Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Reforming Medical Marijuana
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Reforming Medical Marijuana

State rep offers a breath of fresh air

Rick Coates - August 20th, 2012  

Republican State Representative Mike Callton (87th District, Barry County) was originally opposed to Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act. His district is part of Michigan’s “conservative corridor” and having a medical background (he is a chiropractor and has a private practice in Nashville, Mich.) he wasn’t so sure that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes was a good thing.

He has since changed his mind and now is championing legislation to improve the Medical Marijuana Act that Michigan voters approved in November 2008.

“The changing point for me came when I saw how it transformed some patients, including one with terminal cancer,” said Callton. “I also saw how a 75-year-old woman with Parkinson’s and terrible tremors was able to get a good night’s sleep after this law went into place and her physician recommended medical marijuana.”


Callton has been touring the state in hopes of gaining support for legislation he is proposing that will eliminate some of the challenges for caregivers and patients. He will visit Traverse City on Thursday, Aug. 23 for the grand opening reception of 223 State St. Boutique & Compassion Center from 5 to 8 pm. The reception will include appetizers and beverages and music from guitarist Steve Marchena (see article) and a Q&A session with Callton. The event is free and open to the public.

“There are several issues that make it challenging for patients and caregivers with the way the Act was written. One thing that is not challenging is the residents and voters of this state passed this and have spoken loudly that they want medical marijuana. In fact this passed by a majority in every county in Michigan,” said Callton. “So as elected officials we should not be scared of this issue. For example, in Grand Traverse County the measure passed with 67 percent of voters in favor of it. So we should embrace it and fix the law so that access to this medicine is there for everyone who needs it.”


Callton’s legislation is House Bill 5580it would regulate how medical marijuana “dispensaries” -- or as Callton likes to refer to them, “provisioning centers” -- would operate in Michigan.

“We need to have these places pass the ‘grandma test’ as I like to call it,” said Callton. “Just as your grandmother feels safe going to a pharmacy, these places should have that same sort of feel.

“There is also confusion as to whether these places are legal; some communities are allowing them to operate and others are not. The bottom line - they need to be legal and allowed to operate so everyone has legal access to their medicine. You can’t expect a 75 or 90-year-old person who is given what is essentially a prescription for medical marijuana to know where the hell to get it. They need these provisioning centers.”

Callton has been traveling the state meeting “collective” owners, caregivers, patients and others to learn more about how to best establish legislation in everyone’s best interests.


One of those visits has included the new 223 State St. Boutique & Compassion Center. Mike Hedden owns the facility and believes he is operating legally in downtown TC.

“After the attorney general of Michigan ruling, there was a lot of confusion and some places were raided by law enforcement and closed down and others were able to remain open,” said Hedden. “I went to law enforcement locally and the governmental officials in Traverse City to find out what was acceptable, and after an extensive background check, I was given permission to open.”

Hedden is supporting the legislation Callton is proposing.

“This will make it black and white for all of us,” said Hedden. “Right now it is legal in 17 states and Washington D.C. and more states are looking to pass it this November. When you look at Northern Michigan with over 60 percent in the region voting for this, we need to move in a direction to make medical marijuana accessible in a legal way for all patients. The voters have spoken: we want marijuana for medical purposes. Now we have to eliminate the road blocks.”


Hedden wants his center to be more than just a place for people to pick up their medicine, so he also opened an art gallery.

“I have a dozen or so local artists right now and we are looking for more. We are also looking for some local jewelry makers. I thought, why have a big space for people to come in just to pick up their medicine? So the gallery concept is great because it is in a separate area and allows people who are not medical marijuana patients an opportunity to check out local art.”

Rep. Callton has visited Hedden and his staff a few times and looks at their operation as model for the rest of the state. He feels it passes the grandma test.

Callton also wants to address the doctorpatient relationship, as some legislators and law enforcement agencies in the state say it doesn’t really exist. Since the law passed, almost 250,000 people have received a doctor’s referral for medical marijuana.

At first, Callton agreed that the doctorpatient relationship seemed dubious. “Then I thought, what sort of patient-doctor relationship exists when someone goes into an emergency room and a doctor who has never seen them before operates or treats them?

“What about all these walk-in clinics where a person sees the doctor on duty who writes a prescription to treat their first time patient?” he adds. “We are not calling into question this sort of relationship, so how in the hell do we call into question a patient who goes to a licensed doctor who ‘prescribes’ medical marijuana? I don’t think we can or should do that.”


There are other things Callton wants to address. Including eliminating the state registry for all medical marijuana patients. The registry has made some patients afraid to get their medicine because they will be on a list.

“By requiring people to ‘register’ with the State of Michigan for medicine that their doctor has prescribed is crazy. We don’t require you to register when you get OxyContin or other Schedule II drugs, so why are we requiring this for medical marijuana?” said Callton. “I know that marijuana is listed as a Schedule I but there is talk in Washington DC to move medical marijuana to a a Schedule II drug.”

Callton would also like to see benchmarks established for medical marijuana patients who drive. And he supports the legal sale of medical marijuana so the state can collect taxes (currently there is a donation system in place for transactions). Callton also would like to see hemp farming legal in Michigan.

Another concern is driving a vehicle for medical marijuana patients, since traces of the drug can stay in a person’s system, for up to 30 days.

“We need a benchmark like we have with drunk driving. I am not sure what that is yet, but we can’t throw someone in jail who hasn’t medicated in a week because they tested positive.

“We also need to look at the economics of all of this. I have spoken to some collective owners who want the state to tax them and make the cash transaction legal. Some have told me that this is a half billion dollar industry and they think that is a conservative figure.

“Then there is hemp farming. It is illegal here, but hemp products are legal to purchase, so we have Canada and other places importing hemp products. Our farmers could be reaping the financial benefits of that as well.”

As for the overall legalization of marijuana, Callton is not quite sold on that.

“I am not of the belief that we should just legalize it completely. It would take a lot to convince me of that.”

But then again, four years ago when he went to the polls, he voted against medical marijuana.

State Rep. Mike Callton will visit Traverse City on Thursday Aug. 23 for the grand opening reception of 223 State St. Boutique & Compassion Center from 5 to 8 pm. The reception will include appetizers and beverages and music from guitarist Steve Marchena, along with local artists exhibiting their work. Callton will host a special Q&A session at 5:30 pm and will detail his proposed legislation. The event is free and open to the public. For details, contact Mike Hedden at 231-421-9505.

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