Waiting in War

Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee
Medical marijuana policy causes more public comment than most issues in the legislature and oftentimes, emotional speeches or testimony is heard during these hearings. That was the case last Tuesday when Dakota Serna was ejected from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for speaking his mind by Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) with a dismissive “good night” to Serna as he left. No curse words were used and it was not his graphic depiction of children dying in the streets (skewered by rebar) that got him thrown out, but instead the choice of his words to depict the drug task forces that raid patients for medical marijuana: “the jackboots; the thugs”. (Jackboots: a person who uses brutally bullying, militaristic, or authoritarian measures according to Dictionary.com)
Whether Dakota’s depiction is accurate or not, it is his opinion and the first amendment should entitle him to speak that opinion. Many people believe he should have been given his full 2 minutes of testimony after he risked his life for our freedoms.
With two senators having to leave committee early to attend funerals, there was no vote on the bills being discussed (HB4209, HB4210, and HB4827). After the hearing, Jones told several reporters that the bills would be passed out of committee before the holiday break, however since Tuesday, Jones has changed his tune. He now wants to discharge the bills with a side step not often used. According to MIRS news Jones asked Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) to discharge the bills from his committee. Though that may ultimately happen, Meekhof spokesperson Amber McCANN said told MIRS, “There are no plans to take up this issue by the full Senate before the end of the year.” DSC_0047
Though many speculate that there may not be enough overall support for these bills in the Senate, Senator Steven Bieda (D-Warren) told Hybrid.life in an earlier interview this issue must be well thought out and accomplished the right way. He added, “We are likely to still see more changes to these bills.”
After the hearing Tuesday, Jones insinuated that the roadside saliva test and landlord/tenant bills would be tied to the current bills revolving around medical marijuana.
Jones was adamant during the hearing that these bills would not eliminate caregivers. But with everyone’s hand in the pot, it leaves me wondering: after everyone gets their piece of the pie, is there going to be any left for the patients? The patients that this law was created for have been the ones suffering the most because of the inability of the courts to clarify and protect them for their medical use of marijuana.
Try to wrap your head around the court decision on medibles (edible forms of marijuana). The language of the act in section MCL333.26423(k) says, “’Usable marihuana’ means the dried leaves and flowers of the marihuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant. [emphasis added]” The supreme court has ruled that this excerpt means the leaf and flower are allowed, but if put into brownies, it becomes illegal.
To put this in perspective, let’s use tea as an analogy. Imagine that the water is legal and the tea leaves are legal, but once you steep it and remove the tea leaves, it becomes illegal, and then guess who left holding the bag? Yes, the patients.
Another question that we will be looking to the court to settle is caregiver to caregiver transfers. After Tuesday’s hearing, I asked Senator Jones, “Can caregivers legally purchase marijuana from dispensaries?” His answer: “I don’t know why not if they got [sic] a card.” He then went on to say, “What’s going on right now, is caregivers are growing overages and putting it in their trunk and taking it to the dispensary. That is absolutely illegal. People are going to end up in prison.”
Though caregivers can acquire marijuana from anyone, yet another supreme court ruling says caregivers can only transfer (sell) to their own registered patients (up to five). One case headed to the Michigan court of appeals is that of David Overholt. On Friday, Fox 17 reporter Dana Chicklas met at Overholt’s farm where she took a tour of the garden and learned about cannabis helping people with spasms and seizures. David gets emotional when he talks about his work with children. He says that once you’ve seen a child’s persistent seizures stopped with medical marijuana, your resolve in helping those in need is solidified.
It appears patients are on the losing end in both the legislature and the courts. Every day that the legislature fails to act, patients are penalized or imprisoned while in the court’s control.
Skip to toolbar