Letters

Letters 07-06-2015

Safety on the “Bridge to Nowhere” Grant Parsons wrote an articulate column in opposition to the proposed Traverse City pier at the mouth of the Boardman River. He cites issues such as limited access, lack of parking, increased congestion, environmental degradation, and pork barrel spending of tax dollars. I would add another to this list: public safety...

Vote Carefully A recent poll showed 84% of Michiganders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard to at least 20% from the current 10%. Yet Representative Ray Franz has sponsored legislation to eliminate the standard. This out of touch position is reminiscent of Franz’s opposition to the Pure Michigan campaign and support for increased taxes on retirees....

Credit Where Credit Is Due I think you should do another article about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund giving proper credit to all involved, not just Tom Washington. Many others were just as involved...

I’ve Changed My Mind The Supreme Court has determined that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. This has happened with breathtaking suddenness. It took 246 years for Americans to decide that slavery was wrong and abolish it, but it’s been only a couple of decades since any successful attempt was made to legalize same-sex marriage, and four years since a majority of the American public supported legalization...


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Attorney General Bill Schuette?s attack on the law violates voters

Rev. Stephen B. Thompson - September 5th, 2011
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s efforts to bring the Michigan
Medical Marijuana Act into line with what he believes the voters wanted is
a waste of taxpayer time and money.
As a reminder, in 2008 Schuette led the opposition to the ballot
initiative and confidently predicted that the proposal would fail.
Ultimately it passed in every Michigan county and legislative district and
was approved by 63% of all voters statewide. It is hard to understand how
someone who got it so wrong the first time can be so confident that he
knows the mind of the voters this time.
It can’t be because Attorney General Schuette is listening to the people
who this law most affects. At his recent press conference announcing plans
to revamp a law the people already approved, Schuette was joined on stage
by police, prosecutors and anti-drug zealots. Conspicuously absent were
any patients or caregivers.
At the same event, Schuette decried the fact entrepreneurs are starting
businesses and making a profit in various medical marijuana related
businesses. Ya, like Michigan already has too many jobs, too many thriving
businesses and we need to discourage that kind of stuff. Is this guy nuts?
In the seven months he has been in office, Attorney General Bill Schuette
has:
• Challenged federal laws guaranteeing all Michigan citizen access to
affordable health care, citing the 9th & 10th Amendments to the U.S
Constitution and State’s Sovereignty...but...
• Violated Michigan law by surrendering confidential patient and caregiver
records to Federal authorities, citing Federal supremacy over the
states... and then...
• Appealed a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling striking down Michigan’s
voter-approved ban on Affirmative Action as unconstitutional, claiming to
be defending state law and the will of the voters.
So far, he has used his office to push for the most narrow, restrictive
and contrived interpretations possible of the voter approved Michigan
Medical Marihuana Act, frequently and publicly disparaged the state law,
while making claims that the voters didn’t understand what they were
really voting for.
The attorney general, himself an admitted former marijuana smoker, has
administered his state office in a schizophrenic-like manner which if
nothing else, suggests that he is allowing his personal biases to color
his professional judgment.
Don’t be hoodwinked by the attorney general’s humbug. The Medical
Marijuana Act is working exactly like it was supposed to.
Tens of thousands of law-abiding and seriously ill Michigan citizens have
been shielded from arrest and prosecution based only on their choice of
health care treatment—and isn’t that what living in freedom means?
Yes, medical marijuana distribution centers, sometimes called
dispensaries, have quietly opened in some Michigan communities. And I’m
willing to bet that aside from law enforcement personnel and medical
marijuana patients and caregivers, in most communities most people have no
idea that center is even present, the impact has been that low.
Many cities and municipalities have struggled with how to treat medical
marijuana. This has led to a hodgepodge of regulations and now litigation.
That much is true, but it’s not due to any flaw in the Act itself. It’s
due to a lack of direction and leadership from Lansing.
Some might argue that the attorney general’s package of bills does exactly
that. Those would mostly be people who either have a vested interest in
the marijuana prohibition status quo or are not familiar with the nuts and
bolts of the bills.
The attorney general’s solution to problems that do not exist include for
instance:
• erecting serious obstacles to patients seeking second opinions on
medical marijuana;
• allowing cities to follow the lead of Livonia and Wyoming and banish
medical marijuana patients entirely from the city;
• and turning over to local law enforcement a list of every medical
marijuana patient in the entire state.
Apparently the state attorney general trusts adults to keep beer in the
refrigerator, heavy duty narcotics in the medicine cabinet and a shotgun
behind the back door, but doesn’t believe they can be trusted with medical
marijuana.
If the state attorney general is sincere about defending the law and
upholding the will of the voters, he ought to start by enforcing the
Medical Marijuana Act as written, not lobbying to gut it.
Right now it takes the State up to 4 months to issue a medical marijuana
card. The law says the State is supposed to do it in 20 days. The law also
called for a panel to be appointed to meet regularly and consider adding
new conditions to the ‘approved for’ medical marijuana therapy list. Two
and a half years later, that panel still has not been appointed and no
hearings have been held. So much for defending the law and respecting the
voter’s will.
The voters have spoken. Now if only Michigan Attorney General Schuette
would listen.

Rev. Steven B. Thompson is executive director of Michigan NORML and a
long-time marijuana activist from Benzie County.
 
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