Pubdate: Thu, 18 Dec 2014
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2014 The Detroit News
Author: Gary Heinlein


Lansing - Officials representing law enforcement and health workers 
urged Wednesday that lawmakers not pass bills that would permit 
medical marijuana dispensaries and "edible" forms of cannabis during 
the lame-duck session.

The legislation, which has passed the House and is among many bills 
pending on the Senate floor, contains too many risks to be adequately 
addressed during the two days remaining before the Legislature 
adjourns for the year, they argued at a press conference.

"We're concerned they're rushing this through in lame duck when it 
should be vetted more thoroughly," said Terrence Jungel, executive 
director of the Michigan Sheriff 's Association.

Jungel and Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan 
Association of Chiefs of Police, said police and health officials 
have had too little opportunity to comment on the measures.

"Never did anybody contact local law enforcement; never were we 
allowed to be involved or were we invited to be involved about the 
concerns," Jungel charged.

Republican Rep. Mike Callton of Nashville, sponsor of the dispensary 
bill, took issue with the statements. He was meeting informally with 
senators Wednesday to push for passage of his bill.

"We've been working two years on this, and now they hold a press 
conference?" he said. "We started this last year and ran out of time. 
They've had lots of time to get their issues addressed."

The criticism comes as Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, 
R-Monroe, has been telling Capitol reporters he still hopes to pass 
the legislation this year.

One bill would permit marijuana provisioning centers, now illegal in 
Michigan, to buy and sell cannabis from medical marijuana card 
holders or licensed growers.

The other would legalize marijuana-infused foods, or "medibles," for 
consumption by medical marijuana card holders.

Jungel said the legislation would result in "a for-profit drug 
distribution business in the state of Michigan" with "very lax" 
record-keeping or regulation.

He said local law enforcement agencies mostly would be barred from 
access to information about medical marijuana transactions.

Meghan Swain, executive director of the Michigan Association for 
Local Public Health, representing 45 health departments, said the 
edibles bill could result in a "cottage industry" creating 
cannabis-laced foods - "folks who make these products in their own 
homes and are not regulated within a certain amount of their gross receipts."

Jungel and Stevenson said lawmakers should leave the proposals for 
the next Legislature, which would have more time to look into their concerns.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom