Laura and Matthew Barber, who are at the center of a medical marijuana case in Traverse City, are planning an informational meeting/fundraiser at their home this Sunday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m. to share their story with the public.
Matthew is a multiple sclerosis patient and Gulf War veteran who says he was told by a neurologist that smoking marijuana could be helpful in controlling the spasms and pain of his disease. He and his wife Laura feel that the continued use of marijuana is a matter of life and death in his case, and have vowed to keep smoking the herb.
The event will include a number of prominent speakers, including local attorney and civil rights advocate Dean Robb; Tim Beck of the Detroit Coalition for Compassionate Care, which has placed a medical marijuana iinitiative on Detroits ballot; members of the national NORML organization; and Melody Karr of the Cannabis Action Network, among others.
Laura Barber says the couple is getting by on a minimal budget drawn from her small landscaping company and Matthews Army pension. Meeting legal and medical bills has been an overwhelming concern. Im working two jobs trying to keep us afloat, she says. Matthew and I have been through awful times these past two years. Were not rich people by any means, were just average Americans trying to get by on an Army pension.
The public is invited to attend the meeting at their home at 2802 Holiday Pines Road off 5 Mile in Traverse City.
Providing tax incentives to redevelop rundown neighborhoods is the goal of new Neighborhood Enterprise Zones (NEZs) legislation passed the Michigan Senate. The bill, Senate Bill 1206, is part of the C.O.R.E. package
(Creating Opportunities for Renewed Economies) which is spear-headed by State Sen. Jason Allen.
Neighborhood Enterprise Zones are a tool available to cities for the redevelopment of rundown housing areas. It freezes the assessed value of the property for a period of time, so renovations can be made without an immediate impact on the property taxes.
The bill will allow for cities without housing inspection ordinances to establish a NEZ, although inspections of the housing in the NEZ would still be required. It also allows for flexibility in the time frame they are designated. Under current law a NEZ must be designated for 12 years, but the bill would change that to allow for a period between 6 and 12 years.
The bill now moves to the House where it awaits a committee hearing along with five other bills in the CORE package.