer and chronic pain.

But the first time he brought the idea up, he could barely get two co-sponsors on board.

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The state attorney general is not saying why he opposes bills that would ease restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan. Some top lawmakers are now urging Bill Schuette to detail his concerns.