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Cannabis Legalization in Michigan; The Big and Little Picture - by Tim Beck

Tim Beck
Chairman of the Safer
Michigan Coalition
On December 22, the sun again started its primordial journey from the winter to summer solstice. The days will gradually become brighter and for long suffering cannabis consumers in Michigan, that sun, in an esoteric way, will be even brighter in 2019.

While marijuana will not be regulated like a tomato plant as some would prefer; the new reality for the vast majority of us is profound. The ugly yoke of full blown prohibition for simple adult use, possession, and growing up to 12 plants for personal use has been lifted.

Among other things, no cop can legally bust you because he or she "smells" marijuana around your home or other private real estate (with owner’s permission). Screwball neighbors or relatives no longer have the leverage they once had to infringe upon your life. State "Child Protective Services" enforcers and quack health personnel can no longer break up your family just because they can. Cops will have to prove actual impairment to convict you for "drugged" driving. Within a year or so, there will be state licensed "provisioning centers" for recreational users of the herb, who prefer this kind of convenience.

Unless you want to work for an employer with "zero tolerance" for marijuana, you no longer have to stay in the closet. You no longer have to submit to the mental cruelty of those who once defined you as a criminal. They no longer have any moral authority that is validated by state law. You can tell them where to go with impunity. Angry ex spouses with an ax to grind are now out of luck in divorces and child custody cases, if marijuana is the major part of their repertoire.

That is why lots of us have been fighting the system for years. Many of you reading this have taken the hit from cops, prosecutors, authority figures and self anointed moral arbitrators of every stripe.
Personally, I have been arrested four times in my life. On three occasions, I spent the night in a police lock up. Thanks to the grace of a higher power, firm resolve under intense police pressure, and with expert legal counsel, I have no official criminal record. In addition, at times in the past, I was stopped by the police for no good reason. That only ended a few years ago, when I transferred the ownership of my vehicle and registration to another party.

So glad those days are over for most all of us, as far as state law is concerned.

For some of you reading this, who have been literally risking your life and liberty for years to provide needed medicine and higher consciousness, legalization may not seem to be all good news. Profits may decrease over the long run. However, 2019 could still be a banner year, since there will be no legal places for a recreational user to get their stash until 2020. In addition, the likelihood of getting caught has dramatically decreased since the voters said YES to legalization in November.

The year ahead can be an opportunity to refine your business model and /or find a place in the new milieu.

As far as the immediate future is concerned, I had a brief interview with David Harns, LARA marijuana media spokes person, on December 19. Right now, (this column was written on December 22) it seems there are no plans on the LARA department agenda beyond December 31, 2019. Regarding the provisioning supply center issue, currently operating facilities can get all the provisions they need from caregivers, as long as it is tested according to Mr. Harns. When that supply runs out, there could be problems.

"Any responsibility beyond that rests with the (MMFLA) board. They could extend the deadline beyond December." Mr. Harns explained.

Factually speaking, many deadlines have come and gone since the MMMFLA was signed into law by the Governor in 2016.

With the passage of Proposal 1, police have less motivation to be concerned about marijuana. They must now answer to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel.

On a macro level, cannabis stocks are now trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.

Some old timers remember the days of smoke filled rooms, where debate would occur into the wee hours about what would happen in the event of 'legalization." Some predicted big alcohol and drug companies would make their move. That concept was not discounted in these mystical dialogues.
Fast forward to 2018 when Canada went legal; the giant tobacco, pharmaceutical and alcoholic beverage corporations Altria, Novartis, Constellation Beverages and AB INBev all invested in Canadian cannabis producers who want to do business on a world level. There will be more deals like this coming down in the year ahead. The concept is the cannabis plant has such a myriad of uses in addition to getting high that demand will grow exponentially. This will be especially true in the medical area.

Money can be made in these securities now, if one has nerves of steel and can handle extreme market volatility. That said, positive changes in US Federal Government policy toward marijuana in the year ahead, will mean more stable growth in share prices. It will also accelerate entry into the market by larger corporate players as legalization and regulation evolve.

So what is the meaning of these things?

The answer is pretty simple. The world for cannabis users on a micro as well as macro cosmic level is changing. This is practically all good, especially for those of us in Michigan.

For the true purists and old fighters from the days of John Sinclair and before; the right to grow one’s own cannabis crop is the best insurance ever for any negativity which may come down the road. Changing that equation would require a 3/4 super majority vote of the Legislature and that is a very heavy lift.

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