Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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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
• 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
• 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
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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