Posted on | August 2, 2012 | No Comments
LANSING – Michigan cities and townships cannot bar the cultivation and use of medical marijuana, a state appellate court has decided in a case involving an ordinance adopted by the city of Wyoming and challenged by a patient there.
In an opinion released this morning, a unanimous three-judge panel of the court said the local ordinance was clearly pre-empted by the medical marijuana state law, and that local governments could not use the federal prohibition on marijuana as an excuse to ban it.
The appeals ruling is a significant victory for advocates of medical marijuana, who claim that cities and townships have been attempting to thwart the law, approved by state voters in 2008. Similar legal challenges have been brought against other communities, including Livonia, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills, which enacted similar ordinances.
“The entire medical marijuana community is elated by this decision,” said Tim Beck, one of the leaders in the successful ballot proposal, “It confirms our belief that states have a right to regulate their own affairs.”
The appeals court said Michigan and federal law did not conflict because the voter-approved statute expressly acknowledged the federal marijuana prohibition while providing an exemption for its cultivation and use under state law.
“Congress can criminalize all uses of medical marijuana, (but) it cannot require the state to do the same,” the courts said.
Read The Michigan Appellate Court Decision Here: http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C419280981.PDF
Posted on | July 7, 2012 | No Comments
Under Oregon state law, some food stamprecipients are permitted to deduct their medical marijuana costs from their income in calculating their eligibility for the federal program.
The provision allows seniors and those who qualify for Social Security DisabilityInsurance to deduct medical costs such as prescription drugs when submitting income information to determine if they qualify for food stamps. Medical marijuana, still illegal at the federal level, has been grouped in this larger category since the state legalized it back in 1998.
“Medical marijuana gets treated just like any other prescription drug,” Gene Evans, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Human Services, told the Oregonian.
Included in these available deductions are fees for obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana card, expenses incurred while cultivating marijuana and the costs of purchasing it from a third-party grower.
In Oregon, some benefits also appear to go both ways. According to an Oregon Department of Public Health pamphlet on medical marijuana, applicants for growsites can receive a reduced fee if they provide documentation that they are currently enrolled in the food stamp program. Reduced rates for medical marijuana registry cards are available for food stamp recipients in other states as well.
According to the Oregonian, Maine and New Mexico both have similar language regarding the deduction of medical marijuana expenses, but an inquiry by the newspaper found the federal government unreceptive to the state practice.
“No state may deduct the cost of any substance considered illegal under federal law, including medical marijuana,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrote in response to the Oregonian. “Although there may be state or local laws that permit the cultivation, prescription, and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes, such activity is not permitted under federal law.”
Evans said most food stamp recipients are unaware of the rules regarding medical marijuana deductions, and though there is some overlap between the two pools, the practice is used only infrequently.
According to the Oregonian, however, their report made enough of a stir to prompt state officials to plan discussions with federal food stamp administrators concerning the law.
Posted on | July 7, 2012 | No Comments
The Michigan Court of Appeals has further clarified the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) as a defense to possession of the drug.
It ordered an Ottawa County District Court to dismiss charges against a defendant arrested last May near the Grandville water plant. James Nicholson had an ounce of marijuana but had his application in his car at his residence.
The court said police can arrest a person who does not have the MMMA card or approved application with them. But that charge must be dismissed when the card-holder provides proof of qualification at the time the arrest was made “unless evidence exists to show that his possession of marijuana at the time was not in accordance with medical use as defined in the MMMA.”
The District Court had implied that a qualified person had to have “immediate possession” of the card. Attorneys for Nicholson had argued the arrest itself was illegal.
Posted on | July 6, 2012 | No Comments
WASHINGTON-Michigan’s guitar-playing Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter announced his resignation Friday, invoking Bob Dylan in a statement as he gave up his congressional seat after a tumultuous year.
“I must ‘strike another match, go start anew,'” McCotter said in a statement.
McCotter, 46, launched a long-shot bid for the White House but then failed to qualify to run for re-election to the House seat he has represented in the Southeast Detroit area for the past decade.
McCotter attempted a write-in campaign to get on the ballot, but he abandoned that in the spring – days after the Michigan attorney general started an investigation into possible fraudulent nominating petitions filed on his behalf. McCotter had requested the investigation and said Friday he would continue to help with it.
The “recent event’s totality of calumnies, indignities and deceits have weighed most heavily upon my family,” McCotter said.
Among the more accomplished guitar players in Congress, McCotter acknowledged that he had no job on the horizon as he announced a decision that took many in Washington by surprise.
“I do not leave for an existing job and face diminishing prospects (and am both unwilling and ill-suited to lobby),” McCotter wrote. “My priorities are twofold: find gainful employment to help provide for my family; and continue to assist, in any way they see fit, the Michigan attorney general’s earnest and thorough investigation, which I requested, into the 2012 petition filing.”
McCotter tweeted earlier that his remaining political funds would be donated to a children’s research hospital.
The seat had been expected to remain in the GOP column this fall until the events of the past several months unfolded, presenting Democrats with a possible opportunity to pick up the long-held Republican seat.
McCotter’s office will remain open under the House clerk, as is usually the case when there is a sudden vacancy.
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/06/4614546/thaddeus-mccotter-guitar-playing.html#storylink=cpy
Posted on | June 28, 2012 | No Comments
« go back
Lansing, MI: The Supreme Court for the state of Michigan has ruled that city election officials cannot prevent Detroit voters from deciding on a municipal ballot measure that seeks to remove marijuana possession penalties for those age 21 or older.
The Court refused to review an appeal brought by the Detroit City Clerk’s office and the Detroit Election Commission that sought to strike down the proposed ballot question, sponsored by the group Coalition for a Safer Detroit.
In 2010, the Coalition collected over 6,000 signatures from registered voters to place the measure on that year’s electoral ballot. The vote failed to take place, however, because election officials at the time alleged that the proposal conflicted with state anti-drug laws.
This past February, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that Detroit election officials acted illegally in 2010 when they denied voters the opportunity to decide on the issue. “[Plaintiff[s] had a clear legal right to the placement of the initiative on the ballot,” the court ruled.
The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the Appellate court’s decision. Detroit voters will now decide on the measure this November.
Commenting on the ruling, Tim Beck – head of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit and the former Executive Director of Michigan NORML – said: “This case in Detroit was not just about marijuana. Had we lost in court, the local initiative process itself would have been rendered meaningless statewide, no matter what the issue might be.”
He added, “We expect a major victory for Detroit cannabis consumers this November.”
For more information, please visit: http://saferdetroit.net/.
— keep looking »