Don’t count your buds before harvest


Michigan Cities of Lansing, Wyoming Join Medical Marijuana Bans

Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben
– Wed Dec 8, 5:43 pm ET
Since the November 2010 midterm elections, several cities have issued bans on growing, producing and selling medical marijuana. Michigan voters passed the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act in 2008.

Wyoming, Mich., banned medical pot. Lansing, Mich., issued a six-month moratorium. According to the Michigan Messenger, Lansing’s city council voted to suspend medical marijuana activities in the city for six months until it can “put workable rules in place.” This decision came despite Mayor Virg Bernero’s opposition. Bernero, who ran on the Democratic ticket against Gov.-elect Rick Snyder in the 2010 midterm elections, said the measure “thwarts the intent of the voters.”

In Wyoming, Mich., a local Grand Rapids community, the city council voted this week to ban the use of medical marijuana within the Wyoming city limits, states the Detroit News. Wyoming joins the Detroit local communities of Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham and Livonia in enacting this ban. Local Wyoming marijuana activists, including attorney John Ter Beek have called upon the ACLU for help to overturn the ban.

Bans on medical marijuana have come about primarily because of issues in policing pot growers, production facilities and dispensaries. Many local cities and townships have struggled to hammer out parameters around medical marijuana distribution.

Several communities, including Ferndale, Mich., have levied stiffer annual licensing fees for medical pot clinics. These new medical marijuana bans take the issue one step further, however. Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia, Lansing and Wyoming have banned the use of medical marijuana within city limits. Doctors who prescribe medical marijuana legally under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act are now engaging in illegal activities. People who rely on medical marijuana for the treatment of extremely painful conditions are now criminals. Patients who find pain relief from pain with medical marijuana must now go outside city limits to obtain it.

The contention that marijuana is dangerous and may fall into the wrong hands is countered by the argument that most drugs can and do and no drug should fall into the wrong hands. Over-the-counter or prescription, every thing from vitamins to Sudafed to Pepto-Bismol to Adderall to Dilaudid can and does fall into the wrong hands.

Even herbs, homeopathics and vitamins should not be taken by children without adult approval. Self-medication and sharing medications, even prescriptions, are not closely monitored. Once a person obtains a prescription or buys an over the counter medication, there is no way of knowing what happens to it.

Adderall and Ritalin (prescribed for Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder) are sold on the street as amphetamines and sometimes snorted to produce the same effects a cocaine, says the Vanderbilt University student newspaper Inside Vandy. Education World describes scenarios in which schools are easy targets for prescription drug thieves. In schools, it is illegal to give any student, even those over 18, a Tylenol capsule for a headache without express consent of the parents. Yet we enact only very cursory, if any, controls over other medications.

The biggest legal issue with medical marijuana bans, according to the ACLU and other voter rights activists is that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was approved in referendum by all 83 counties in 2008, over two years ago. Whether any city council can constitutionally overturn voter passed legislation remains to be seen.


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