The Michigan chapter of the
National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws
Millions of Americans use cannabis; few abuse it. It’s time to stop arresting responsible cannabis consumers who are otherwise law-abiding citizens. It serves no legitimate purpose, it extends government into inappropriate areas of our private lives, and it causes enormous harm to the lives, careers and families of the more than 17,000 cannabis consumers arrested each year in this state, at a cost to taxpayers of over $1 billion according to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron. Most cannabis consumers are good Americans, the vast majority work hard, pay taxes, contribute to their communities, and they too want a safe, crime-free neighborhood in which to live and raise their families.
Responsible adult use of cannabis causes no harm to society and should be of no interest to state and federal governments other than regulating a commercial industry. Today, far more harm is caused by cannabis prohibition than by the use of cannabis itself.
Michigan NORML supports the removal of all penalties for the private possession of marijuana by adults, cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. Michigan NORML also supports the development of a legal and regulated cannabis industry.
All drugs, including marijuana, can be abused. Cannabis policies should include sensible restrictions against driving while intoxicated, use by minors, and unauthorized sale or distribution, but otherwise be subject to no criminal penalties. The best way to prevent drug abuse and discourage underage use is with honest, credible and factual drug education.
Only in a climate in which marijuana is viewed from a public health perspective, instead of a criminal justice perspective, can prevention efforts be effective.
A majority of Michigan voters now believe that a policy of regulated cannabis is better than the present policy of arresting and adjudicating an adult whose only crime is possessing a plant. Don't you?
Of all the negative consequences of prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medical marijuana to seriously ill patients who could benefit greatly from its use. This is why Michigan NORML took on the task of working towards a medical cannabis law back in 2003. We decided then to work on local initiatives to build support for a statewide campaign in 2008.
Between 2003 and 2008, Michigan NORML assisted in decriminalizing medical marijuana in five cities, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, and Traverse City. Those victories layed the groundwork for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to launch a statewide medical cannabis campaign in 2008.
Since our medical cannabis law was passed in 2008, the protections for patients and the caregivers who supply them with medical cannabis have been under constant attack from law enforcement and the judicial system. Some members of the law enforcement community refuse to recognize the protections of the MMMAct and the judicial system has validated their tactics in some jurisdictions. We need strong protections for patients and caregivers, and patients need to have a variety of treatment options available for them to choose from. The Michigan Supreme Court has held that only raw cannabis is legal for patients and that simply isn't the best way to deliver the medical cannabis many patients need.
Patients need uninterrupted access to medical cannabis and they need a variety of treatment options. Michigan NORML and all it's members and supporters would like to see this legislature pass bills that authorize alternatives to raw cannabis, that provide firm protections for patients and caregivers, that expand access to medical cannabis treatments options, and that establish a commercial distribution system for medical cannabis treatment options.
Medical cannabis works quite well and is a preferred treatment option for many people. Making it safer and easier to acquire is good policy.
Imagine the rebirth of a robust manufacturing industry here in Michigan fueled by the re-legalization of industrial hemp. It's already on the horizon as the federal government has removed hemp from the controlled substances schedule and has allowed states to establish pilot and experimental hemp crops for the first time in 70 years! We may even see hemp cultivated right here in Michigan in 2015 due to action taken by Michigan legislators in 2014.
In December 2014, the Michigan legislature passed House Bills 5439 and 5440, legislation that removed industrial hemp plants from Schedule I classification, and authorized the cultivation of experimental hemp crops in this state. Michigan NORML board member Steve Sharpe was a strong proponent of these bills and helped get them passed with bi-partisan support in both chambers. Further legislation will be needed to broaden hemp production for the demand that will be created once hemp is available for commercial purposes and Michigan NORML board members and supporters alike hope this legislature will work aggressively to facilitate the rebirth of a robust hemp industry in this state by passing sensible pro-hemp bills.
Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products, including:
Fabrics and textiles
Yarns and spun fibers
Foods and beverages
Body care products