GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A Michigan judge has thrown out a case against
two former corrections officers who lost their jobs after being
arrested and charged with possession of marijuana-infused butter.
Michael Frederick and Todd VanDoorne were charged in 2014 following an
early-morning, warrant-less search of their homes. Both were
registered under the state's medical marijuana law to use the butter
to control pain. Police allege they didn't comply with the law. They
subsequently lost their jobs in Kent County.
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LAS VEGAS -- For Hilary Dulany, long roots in Michigan and the
prospect of expanding her Oregon marijuana business are luring her
back to the Great Lakes State.
For Nancy Whiteman, the prospect of taking her business national has
her looking for partners in Michigan.
For the two women and many other entrepreneurs attending the MJ Biz
Conference in Las Vegas last week -- the pre-eminent conference where
18,500 professionals looking to get into the cannabis industry
gathered -- the common thread was Michigan's soon-to-explode marijuana
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Can you be fired in Michigan for using medical marijuana?
Joseph Casias injured his knee at the Battle Creek Wal-Mart where he
worked in 2009.
Per company policy, he took a drug test. It came back positive.
Casias had been using marijuana at home to treat pain from sinus
cancer and an inoperable brain tumor.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued on his behalf for wrongful
discharge in violation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
A U.S. District Judge sided with the company. The U.S. Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals later upheld the ruling.
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Nine years after Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative
that permits doctors to prescribe marijuana for therapeutic purposes,
state and local lawmakers are still struggling to design a regulatory
scheme that balances the interests of patients, providers and residents.
Earlier this year, Michigan legislators finally adopted a new regime
that establishes distinct licensing criteria for growing, processing,
testing, transporting and distributing the drug, which is still
forbidden by federal law, and dividing the tax revenues generated by
those activities between the state and local governments.
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Medical marijuana dispensaries would be allowed to stay open while the
state decides who will get a license for the lucrative cannabis
business under a pair of bills to be introduced in the state
Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, and Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann
Arbor, will introduce the bills in the Senate and House this week to
counteract an advisory by the state to dispensaries that they should
close before Dec. 15 or risk their chances at getting a license.
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The medical marijuana business is expected to explode next year when
the state begins to hand out licenses, and rules released Thursday by
the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs could prove to be
even more profitable for some budding marijuana entrepreneurs.
LARA said in an advisory that one person could apply for three of the
licenses -- grower, processor and dispensary -- and locate all of
those businesses in one facility.
"It's something that we've had a lot of inquiries about," said David
Harns, spokesman for LARA, as people looking to get involved in the
medical pot business get ready for Dec. 15, when applications for
licenses will become available from the state.
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Two initiatives that would amend Detroit's medical marijuana ordinance
to allow dispensaries to open near liquor stores, and grow facilities
to operate legally, will appear on the November ballot, after a Wayne
County circuit judge's ruling earlier this week.
If approved by voters in November, the changes could have a
wide-reaching impact on the city's budding marijuana industry.
Detroit corporation counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell told the Free Press
that the city respects the right of voters to decide but concerns have
been raised about the measures, particularly the one that would impact
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An explosion in a house Wednesday night in Redford Township seriously
injured three people, and police suspect it involved an explosive
marijuana processing operation.
The three people in the house when the explosion occurred, at 8:15
p.m. on the 20100 block of Woodworth, were hospitalized with
life-threatening injuries, according to a news release from Redford
A neighbor told the station she saw three men run out of the house and
"their clothes were melted off of them" after the explosion, according
to a report from Fox 2 Detroit (WJBK-TV). .
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To weed or not to weed? That is the question for Michigan's
As the state board that will regulate Michigan's new medical marijuana
law begins to craft the rules that will govern the multimillion dollar
industry, the state's cities, townships and villages must decide
whether they want in or out.
As they are making their decisions, local officials are being
bombarded with phone calls from people who want to gain a foothold in
the medical marijuana business and are promising untold riches for the
communities that let them in.
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Lansing - A member of a state board charged with creating new rules
for the virtually unregulated medical marijuana industry on Monday
called for all existing dispensaries to be shuttered until official
licenses can be doled out.
But the board tabled the issue until the Bureau of Medical Marijuana
Regulation and the office of Attorney General Bill Schuette can weigh
in after retired State Police sergeant David Bailey raised the idea.
Anxiety quickly rippled through the boardas second public hearing as
people lined up to express fear and anger that they would have to
resort to the black market to find medical marijuana.
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LANSING -- The Board of State Canvassers gave approval Thursday to a
new proposed ballot effort to amend the state constitution to fully
legalize recreational use of marijuana without taxing the drug.
The proposal from Abrogate Prohibition Michigan of Midland would
nullify all laws prohibiting or regulating the use of marijuana and
impose no fines, taxes or penalties on its use.
"I call it the Second Amendment of cannabis," sponsor Timothy Locke
told the Free Press, comparing it to the U.S. constitutional provision
granting the right to bear arms.
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An initiative to amend Detroit's medical marijuana ordinance to allow
dispensaries to operate near liquor stores, child-care centers and
parks could appear on the November ballot, after a group behind the
effort submitted thousands of signatures backing the measure.
Citizens for Sensible Cannabis spokesman Jonathan Barlow confirmed his
group submitted petitions late last month seeking to amend Chapter 24
of the city's code.
Elections Director Daniel Baxter said the group met the threshold of
required signatures and his department has since turned the initiative
over to the Detroit City Council, which is expected to consider it
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Chronic pain is a tremendous public health problem. The Institute of
Medicine estimates chronic pain affects 100 million Americans at an
estimated annual cost of $600 billion. But the rampant use of opioids
to treat chronic pain stands out as the least-defensible and
most-harmful of our maltreatments. Many U.S. physicians remain
resistant to this, though I would argue other options should be considered.
More than 14,000 Americans died in 2014 from unintentional overdose of
prescription opioids, making this the leading cause of death among
younger individuals in many states, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. Countless others continue to take
opioids not because they have meaningful pain and functional
improvement, but because they enjoy feeling numbed, or simply have not
been presented with more appropriate and helpful therapeutic options.
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Marijuana ballot campaign's donors include "Big Tobacco," say critics.
But supporters say smoke-store chain in Michigan is not typical donor.
A campaign to once again try to fully legalize marijuana in Michigan
is getting big support from a Washington D.C. nonprofit activist group
and from a tobacco store company that has talked of opening a chain of
marijuana shops in the state.
The donor list, revealed in the latest campaign finance statements
filed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, alarmed
critics who have long contended that marijuana's nationwide march
toward legalization is being funded not by the idealistic stoners and
medical-marijuana users long linked to the politics of cannabis but
instead by a pack of profit-minded investors and corporate types said
to be similar to Big Tobacco -- the nation's cigarette and cigar industry.
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Investigators found more than 87 pounds of suspected heroin Monday
during a raid at a Novi apartment, according to a federal criminal
DEA agents and the Oakland County Narcotics Investigation Team entered
the Brownstones apartment complex unit shortly after 9:30 a.m. on the
42200 block of Joyce Lane to find three men inside, along with eight
bricks of a light-brown substance on a table in plain sight, according
to the complaint from special agent Michael Reamer in U.S. District
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Auditors uncovered what a prison spokesman called "terrible" and
"unacceptable" failures to conduct contraband searches of inmates,
cells and staff.
The Michigan Department of Corrections said Thursday it may take
disciplinary action after auditors uncovered what a prison spokesman
called "terrible" and "unacceptable" failures to conduct contraband
searches of inmates, cells and staff at a women's prison.
Auditor General Doug Ringler said during two five-day periods last
year, the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti did
not conduct or document nearly a quarter of the required cell searches
and prisoner shakedowns. Using surveillance video, auditors also found
that 58 of 170 required cell searches were not backed up by the
footage -- meaning they were potentially falsified.
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Could Michigan be next to legalize marijuana? The stars are aligning,
say fans of legal cannabis.
After a flubbed effort last year, supporters of marijuana legalization
in Michigan can celebrate reaching a milestone at a posh $250-a-plate
fund-raiser Thursday night.
Their new petition drive has gathered 100,000 signatures in just six
weeks, putting the campaign well ahead of schedule and giving leaders
reason to believe that this year's petition drive will manage to put
the legalization question on Michigan ballots, spokesman Josh Hovey
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Wayne police say the man had taken a toy dragon head from a local park
and turned it into a marijuana pipe.
A 19-year-old Wayne man faces criminal charges after police say he
stole a dragon head from a playground and turned it into a marijuana
Wayne police say [name redacted] was recently arrested and charged
with larceny -- $1,000 or more and malicious destruction of
property -- $1,000 or more. The charges stem from an incident Wayne
police responded to on Christmas Day in 2015.
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Detroit's crackdown on illegally operating medical marijuana
dispensaries has shuttered 167 shops since the city's regulation
efforts began last year and dozens more are expected.
Detroit corporation counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell told the Free Press
that 283 dispensaries were identified last year, all of which were
"None of them were operating lawfully," Hollowell said. "At the time I
sent a letter to each one of them indicating that unless you have a
fully licensed facility, you are operating at your own risk."
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Over a 12-hour period in Beverly Hills, two sisters and a boyfriend of one
of the them were rushed to the hospital after accidentally overdosing on
Police say all three are lucky to be alive.
"The boy was the luckiest," said Detective Sgt. Lee Davis of the Beverly
Hills Public Safety Department. "Two of our detectives went to his house
about the two prior overdoses and they found him totally unresponsive and
all alone. If they didn't show up, this probably would have been a totally
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