medical marijuana

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Can workers who are fired in Michigan for using medical marijuana get unemployment benefits?

The state appeals court has agreed to tackle the issue in the months ahead. One case involves a hospital employee in Charlotte, Michigan, while another involves a forklift driver in Grand Rapids.

Jenine Kemp and Rick Braska were fired after their employers learned they used medical marijuana. Drug use violated company policy.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Each Thursday we talk Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

The Michigan legislature is on recess until the first week of December. This feels like a much more subdued legislative session compared to last year. Today we ask, what has the legislature checked off it's list, what bills are likely to come up in December?

Listen to the full interview above.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

One of the more intriguing results of the recent elections here in Michigan centered on marijuana.

Voters in Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing voted to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, and by large margins: Each passed with more than 60% of the vote. Voters in Grand Rapids, Ypsilanti, Flint and Detroit have passed similar proposals in recent years.

On the state level, Michigan voters approved legalizing medical marijuana in 2008. And a recent EPIC-MRA poll found nearly 80% of Michigan voters support ending criminal penalties for pot-related charges.

What’s behind this greater tolerance towards marijuana? And what could come from relaxing pot restrictions?

We talked with Melvyn Levitsky, a professor of International Policy and Practice at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. The former U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria and Brazil, Levitsky also served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters.

Listen to the full interview above. 

sayanythingblog.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Five years after Michigan voters legalized marijuana use for medical purposes, lawmakers say it's time patients can buy the drug at their corner pharmacy.

Legislation approved last week by a Senate committee would pave the way for the production and sale of "pharmaceutical-grade" cannabis. The measure would create a second medical pot system in Michigan that proponents say wouldn't interfere with the existing law under which patients can grow their own pot or obtain it from caregivers.

The change couldn't occur without federal approval.

Jake Neher/ MPRN

Two medical marijuana patients have won a legal battle to have their infant daughter returned to them.

Today, an Ingham County judge OK'd a deal that will allow an infant girl, known as Baby Bree, to be returned to her parents.

John Ter Beek is a medical marijuana patient in Wyoming, MI
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear a challenge today to a local ordinance that bans medical marijuana despite an amendment to the state constitution that allows it.

The city of Wyoming, outside Grand Rapids, enacted the ordinance three years ago. It outlaws any activity that’s already prohibited by federal law. It was directed at the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana amendment, which conflicts with federal drug laws.

The city says it acted within its authority because federal laws trump state laws.

Jake Neher/MPRN

Medical marijuana activists rallied in Lansing Tuesday to protest the removal of six-month-old Bree Green from her family last week. The activists say the state Department of Human Services (DHS) has targeted a number of medical marijuana users by taking away their kids.

Bree’s mother, Maria Green, is a state licensed medical marijuana caregiver. Her father is a patient and outspoken advocate.

Steve Green says he was elated that dozens of people showed up in support.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A medical marijuana cardholder has appealed a drug possession conviction to the Michigan Supreme Court. The appeal seeks clarification on how the law views putting marijuana or its active ingredient into baked goods.

   Earl Caruthers hopes the state’s highest court will reverse the Michigan Court of Appeals in his case.  He was stopped with some THC-laced brownies in the back of his car. He also had some pot in plastic bags, and was driving on a suspended license. But he’s only challenging a conviction related to the brownies.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

PTSD and insomnia patients urge medial marijuana panel to allow use

"A state advisory board heard overwhelming testimony in favor of approving medical marijuana for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia. The board is considering ailments not already included under Michigan’s voter-approved medical marijuana law," Jake Neher reports.

MSU pulls professor from classroom for anti-Republican rant

"A Michigan State University professor has been pulled from the classroom, after a conservative group posted a video online that showed him delivering an anti-Republican rant during a class," Steve Carmody reports.

Auction house comes to the DIA again

Detroit newspapers are reporting that Christie's Auction House visited the Detroit Institute of Art for the second time yesterday to appraise the museum's collection. Detroit's financial situation has raised concerns about whether the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection might be at risk of sale. However Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has said he has "no plans to use art to relieve  the liquidity crisis that the city is in now."

Jake Neher/MPRN

Melody Karr says doctors have told her cannabis might not be helpful for the posttraumatic stress she’s suffered since her husband’s grisly suicide. She says they’re wrong in assuming side-effects such as forgetfulness could interfere with talk-therapy.

“The problem is not that I can’t think or talk about my post-traumatic stress and the issues related to it. The problem is that I can’t stop thinking or talking about it.”

user eljoja / Flickr

A state review board has voted to keep autism and asthma off the list of health conditions that can be legally treated using medical marijuana.

But activists say the panel is acting in violation of the state’s medical marijuana law. They say the votes were taken without proper public comment and that the board lacks adequate representation from the medical community.

Panel chair Matthew Davis says public comment was not necessary because the ailments had already been considered by a previous board.

“The public hearings therefore occurred as part of our process, specified under law,” Davis said. And then today, our review panel took another look at these diagnoses and the remarks of the public regarding autism and asthma.”

That previous board was dissolved by the state because its make-up also violated the medical marijuana law. The state says it’s working to fix the problem.

user r0bz / Flickr

A state panel will meet this week to consider whether new health conditions should be covered under Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act, but there’s a question over whether the board’s make-up violates that law.

The state dissolved a similar panel earlier this year. That board had already voted to allow patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease to use medical pot, but those conditions were never officially added to the list of acceptable ailments.

Now some advocates question whether the new board risks the same fate because it doesn’t include proper representation from the medical community.

Attorney and medical marijuana advocate Michael Komorn says it could be a setback for patients.

“It just seems to be more bureaucratic nonsense that has impeded the proper implementation of this law. And it’s uncalled for.”

Komorn says it’s critical to put a board in place that complies with the voter-approved law.

“I don’t know why the government can’t get it together to allow these other conditions - that people can receive benefits from - from moving forward,” said Komorn.

State officials say they’re working to fix the make-up of the panel.

Organizers of a campaign hope you notice more $2 bills in circulation.
U.S. Government / Wikipedia

  Last Wednesday, medical marijuana groups started a campaign that they hope will shed light on the economic impact of the marijuana industry.

They want supporters of medical marijuana and cannabis legalization to spend at least one $2 for every cash purchase.

Organizers hope that placing more $2 bills in circulation will show the economic impact of medical marijuana.

Neeta Lind / Flickr

A state House panel is likely to take up a bill soon that would revive medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan. Republican lawmakers are starting to take interest in the issue.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court handed down a ruling that effectively stopped most marijuana dispensaries from operating in the state. The court ruled that the dispensaries can be shut down as a public nuisance. Now state lawmakers say they’re close to a deal on legislation that would allow and regulate the facilities.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Medical marijuana dispensaries could be revived in Michigan

A state House panel is soon likely to take up a bill that would revive medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan. Earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled to stop most marijuana dispensaries; but now state lawmakers say they’re close to a deal on legislation that would allow and regulate the facilities.

Republican representative Mike Callton told Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher, “without the dispensaries, patients will have very limited access to medical marijuana.”

Free trade with E.U. could benefit Michigan manufacturing

Michigan businesses will be closely watching free trade talks starting today between the United States and the European Union. The proposed trade deal would open markets between the U.S. and the 28 E.U. countries. Rich Studley is the president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Studley told Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody, "an E.U. free trade deal would primarily benefit Michigan’s manufacturing industry."

Last chance to register for 2013 local elections

Today is the deadline to register to vote for the 56 local elections in Michigan this summer. Elections range from local primaries to school boards to city council votes. The Michigan Secretary of State is urging Michiganders to get out to vote in their local elections. Residents can go to their county or local clerk's office or a Secretary of State office to register.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow suspicion-based drug testing as a condition of welfare in Michigan. People on cash assistance could lose their benefits if they test positive for an illegal substance.

As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reported, it’s not clear how the bill would affect medical marijuana patients. 

To listen to the full story, click the audio above.

A group of Democratic Senators in Lansing have proposed a package of bills dealing with marriage equality. We spoke with state Senator Rebekah Warren about why she thinks now is the time to bring up these measures.

And, the library you may have grown up with is changing. We took a look at the new technologies changing the way we access information and what that means for the future of libraries in Michigan.

Also, Michigan gas prices are now the second-highest in the country. Patrick DeHaan, a Senior Petroleum Analyst, spoke with us about how this happened.

First on the show, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow suspicion-based drug testing as a condition of welfare in Michigan. People on cash assistance could lose their benefits if they test positive for an illegal substance.

As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reported, it’s not clear how the bill would affect medical marijuana patients.

user elioja / Flickr

On Tuesday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana patients are not automatically breaking the law if caught driving after using marijuana.

Passed in 2008 by Michigan voters, the state’s Medical Marihuana Act does prohibit patients from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of pot.

But the law fails to explicitly say just how much THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, needs to be in the bloodstream for a user to be considered “under the influence.”

Which is why the justices offered this piece of advice to lawmakers: Set a legal limit for pot consumption, just like the blood alcohol content metric for alcohol intoxication.

user PabloEvans / Flickr

This week, police in Grand Rapids began a pilot program to treat marijuana possession as a civil infraction. This comes six months after voters approved an amendment to decriminalize pot.

In Michigan, if you've got an aching back or live in Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor, there’s less reason to feel like marijuana will get you into trouble.

For better or worse, pot is gaining acceptance. Our state is one of 20 in the U.S. where marijuana is either OK for medical use or decriminalized. In Washington state and Colorado, recreational use is legal. Increasingly, there are American communities like Grand Rapids where voters don’t want to spend time and money prosecuting offenders caught with a bag of weed.

courtesy of Leni Sinclair

It starts this week in Grand Rapids.

As of May 1st, 2013, if you celebrate 4:20, you’re less likely to get jail time.

Instead, you’re subject to a $25 fine for your first offense ($50 for your second, and $100 for three or more).

WKZO reports Grand Rapids police have issued tickets already:

The first tickets were issued Wednesday when the voter-approved ordinance took effect.  The first one went to a 28-year-old man from the northwest side of Grand Rapids, who was cited around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

The marijuana law in Grand Rapids mirrors the one in Ann Arbor.

The only difference is “selling marijuana” is not listed as a potential civil infraction in Grand Rapids as it is in Ann Arbor (organizers felt Grand Rapids voters wouldn’t be THAT lax).

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