Michigan is following the lead of Colorado and Washington as their State Legislature has proposed a bill that would decriminalize possession of marijuana and another that would affirm the right of medical marijuana dispensaries to operate.
House Bill 4623 was introduced in April by Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and was co-sponsored by six other legislators as well. This bill would reduce possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil infraction punishable by a small fine and would serve as an important rebuke of the war on drugs, one of the federal government’s most evident ongoing policy blunders.
Although this bill does not completely legalize marijuana for possession and cultivation, it does prevent people found with up to an ounce on them from being prosecuted criminally. Instead of potentially facing jail time and heavy fines, first time offenders would be fined no more than $25 dollars with second time offenders fined a maximum of $50 and offenses from that point on would be fined no more than $100.
According to Rep. Irwin, the state of Michigan is spending a minimum of $325 million per year on arresting, trying and jailing marijuana users. Aside from the fiscal pitfalls of keeping marijuana illegal, Rep. Irwin also cites alcohol prohibition’s failure in the 1920’s and 30’s along with the increased availability of marijuana in spite of its federal ban as reasons that sensible legislation regarding marijuana needs to passed.
In addition, there is another bill that attempts to regulate medical marijuana distribution centers. House Bill 4271, the Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center Regulation Act, would allow for communities to decide whether or not they would have a dispensary. This would clarify any confusion relating to the current law.
Introduced in February by Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) with 15 co-sponsors, this bill attempts to halt incidents where law enforcement has cracked down on dispensaries in violation of the 2008 Proposition which was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters legalizing marijuana for medical use. This bill ensures that the people’s voice will not be ignored by bitter members of law enforcement reluctant to give up their lucrative war on drugs gravy train. Communities would be able to decide for themselves whether or not they would make sure that ill residents would be able to receive their potentially life-saving medicine.
Both of these laws being passed would make it much more difficult for the feds or rogue law enforcement to crackdown on the medical freedom of Michigan citizens. The lack of resources at the federal level to enforce all of their asinine, unconstitutional laws has given us the ability to nullify marijuana prohibition state by state, and we must take full advantage of this opportunity. All that is needed is a public outcry that ensures that our legislators come to the correct decision when they cast their votes.
Both HB 4623 to decriminalize marijuana possession and HB 4271 to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries have been referred to the State House Committee on Judiciary. If you would like to contact the members of this committee and politely urge them to take action affirmatively on these bills, their contact information is as follows:
– Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant)
Phone: (517) 373-1789
– Majority Vice-Chair Rep. Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township)
Phone: (517) 373-1799
FAX: (517) 373-8361
– Minority Vice Chair Rep. Phil Cavanagh (D-Redford Township)
Phone: (517) 373-0857
FAX: (517) 373-5976
– Rep. Kurt Heise (R- Plymouth)
Phone: (517) 373-3816
– Rep. Brad Jacobsen (R-Oxford)
– Rep. Joel Johnson (R-Clare)
Phone: (517) 373-8962
– Rep. Andrea Lafontaine (R-Columbus Twp)
Phone: (517) 373-8931
– Rep. Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt)
Phone: (517) 373-1778
FAX: (517) 373-5780
– Rep. Ellen Lipton (D-Huntington Woods)
Phone: (517) 373-0478
FAX: (517) 373-5884
– Rep. Paul Clemente (D-Lincoln Park)
Phone: (517) 373-0140
FAX: (517) 373-5924
– Committee Clerk Angie Lake
If you do not live in the state of Michigan and would like to see if your state has bills introduced to fight the war on drugs, please consult our Legislative Tracker which keeps a updated record of all the activity related to nullification throughout the country. If your state does not have anything related to marijuana up for consideration, please urge your State Reps or State Senators to introduce bills similar to HB 4623 and HB 4271. Model legislation is available through the Marijuana Policy Project to decriminalize marijuana possession and legalize medical marijuana at the state level.
For Michigan residents, Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester), a co-sponsor of the Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center Regulation Act, will be hosting a town hall to discuss the war on drugs and how it has been a colossal public policy failure. Rep. McMillin will be joined by American Civil Liberties Union attorney Dan Korobkin and Chad Padgett of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. This event is a fantastic opportunity to teach friends who may be skeptical on legalization about the havoc prohibition is wreaking on our country. It is free of charge and will take place on Jun. 10 at Rochester Hills Public Library, 500 Olde Towne Road in Rochester at 7 P.M.