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Michigan News - September 2018

Motown Limits Number of Marijuana Provisioning Centers

DETROIT- Only 75 medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to legally operate in Detroit, after the City Council voted unanimously on July 31st, to approve an ordinance that caps the number of facilities citywide and puts more regulations in place on the budding industry.

The ordinance establishes rules for five types of medical marijuana licenses, including locations where medical marijuana could be grown, tested, processed, transported and dispensed to patients with state-approved medical marijuana cards.

The ordinance also encourages prospective owners of medical marijuana facilities to offer community benefits as part of their application for approval. It also regulates how dispensaries and other related operations would be approved by the city and what size they could be.

The timing of the ordinance is crucial to about 62 dispensaries that are operating in the city under emergency rules approved by the state.

The proposed ordinance has raised concerns among some within the marijuana industry who feel it is shortsighted.

Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia previously said the new ordinance clarifies the city’s regulatory role. Garcia said the ordinance resolves some of the "confusion created by some of the misguided zoning restrictions" that were part of the ballot initiatives.

Medical Marijuana to Bring 400Jobs 

 MARSHALL- Medical marijuana is coming to Marshall (population of about 7,000) and bringing jobs with it.

Marijuana grower and processor Michigan Pure Med is planning to build a new headquarters in Marshall, creating an estimated 400 jobs over five years.

The business hopes to break ground within the next month, said Scott Fleming, Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance CEO. The space is expected to be more than 1 million square feet and is the first of a handful of medical marijuana companies looking for approval to build.

Dispensaries will not be allowed in the city, however.

Michigan Pure Med grows medical marijuana in Detroit, Hazel Park and Lansing. It also has eight dispensaries in Michigan, per its website. Marshall will have the only processing facility in the state for the company so far.

Charges Dropped for 6 Individuals in Cannabis Raid

DETROIT- All charges have been dropped for a $1 million cannabis raid that took place on May 29 in Detroit.

Judge Kenneth King of the 36th District Court dismissed the case "in the interest of fairness." Although prosecution argued that the facility where the raid took place was not licensed to grow cannabis.

No further details were released regarding the reason for case dismissal.

The six people in the case were facing charges of delivery and manufacturing of 45 kilograms or more of marijuana and conspiracy to deliver or manufacture marijuana – both carrying up to 15 years in prison.

The charges were officially dropped on Tuesday, July 31.

As previously reported last month, undercover Detroit Police Officers, along with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection federal agents uncovered the growing operation at a warehouse at 4473 W. Jefferson Avenue.

The warehouse is owned by Al Harrington, Viola Brands co-founder and former NBA player and current BIG3 co-captain.

According to a news release, the operation holds a temporary license under the Michigan Medical Marihuanna Facilities Licensing Act, which allows for 1,500 plants.

Voters Not Politicians ON THE BALLOT

LANSING- The redistricting reform proposal will be on the ballot this November, after a majority of the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) ruled in favor of Voters Not Politician (VNP) by a 4-3 vote.

Justice David Viviano (R-backed) wrote the majority opinion issued publicly, joined by Justice Beth Clement (R-backed), and Democrat-nominated Justices Bridget McCormack and Richard Bernstein.

The majority of the MSC voted 4-3 to reject the argument brought by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce-backed Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution (CPMC) that the VNP proposal was a general revision of the constitution, and not an amendment.

Viviano wrote that VNP's amendment "does not propose changes creating the equivalent of a new constitution." The majority said for the VNP proposal to be acceptable, it must not "significantly alter or abolish the form or structure of the government in a manner equivalent to creating a new constitution."

The majority argued VNP's proposed redistricting commission is "materially similar" to a commission provided for in the current constitution, and its standards used for redistricting are similar to the current ones used.

Plus, the majority wrote that the amendment "does not substantially change the powers of the three branches of government." With that, Viviano and the majority would affirm the state Court of Appeals' (COA) previous ruling that the VNP proposal passed muster and could make the ballot.
VNP celebrated the victory at the Supreme Court. "The court's decision upholds our right as citizens to petition our government for positive change," said Katie Fahey, founder and executive director of VNP, in a statement released tonight shortly after the MSC opinion became public.

VNP had opted not to ask Clement, Gov. Rick Snyder's former chief legal counsel, to recues herself after she voluntarily disclosed her tie to the wife of an attorney for CPMC, as Fahey had said the group had faith the court would hear the case fairly.

The VNP proposal, if approved by voters, would take away the drawing of Michigan's legislative and congressional districts from the state Legislature and give it to a new 13-member independent commission.

The amendment spells out the process for how those members are selected, and bars many candidates, elected officials and others connected to politics and government from serving on the commission.

The COA had thrown out the CPMC legal challenge to VNP's proposal, which led to the Board of State Canvassers (BSC) certifying the petition that had received more than 394,000 valid signatures. The group collected more than 425,000 signatures total without the use of paid circulators and in roughly four months' time. Constitutional amendments need a minimum of 315,654 valid signatures.
Besides arguing the VNP proposal was an improper general revision to the state constitution, CPMC also claimed the group had not properly relisted every section of the constitution that the proposal would change or make "wholly inoperative".

The CPMC sought leave to appeal on the COA ruling to the MSC, which granted appeal and heard oral arguments in a special session earlier this month.

The Michigan Chamber has opposed the redistricting proposal, as has Attorney General Bill Schuette, who filed an amicus brief against VNP and sent the state's solicitor general to argue against the proposal before MSC.

Legislative Democrats issued statements hailing the MSC's ruling. So did Represent.Us, a group that drew some controversy for its protest of the Chamber's opposition to the redistricting proposal
The Chamber responded by saying there would be no further legal action on this ballot proposal. The Chamber had previously endorsed both Clement and Wilder for re-election this fall.

Viviano's 57-page opinion concluded by saying the question the court took up has "broad significance for the people of this state: what limitations have they placed, in the Constitution they ratified, on their power to put forward voter-initiated amendments? This question implicates some of the oldest and most perplexing problems in political theory, such as the nature of sovereignty, republicanism, and democracy."

The opinion continued: "But it is not a judge's role to philosophize a theory of government. Rather, we are stewards of the people and must faithfully abide by the decisions they make through the laws they adopt. We accomplish this by adhering to the plain meaning of the text of those laws. Here, that approach leads us to conclude that a voter-initiated amendment . . . is permissible if it does not significantly alter or abolish the form or structure of our government, making it tantamount to creating a new constitution. VNP's proposal surpasses these hurdles and is a permissible voter-initiated amendment."

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