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Pure Michigan - Chad Morrow


Wow, what a crazy month in Michigan it has been for those involved with cannabis. We have great reason to celebrate with the state finally approving the first state licenses under the MMFLA. Unfortunately its still a task involving enormous efforts to avoid board member Don Bailey’s obvious bias and guaranteed no vote if he can find anything to be used against an applicant, including assumptions with no solid evidence of wrong doing. With that said, 4 companies proved it possible to achieve licensure as licenses were approved for all types of facilities except a testing facility, which is sure to come soon. The feeling of accomplishment throughout the cannabis community was only able to be enjoyed temporarily as the Michigan Appeals court issued one of the most absurd rulings to date shortly after, ruling that wet cannabis isn’t protected by the MMMA, and now upon harvest, drying cannabis can land a caregiver in a jail cell. Lets take a closer look at whats happening.

First, a huge Congratulations goes out to VB Chesaning upon being granted the very first state license for a cannabis facility in Michigan. Not only did they get approved for a license, but they did so with quite a statement, being approved for 4 Class C 1500 plant grows, giving them a total of 6000 licensed plants to cultivate, and being approved unanimously by the board. Opportunities for employment are already making their way around social media. Then there was CannArbor, a company approved for 2 state licenses, a dispensary and a processor license, while they await approval for their cultivation facility. Last but certainly not least, the state issued the first state license for a secure transport company, and it was awarded to Capitol Transport. The Mitten State is officially a testing facility license away from being able to actually think about an implemented and operating system being capable of a soft launch so to speak.

Unfortunately, not every applicant is having that same luck. There have been some denied for undisclosed arrest, which is black and white and they’re denied rightfully so. This past meeting, board member Don Bailey made his bias even more apparent. Many applicants were approved for pre qualification with 3-2 votes with the board over ruling Baileys objections and arguments where he would really reach for evidence to deny. It was apparent other board members were growing frustrated with his agenda as well. At one point Bailey claimed to have more specific info about applicants than other board members. Board member Nicole Cover asked Bailey to keep his hat straight and focused and to remember this is only prequalification regarding an applicant. Bailey snapped back “I’m not gonna check my common sense or experience at the front door, I believe that’s why I was picked for this board” and board member Vivian Pickard then asserted that maybe Bailey should make sure the rest of the board has the same information so they can be on the same page going into these meetings. Nicole Cover even asserted that some members are reading to much into some things and being presumptuous. Speaking of assumptions, Bailey claimed an applicant was involved in tax evasion and money laundering, without any evidence or charges to reference. The icing on the cake for this day was when Don Bailey suggested to LARA that the state allow the Michigan state police to do what they do, and launch investigations into those he has concerns with. I believe all the patients and caregivers in Michigan know by now that if the police are investigating you and you’re involved in this industry, an arrest is usually imminent. The testing of entries for the High Times Cannabis Cup was used as a reason to argue for denial of a testing facility by Don Bailey, as well as an applicants disclosure that they saw the High Times Cannabis Cup as a proper place to market. Bailey asserted that we only have a medical law and not a rec law, and anyone wanting to participate in events like that pose a risk to public safety and law enforcement. One applicant even claimed they were denied for reasons they weren’t even allowed to address in the application!! Another reason Bailey used to attempt to deny qualification to a company by the name of Helio, was the purchase of extraction equipment in 2016. Claiming that the purchase of the equipment was reason enough to believe they didn’t follow the law of 2008, so why would they follow the new laws and regulations. Again, a level headed Vivian Pickard stated that Don Bailey was assuming the equipment was utilized and assuming it was utilizes in Michigan. A small shop in Frederick, Michigan by the name of HumbleBee made Bailey’s radar and was harassed being called a straw man operation with family members applying for members who can’t. At which point Andrew Brisbo from LARA stated they have checks and balances in place to dig that information up, no flags were raised. They were approved 3-2 over Bailey and Rick Johnsons no votes. Ironically, they were served with a cease and desist within 48 hours to their processing facility for questionable reasons. Is it a coincidence they are in a county policed by the same bunch that Bailey retired from, we’ll let you decide. One thing is for certain, without the common sense approach of board members Cover, Pickard, and LaMontaine, Michiganders may very well have been left waiting months longer for the progress we’re seeing.

With such such focus on state licensing and legalization on the horizon, it came as a huge shock to the cannabis community when the appeals court heard the case of Michigan vs. Mansour, and issued one of the most absurd rulings to date, twisting and contorting any common sense and logic, and leaving patients and caregivers more vulnerable now than ever before. If you’re a caregiver or a patient growing their own medicine, pay close attention. Wet cannabis is no longer protected and leaves you vulnerable to over zealous police agencies like many patients in Michigan have already encountered. Cannabis harvested from the plant but not dried isn’t useable so its not covered by the act. The logic, or lack of, being used, is that the law protects patients and allows them to have 12 plants and/or up to 2.5 ounces of dried useable cannabis. The minute you cut the plant, its no longer counted as a plant, and weight becomes the subject of useable cannabis, anything wet is not useable and not protected. Outdoor growers will have huge concerns come harvest time. Freezing wet bud for extraction purposes will not save you from police harassment any longer. Social media is chaotic with news reports, statements, opinions, concerns, fears, and so much more as a result. One suggestion is to just hang the plant whole, roots and all so its counted as a plant. That won’t work either and I’m telling you now, don’t try it. The MMMA defines plant in §3.

(j) “Plant” means any living organism that produces its own food through photosynthesis and has observable root formation or is in growth material.

A plant hanging upside down with roots in tact isn’t capable of producing food through photosynthesis in the process of drying. This is another attack upon caregivers and patients in Michigan by the appeals court. Fortunately, The Rockweiler himself, Neil Rockind has stepped up to the plate to argue this at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is more reasonable than the appeals court, and there is no better attorney to argue on behalf of patients and caregivers than the heavyweights from Rockind Law. Many of you already know that the author of this article was represented by Rockind Law and the purpose of a court date was to contest, successfully, a personal protection order served upon the author by board member Don Bailey himself. I have a feeling Mr. Rockind will make the appeals court look as bad as his firm made Don Bailey look in the ppo hearing. Caregivers and patients alike can feel confident that this opinion will be reversed, but for now, it’s the law of the land.

These are reasons:
we must get the people out to vote in November. Michiganders must vote yes and pass legalization. Upon passage of the initiative, Michigan will become a much better place for cannabis consumers. Shops with MFLA licenses will convert over to licensed RMLA licenses and will then operate under RMLA rules and not MFLA rules. The power of the BMMR board doesn’t carry over to RMLA licensed shops. Cannabis felons can’t be employed in the industry under the MFLA, yet they can be under RMLA licenses. We’re only a few months away from one of the most important elections of our lives, lets make it count.

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