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Posted on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor legislator working on effort to decriminalize marijuana in Michigan

By Ryan J. Stanton

Marijuana advocates plan to turn to the state Legislature for legal clarification following a Michigan Supreme Court ruling on Friday that could hurt medical pot dispensaries.

Chuck Ream, president of the Arborside medical marijuana dispensary in Ann Arbor, said he's hoping to build support for legislation allowing governments to regulate dispensaries locally.

medical_marijuana_file_photo.jpg

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, announced on Friday he's working with lawyers at the state's legislative services bureau to draft a bill that would decriminalize marijuana in Michigan

Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, said he doesn't think that goes far enough, though. He announced on Friday he's working with lawyers at the state's legislative services bureau to draft a bill that would decriminalize marijuana in Michigan — and not just for medical uses.

"If we're concerned about the negative impacts of marijuana use, all of that can be improved by improving our marijuana laws and regulating the product in a sensible way," he said. "It would improve public safety to drive the trade of marijuana into the light."

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled marijuana dispensaries that handle patient-to-patient sales are not protected under state law. But justices also said the appeals court erred when it determined state law prohibits direct sales of medical marijuana between patients and caregivers.

MLive.com is reporting the ruling gives county prosecutors across the state additional ammunition to shut down dispensaries that sell marijuana on the grounds that they are a public nuisance.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told the Associated Press that he's notifying county prosecutors that they have the green light to shut down medical-marijuana shops.

Calling the ruling "a recipe for empowering violent criminals," Irwin said he fears it could increase the amount of marijuana purchases made on the black market and through criminal gangs.

Irwin believes a law decriminalizing marijuana could help keep drugs out of the hands of children, make streets safer, and save the state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Our courts spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with these cases," Irwin said. "Most of the money is spent on police and courts, and some of it is spent on incarceration."

Irwin said there are a number of communities to look to for guidance, but he's partial to the Ann Arbor model.

The Ann Arbor City Council in the 1970s reduced the city penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana to a $5 civil infraction, essentially decriminalizing weed in Ann Arbor. That remains the case today, except it's now a $25 ticket for first offenses.

"It's working here just fine," Irwin said.

According to a new report, there are nearly 4,500 state-registered medical marijuana patients in Washtenaw County — about 2.5 patients for every state-registered caregiver locally.

Irwin said he's still digesting the Supreme Court's ruling, but he doesn't think it will mean the end of medical marijuana dispensaries.

"It bans patient-to-patient transfers," he said. "The ruling does not say dispensaries are illegal, nor does it say there's no model by which a dispensary could be created to provide services to patients."

Irwin said dispensary owners are, by and large, creative and intelligent people, and he thinks they will find a legal means to continue operating and provide services to their patients.

City Attorney Stephen Postema, who has closely followed the debate around the state's medical marijuana laws, could not be reached for comment.

Ream said he still hadn't read the ruling early Friday afternoon, but he assumed his dispensary at 1818 Packard would remain open.

He said he'll be fighting for legislation that would let cities decide for themselves to allow dispensaries. State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, introduced such legislation last May in the form of House Bill 5580, but it never moved out of committee.

"We hope the Legislature will move rapidly to allow dispensaries so the people who are depending on them won't be really hurt by this court decision," Ream said.

Ream noted 63 percent of Michigan voters in 2008 approved the state law that legalized medical marijuana.

"It's time for the courts and the Legislature to reflect the will of the voters. They're still standing in the way," he said. "America is not a land of personal freedom anymore if you can't have an herb that the citizens of Michigan have determined democratically should be available."

Chief Justice Robert Young was supported by Justices Stephen Markman, Mary Beth Kelly and Brian Zahra in the 4-1 ruling. Michael Cavanagh dissented and Bridget McCormack, who won election in November, did not take part in the case, which was argued in October.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at ryanstanton@annarbor.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.

Comments

dklou

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

I've read the article, i've read the comments and my conclusions is " It is a plant really this much for a plant" Im am shocked on how the intellect is passed around here from ignorance to arrogance your opions are invalid per say... please understand what im saying its only a plant alot has been torn from just a plant.. lets benifit from it and move on..

mady

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

@ kt rix, thank you for bringing this up. Actually, my daughter has a nice little grow operation in her home as well as a provider, and the necessary documentation so she can grow her "ladies" w/o being hassled. on a side note: Shame on you Bill Schuette!!!!

Milton Shift

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

As far as policy goes, we have two choices: let pot smokers live normal lives, or harass them, shoot their dogs, kick down their doors, and tear them away from their families to be traumatized for years, housed with rapists and killers, and then returned to society with no provisions for recovery and zero job prospects. The idea that we have a choice between pot being everywhere and pot being (somewhat) restricted is a naive one. It is already everywhere. The only choice we have is whether to throw people in jail for their lifestyles. They will continue to live them how they have for the last, oh, 10,000 years.

paul

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

While I am not opposed to medical marijuana at all, I don't think anyone can be really surprised by the ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court. There are many policy arguments on these posts, but no real dispute about the correctness of the legal ruling. The ranting about the court, the prosecutors, etc is all misplaced. In yesterday's Free Press one of the authors of the MMMA even candidly admitted that the MMMA was not intended to cover dispensaries and it was specifically kept out of the statute because they were worried the statute would then get voted down. At least he was honest. It is the dishonesty of the claim that the MMMA covered dispensaries in the first place that bothers many people who even favor the idea of dispensaries. So, now the legislators want to change the law. They should have begun working on this years ago instead of thinking that the courts would help them find coverage for dispensaries in a statute that their own drafters now admit was never intended to be included. I know that annarbor.com had all sorts of photos of people protesting and criticizing the City Attorney in Ann Arbor and other prosecutors around the state for merely pointing out what the law stated. So after all this drama, it turns out that the City Attorney and these other attorneys were right about the law all along. Legislators should learn a lesson from this debacle and be honest about what they are doing. They may get many to support such an honest statute. It is sad that the drafters of the MMMA didn't trust the voters of Michigan enough to have them weigh in on the dispensary issue. That was a mistake. A well crafted statute, including provisions for dispensaries, may well have passed previously, and may still. Those in favor of dispensaries should own up to this mistake and seek help from those who actually correctly interpreted the law all along. It helps to draft a law that withstands court examination.

Hesh Breakstone

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

The war on drugs has been a dismal failure with estimates available with costs beyond what the last two wars cost us... It has also resulted in very nearly 1,000,000 Americans incarcerated in our prisons for non-violent offenses costing the rest of us on average of $32,000.00 a year to house and feed them. Not to mention the "opportunity cost" to our economy of a million folks, often in their prime too, not contributing to the tax base. Pot should have never been made illegal in the first place and if you look into the history as to why it was demonized you will also learn that pot was never the issue back in the day - illegal immigration was. Putting pot on the books as a prohibited substance resulted from the ethnic profiling of the US government in an effort to stem the tide of Mexican males entering the country illegally.... Snyder's AG is on a witch hunt and just like what we typically see from republicans so-called "personal liberty" and "personal responsibility" in reality means nothing to them except in an election year. It's way past the time for pot to be decriminalized nation wide and perhaps regulated to a degree too. Fund the best schools in the nation with the proceeds of the regulation. A recent study that I heard about on CNN indicated that a $50 tax per ounce would at current known consumption levels raise $20,000,000,000.00 annually! That's an astounding amount of money and would go a very long way in bringing America back into the 20th century... And yes I am aware that it's now the 21st century - America's pot policy is currently 19th century...

mady

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 6:37 p.m.

@Michigan "man"....I'm not a man, I'm a mother who loves her children and doesn't like to see them suffer. Sue me!!!

Mike

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

"Our courts spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with these cases," Irwin said. "Most of the money is spent on police and courts, and some of it is spent on incarceration." So if we decriminalize marijuana and we have other crimes that take an inordinate amount of time and resources will we legalize them? If you have ever sat in a court room you would see the number of people who have issues because of marijuana and you want to legalize it?

rutrow

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 11:35 p.m.

Could 75 years of abject stupidity be coming to an end? Well.....probably not. This is still the United States----the least free by eighty miles of all the industrialized nations. Otherwise we wouldn't keep electing the likes of Schuette, would we?

Skyjockey43

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

H.L. Mencken had this to say about Prohibition " Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished." I would say that the wise words are equally true regarding the criminalization of marijuana. Criminalizing an activity doesn't make it go away. It just adds more criminals. Stop the insanity

Caring

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

I am also one who has never used marijuana. I favor legalization to get it out of the hands of criminals and legal for all uses. I think it can be used to relieve pain, but the vast majority of users just want it for recreational use. It's too bad they have to lie about that to get any. I don't think it is harmless to put any kind of smoke in one's lungs, or excessive amounts of alcohol in our bodies, but there are many bad decisions we can all make. Making such decisions is part of growing up. There is one issue I don't see addressed. Allowing grow rooms in residential homes creates several problems. The house becomes a target for robbery, kidnapping, etc. and creates a bad environment for children. Trying to keep the grow room a secret means other people's children come over to play or spend the night without their parents knowing that they are in a drug manufacturing facility that could be a target. I think parents would like to know. I am hoping that Rep. Irwin will include something to take the grow rooms out of residential neighborhoods and put them in commercial districts. The one next door to me brings some pretty sleazy customers at all hours, and I hate to think what drama can erupt.

Caring

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

I'm not sure if this is the right way to reply to kt rix. There was no reply button under the entry. I didn't say that having a garden inside was bad for the children. Having them live in a home that is a target for robbery of pot or cash, and putting them in the position of being pawns in drug trade disagreements (the news has featured several children kidnapped because of drug dealing parents) makes it an unsafe environment for the children. The parents have to keep it secret to avoid becoming more of a target, so visiting children who spend hours or overnight are in that environment without their parents knowing, depriving those parents of their right to choose whether they want their children in that situation. Most businesses are not allowed in residential areas. I don't see why this should be. You seem to be concerned about acceptance of marijuana. That is not my issue. I don't smoke anything and also don't drink alcohol. I don't object to other people consuming either substance, whether for recreation or medical reasons. My issue is the location of the grow room in residential neighborhoods. I've read that in California this issue has affected property values as well.

kt rix

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

While I agree that these homes could be the target of robberies, how does having a garden inside make the house unsafe for children? I know lots of kids that have learned about gardening because their patient/caregiver parents have taken the time to teach them that: It's Just A Plant.

clownfish

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

Too funny reading comments from people that call themselves "conservatives". On this issue they want more government regulation, more taxpayer money going to a failed government program, more government employees to enforce laws and jail citizens, all to prevent people from using a product God supplied ready to use and that has very few side effects. Nobody has EVER died from using pot, EVER. Could there be a better example of flip flopping values?

Mike

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

People have died in auto accidents after getting high. What are you talking about? Maybe we should legalize drunk driving too because we spend an inordinate amount of time in our court systems on that..................

mady

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

To those who oppose legalization: One of my daughters has an ongoing, degenerative back condition(see: degenerative disc disease)that 4, yes 4 surgeries have done little or nothing to correct. She has taken every high-end pain reliever(?)that Big Pharma has to offer, the only long-term effects being: reduced efficacy of these med's, also liver/kidney function being compromised to the point where she has to stop taking all these pills to keep these organs functioning as they should. Today, the Only thing that helps manage this pain(see: hatchet stuck in your lower back!!) is a hot shower and a joint. She is not lazy, she does not live in anyone's basement, she is a very busy single mother to my 2 beautiful grandkids in addition to holding down a part-time job. So much for stereotypes. How dare anyone tell me that my daughter doesn't have the right to manage her pain with the only substance that can still help with this? Furthermore, haven't we learned anything from the past? prohibition doesn't work, and never did. Legalize it now!

kt rix

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

Thinker - I would like to suggest that Mady's daughter might not be able to get her needed pain relief. The state has told her that she has to grow her own, or go without. If she's already a single working mother, how do you propose that she does that? If she's unable to grow her own, the state wants her to designate a caregiver to grow it for her. What if she doesn't know anyone that can do that for her? Then she goes to a dark alley to meet up with a shady drug dealer, that will probably try to push harder drugs on her, or push her into an unsafe situation. And that is what's wrong with this new interpretation.

Alfred E Newman

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

eating pot concentrates work better than joints lasts all day too

Michigan Man

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 2:40 a.m.

Man Up Mady - Laws tell people every day how to behave. Deal with it!

thinker

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

Under our medical marijuana law, she would be able to get her needed pain relief. Nobody is suggesting she would not. The Supreme Court is just trying to plug some holes and return to the intent of the law which is Medical Marihuana.

lefty48197

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

The Tea Bags on Michigan's "Supreme" Court and in the AG's office are trying to negate the will of the voters. Does anybody understand WHY that's a problem?

Angry Moderate

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

Huh? The bill didn't say anything about dispensaries...if the voters wanted them, they should have included it.

Steve

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

Ya know---we tried alcohol prohibition. That went well!!! Now we make many drugs illegal with a second prohibition era. Result: Mexico and Columbia are armed war zones and the USA has the highest prison population in the world! Yup, prohibition is working just fine---again.

thinker

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

You who want to make marijuana legal for everyone, go to Colorado. Go to Canada.

Alfred E Newman

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

far from legal in Canada 6 plants =6 months

lefty48197

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

You can move to Afghanistan. They chop of people's hands who smoke marijuana. You'll be living in a marijuana-free utopia then. Adios!

Jaime Magiera

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

It's incredibly funny to hear the tired old anecdotes about how pot is bringing down society, makes people live in their mom's basement, etc. It's an amazing denial of the reality that *many* people in Ann Arbor and Michigan overall smoke marijuana. These are people who hold all kinds of jobs: health, education, government, arts, etc. They are your friends, neighbors and co-workers. If even a small amount of the claims made against casual marijuana use were true, our society would not be able to function at all... and yet, it does. Every day.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

clownfish, you're right, and I have already done that. The ones I had who were users were too annoying. Any time some friends want to go somewhere, the users had to being pot with them. When we would go skiing in Canada, I would have to look over at them in the car right before the border and ask, "You don't have any pot with you, right?" and sometimes they did so we had to turn around and go dump it somewhere, so I dumped them and got new friends. They would often need to "borrow" money because they lost another job due to failing a test or showing up late to work too many times. so I dumped them and got new friends. Or they make everybody else wait while they get high before we go somewhere, because they can't possibly the outside world sober, so I dumped them and got new friends. I got tired of waiting for them to grow up, so yeah, I already got new friends. You can continue to enjoy the ones I dumped. I'm moving on to adult life.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

"Make up and spread this obvious lies?" See? I told you.

clownfish

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

UNUSAUL, it appears that you need a new set of friends. I know dozens of people that have smoked pot, none of them have gone down the path you tell us about. Maybe it is their leftist moral values that have kept them from falling onto this dangerous path your right wing friends have traveled?

lefty48197

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

Of course, one of the prohibitionists now wants to claim that marijuana is causing mass suicides. Where do they get this kooky crap? Why do they hate marijuana so much that they make up and spread this obvious lies? Do they think anybody other than the feeble minded will fall for their lies?

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

"It's incredibly funny to hear the tired old anecdotes about how pot is bringing down society, makes people live in their mom's basement, etc" It's incredibly painful to see friends get into pot and end up that way and in some cases commit suicide after discovering their lack of a functional life. These "anecdotes" are drawn from real life experiences. They're not stereotypes. Jaime, I can tell from your comments that you're quite young and haven't been around long enough to gain certain wisdom yet, but hopefully you will, eventually. I hope by then you won't also have a long list of friends who have checked out of society destroyed their lives - literally or figuratively - by becoming part of the world of pot and other drugs. Of course, your response to this will be that I made it all up, or that my experiences are the exception, except for the fact that I know many other people who have seen the same thing through their lives. Of course, I made that up, too.

Blue Marker

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

Well said. And I'll add many that hold that stereotype enjoy a glass of wine or a beer from time to time. The hypocrisy!

Goofus

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Amen.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

Jeff Irwin proves what this was all about the whole time -- legalizing pot. The whole medical marijuana bit was simply a lever to open the gate. People who really believe they need this drug for pain relief were a tool of the "legalize marijuana" folks.

Tru2Blu76

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:17 a.m.

Legalized & heavily regulated alcohol STILL LEAVES a tremendous problem with auto accidents, early death, health damage raising medical costs AND SO ON. So "legalizing pot" isn't the answer either - the state makes BIG BUCKS taxing cigarettes and booze but it's no "bonanza" as promised by pothead advocates. An old statistic worth remembering: 10% of any human population have what is called "addictive personalities." No one understands this phenomenon and certainly no cure has been found. Consider the implication: 10% of the population is on some kind of drug, whether it be marijuana, booze, cigarettes/nicotine, or other more potent mind destroyers. The question therefore is whether we're going to continue to cater to the 10% of addictive personalities with their shirker camp followers or take back control of our legal system in the name of rationality. The sole justification for taking cannibinoids is for pain relief in a limited number of pain afflicted patients. So make it a regular prescription drug and have those people take cannibinoids in pill form made by regular pharmaceutical companies. (Oh wait, the Pharmas want nothing to do with a drug that may draw catastrophic law suits. ... My bad). Capital punishment for pot users: at this point it's the ONLY known cure.

Milton Shift

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

Are you a conservative from Malaysia? You sound like one. Where are the firing squads?

lefty48197

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4 p.m.

When was the last time you heard of a car crash fatality being caused by a marijuana user? When was the last time you DIDN'T hear of a car crash fatality being caused by an alcohol user?

Basic Bob

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Just a thought... Those humans with addictive personalities - "addicts" - will gravitate to a substance or lifestyle of their choosing regardless of consequences. Regardless of whether it is legal, addictive, dangerous, or socially acceptable. Take away their marijuana and they may find other ways to degrade themselves and possibly destroy their lives. Gambling, synthetic opioids like Vicodin, alcohol and cigarettes. These are all more deadly to those who indulge, whether they are addicts or non-addicts. Or they may choose to simply break the law.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:53 a.m.

Another example of the left leading us down the path of cultural decline.

bobslowson

Mon, Feb 11, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Oh yes...the old "liberal agenda" rhetoric from the right...

clownfish

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

uhhhmm, De-criminilization is a LIBERTARIAN idea too. REAL conservatives are against the War on Drugs, the cost to taxpayers and the govt telling us how to live. Except you associate pot with "the left" , even though millions of "right wing" people smoke pot. Perhaps these people are "lefties" too? Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. http://www.leap.cc/

Jaime Magiera

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

"Cultural Decline"? Hah, if it weren't for things like sex and drugs, there wouldn't be any culture.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:23 a.m.

The DDA can't wait to tax weed in Ann Arbor.

Paul Wiener

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:58 a.m.

God bless their efforts!

Skyjockey43

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

First let me state that I have never used marijuana and probably never will. Having said that I think it's absolutely ridiculous that we continue to throw millions of dollars on the war against weed. The criminalization of marijuana has not made it any more difficult to obtain, has filled our prisons with drug offenders resulting in massive overcrowding, wasted scant police resources, and achieved absolutely no benefit whatsoever. Any argument regarding detrimental effects of marijuana could equally be applied to alcohol. Few disagree that prohibition was a failed policy whose biggest supporters were those getting rich off smuggling. Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana use and Hawaii is not far behind in following. Eventually when other states see what kind of revenues are being generated, they'll most likely follow suit. It's time for Michigan to wake up and face reality.

LXIX

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

Puritans who criminalize pot must also condemn legal alcohol or they are just hypocrites. Puritans should call their representatives in Lansing and then get off their Saturday football couch in the family room and throw that booze away. Alcohol is a poison to the human body. Unlike thc, alcohol severely deadens the brain cell function. There is a reason why alcohol is used in sanitizers and science labs. It kills the biological life process. Why is alcohol legal in Michigan?

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

But Tru, those who use pot are thinkers and enlightened and would never do anything dangerous.

Tru2Blu76

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:04 a.m.

You seem confused by the FACTS - which are that legalized & heavily regulated alcohol STILL LEAVES a tremendous problem with auto accidents, early death, health damage raising medical costs AND SO ON. So "legalizing pot" isn't the answer either - the state makes BIG BUCKS taxing cigarettes and booze but it's no "bonanza" as promised by pothead advocates.

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:54 a.m.

Puritans? Catch up, buddy, that was 400 years ago.

Bogie

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:17 p.m.

Judging by the voting on comments, I see that most of the pot smokers got up, and got off their mom's couch, and walked over to the computer (maybe that's up to the computer- I mean, living in a basement). This crap is another sign of moral decay. I am sure that Mr. Irwin is not concerned about the individual liberties of pot smoking individuals. It is just another lame brain idea, to create revenue. Mr. Irwin, your idea will not work. People will continue to grow their own marijuana, and never pay the tax. Police do not have the authority to draw blood from a suspected "high" driver, so government will incur a cost to take one to the hospital for testing. Finally, I am 43, and I have two friends the same age, who smoke pot daily. One lives in his mother's garage, unable to hold a job. The other has been married for many years, but has never held a job. If you don't think pot effects your mind, and motivation; then I will tell you about all the other people I know, that have done nothing with their lives- except increase the load on others around them.

clownfish

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

stereotypes may save time, but they are a horrible way to set policy. Maybe some real world experience would be good for you? How about the thousands upon thousands of people that use MJ and keep their lives in order? These are regular joes and janes, doctors, engineers, lawyers, tradesmen, as well as people that have done amazing things with their lives, presidents, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Rick Steves, Aaron Sorkin and Michael blomberg for starters. Perhaps the people that you know that failed had other issues?

lefty48197

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Two of our last three Presidents admit to having smoked marijuana. The third smoked it too, but just won't admit it. Pot sure kept those guy from leading productive lives didn't it?

Jaime Magiera

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Tru2Blu76, sounds like you live in a cave.

Tru2Blu76

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:59 a.m.

There you go, talking about REAL world experience and drawing 7 (so far) thumbs down votes. Just sayin' - your encounters with pot smokers mirrors mine - and furthermore, I know a couple who started on pot and ended up dying of (other) drug overdoses. Nothin' like a mom knocking on her adult "home resident" daughter's bedroom door only to find her dead in bed from a drug overdose. Wondering why: none of these drug overdose deaths never get reported? (Mom and Dad hide that from police and reporters - thus making it a silent killer while potheads go on claiming pot (etc) is is harmless.

Jaime Magiera

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:30 a.m.

Bogie, the notion that Marijuana smokers are somehow slackers is completely erroneous tripe. The world is filled with people who smoke that lead productive lives. Your worldview seems to be based on two anecdotal examples from your immediate environment and your language is filled with clich├ęs. That says more about the stagnation of your environment. Lastly, Mr. Irwin is a very capable, intelligent legislator who cares very much about people's liberties. That's why he's trying to get this legislation passed.

Modern_Atheist

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

i know two doctors who are very well off that smoke pot regularly... I've witnessed many lives ruined by alcohol and none from marijuana.

Westfringe

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

Typical republican hypocrites. "No more big government invading peoples lives, telling them what they can and can't do!" - except when it comes to your uterus, what plants you can grow, and who you can marry. "National debt aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!" -cut military spending, end subsides for enormously successful big oil companies? No way. "Taxes are too high, no new taxes! No Rate increases!" -raise the gas tax, end the payroll holiday... sure why not.

leaguebus

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 : 4:11 a.m.

Must be the Koch brothers don't want legal maryjane. One would think they would want the voters lulled into a stupor on marijuana so the legislature could finish the war on women. Raise taxes on the poor and middle, cut taxes on the rich " job creators" , cut education by a billion dollars a year to pay for the tax cuts, let the states infrastructure go down the drain, then raise money for it by having the poor and middle pay for it.

Skyjockey43

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

Actually most Tea Party Republicans that I know, like me, want to get the government out of our lives, including whether we choose to use marijuana recreationally or medicinally. We're also opposed to the government telling us what we can and cannot eat, what we can and cannot say, what unions we choose to join or not, what health care we choose to purchase or not, and what methods we choose to protect ourselves and our families from criminals.

clownfish

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4 p.m.

Amusing isn't it?! Now they are against entrepreneurship, small business and less government. Funny how core values don't seem to have much core anymore.

Loopy

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

Conservatism: The silent dread that someone, somewhere, might be getting away with something that they wish they could get away with.

Paul

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

Our Gov. would veto any bill

EyeHeartA2

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

http://annarbor.craigslist.org/fod/3603540125.html http://annarbor.craigslist.org/hab/3603337104.html http://annarbor.craigslist.org/for/3588796577.html

Colorado Sun

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:53 p.m.

Jeff Irwin's intent is well-founded, however I believe a GOP-controlled Michigan Legislature will do anything to support legalization of marijuana. There was a tremendous battle in the City of Detroit to decriminalize possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. When it finally made the ballot after court fights, it passed easily - however there were Detroit Police officials indicating that they could avail themselves of state law to continue going after these users and guidance on city policy would have to come from above. Ream and other pro-legalization forces have been targeted by the Michigan State Police due to thir staunch advocacy of mitigation of penalties for pot use. Jeff Irwin has likewise been a fighter for common sense policies toward marijuana usage. They deserve our support.

Dog Guy

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

At long last, State Rep. Jeff Irwin has come around to agreeing with me on decriminalization of marijuana. He probably looked at a wind generator to see which way the wind was blowing.

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:44 p.m.

In case you missed it, here's a column on Irwin's idea from Tim Skubick, who describes Ann Arbor as place "where presumably a large of amount of grass is inhaled." He writes, "Mr. Irwin thinks there could be a pot of gold to fund schools, fix the roads and fight 'real' crime if Acapulco Gold is legalized." http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/tim_skub.html

Messa

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

"Grass"?? BAAAAAHAHA. He must be 101, maybe 102.

lefty48197

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Acapulco Gold? How old is Skubick?

Goober

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Yessiree! Nothing like working on a high priority issue. Go figure!

rutrow

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

Yes it is a priority when people get arrested, incarcerated and lose their jobs over a 'morality' issue driven by backward-thinking control freaks.

Basic Bob

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

This is a big step toward decreasing the $2B we spend each year on corrections.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Given the huge amount of money we spend on law enforcement and courts over marijuana, the number of jobs in the marijuana industry, and the potential tax revenue the state could get from it, yes this should be a high priority.

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

Here's a link to download a PDF of the court's decision: http://tinyurl.com/auwy6j9 Give it a read and let us know which parts you find most interesting.

sayzme

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

We need outright legalization...not just deregulation

Paul

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

Well then get off your butts and vote, not just for it but for the people that are for it. The state attorney general that the voters elected sure isn't for it, same goes for our wonderful Governor

Technojunkie

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

For once I agree with Irwin. Decriminalize it. Let families take care of their own. Keep the State out of our business. The criminal justice system is not the appropriate tool to deal with the drug problem.

Faygo

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

I wonder if most ann arbor pot smokers realize that most of the world is able to live without it. First world problems, you know?

Jaime Magiera

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 4:21 a.m.

People have been using marijuana for healing, personal growth and enjoyment for thousands of years. If you look at the statistics globally, lots of people enjoy the plant in various forms. In fact, it is the most popular drug, aside from alcohol, in the world... http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/pdf/BF_Cannabis_Commission_Report.pdf

Loopy

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

Most medical MJ patients in Michigan are NOT in Ann Arbor or in Washtenaw County.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

Luckily, in America, we don't ban things just because it's possible to live without them. That wouldn't be very good for the economy.

Paul

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

Yeah OK but what about other drugs, can most people live without alcohol ? If you drink, even now and then, don't talk, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Booze is a drug even if you believe its not. You can even OD on booze---they call it alcohol poisoning--its overdosing, just a fancy name for it.

a2cents

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

Greedy opportunists, be gone ! It was a gamble & you lost... up in smoke.

Dutchy734

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

Paul said drug den deals..hahahah, drug den

Loopy

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:42 a.m.

Wow - this is the first time in the history of the US that anybody ever considered greed a bad thing. Figures it would be in order to stick it to pain patients. Because everybody knows they're the real problem, right? Sheesh.

Paul

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

Yep and the stoner's who signed up and told the state they need pot are now all on record and yet its back to street corner and drug den deals. Soon the state will have a database with all the MM users readily available to law enforcement

thinker

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

Those who voted for the medical marijuana bill were told it was for cancer and glaucoma. They had no idea that there would be dispensaries everywhere, and unscrupulous doctors and med students writing prescriptions without a careful history and physical.

Skyjockey43

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

Thinker, I will concede the point and say there are probably large numbers of people who are using medical marijuana legislation as an excuse for recreational use. My question for you is so what? Please explain to me what business the government has in telling people what they can and cannot put into their bodies. People die all the time climbing Mt Everest. Should we make mountain climbing illegal? As long as people are willing to accept the consequences of their actions, then I say let's go back to our nation's foundational roots that were founded on the tenants of freedom, not government intrusion into the lives of its citizens.

Angry Moderate

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 9:25 p.m.

Do you have to have missing limbs to get Vicodin, which is much more dangerous than marijuana? No...doctors hand it out like candy.

mady

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

"thinker," I voted for the MM bill, and I never heard that. not once. and yes, I did in fact vote you down.

thinker

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

@Loopy-all the treatments, or most of them, for pain, are regulated by the Federal Government and the State through doctor's drug licenses and the FDC. No reason why marijuana should be any different.

thinker

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

I guess the Michigan Supreme Court ruled there will not be dispensaries everywhere, but there WERE initially.

Loopy

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

What business of yours is it which symptoms it helps treat? Last I checked, we didn't get to vote on how people seek help for pain, nausea, or any combination of symptoms that cause misery. YOU don't get to mete out relief to people who are sick and in pain just because you don't think their symptoms are in line with the wording of the Medical Marihuana Act. Are you a doctor? You also don't get to dump on sick people just because some people might be goldbricks.

Paul

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

Yeah you were to have missing limbs or something like that for pain use, now a sore back might qualify. I do recall that, its why the % of users is rapidly increasing over the last year, at first few qualify but now Chronic Pain took on a new meaning--maybe rightfully so but yes at first we were told its for very limited use.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

That's not a physical, nor is it representative of all prescription drugs.

EyeHeartA2

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

Really? 'cuase if I want to smear the same goop on my finger that I have been smearing on my finger for the last 15 years, I need to go in to the doctor and have them look at my finger again. I need a Craigslist doctor I guess.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

The bill itself lists the conditions that medical marijuana is allowed for, who ever said it was only for cancer and glaucoma? And since when do you need a physical to get a prescription? There are millions of people on all sorts of prescriptions, they generally don't require a physical.

sayzme

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

There are dispensaries everywhere? I guess you must be talking about CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens?

An Arborigine

Fri, Feb 8, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

Someone is aimin' to Schuette him down!

anti-thug

Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

the Governor!!