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John Sinclair - Free the Weed 104 - December 2019

A Column By John Sinclair Guest Authored by Jamie Lowell



Recreational sales of marijuana officially began in Michigan on December 1, 2019. While many more locations will be open to those 21 and over in upcoming months, only a few, mainly in Ann Arbor, were licensed and authorized to begin sales right away.
  
Arbors Wellness is one of those centers. After 3rd Coast in Ypsilanti, Arbors Wellness was amidst the original cannabis dispensaries. Both are in Washtenaw County, an area traditionally favorable to cannabis use and is ripe with industry commerce. James Daly and others of Arbors Wellness knew that the intensity of this historic moment would draw a lot of attention and therefore arranged to highlight a couple of exceptional people as the first to participate in a legal cannabis transaction under the Michigan Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act. 

Those two people are John Sinclair and Ryan Basore. 



Although it has taken decades of time and the effort of thousands of people to get to where we are in the cannabis reform movement in Michigan, Sinclair started it all. The man who has become an industry icon started it all as a counter culture figure and self-described “trouble maker,” pointing out the hypocrisies in leadership and unnecessary policies concerning cannabis in the 1960’s. Ryan Basore came into the fold in the modern era of reform shortly after the passage of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act with a center in Lansing called Capital Caregivers. He helped to transform the movement with an approach to protect what has already been achieved, to ensure individuals the ability and right to have cannabis and grow for themselves as well as promoting a sensible commercial market. 


Both men have been arrested, convicted and their liberty taken away for cannabis activity. Sinclair took his case to the State Supreme Court where, in the 70’s, he was vindicated by a ruling that lifted all cannabis prohibitions in the state for a period of time and initiated the annual political rally in Ann Arbor known as Hash Bash. Basore was convicted in 2013 by a federal court for participating in legal state activity. Both men emerged from their respective ordeals with more strength and motivation than before they were senselessly targeted by law enforcement. 

Joining in on the early moments of history was long time activist, MINORML board member and cannabis media expert Rick Thompson who recorded the second recreational cannabis transaction in the state. Rick was appropriately in the mix at the beginning of a new era for Michigan. After the press frenzy and accolades subsided, the initial group left Arbors Wellness to make room for the general public, which had lined up down the street and around the block. The diehards began the line in the cold at 4:30am, including people who traveled from out of state to participate in the event.  



It was a fitting tribute to the people highlighted, but more importantly created recognition for the many who came together over the years to make it all happen.


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