Michigan citizens voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2008. The majority of citizens in every county in the entire state citizens 50% or more of voters said yes to Proposal 1. Now, cities and communities across the state are trying to stop patients from being able to find quality medication in a safe retail environment. The moratorium against medical marijuana facilities which many cities are placing on medical marijuana businesses happens because some people have found this is a way to deny the voters’ their rights. By placing moratoriums these cities are stopping patients from having access to a safe location to purchase their medicine.
Every citizen uses local pharmacies because they want to purchase a quality product in a safe environment. Opponents of legalized medical marijuana are using these moratoriums as a way to prevent patients from obtaining the medicine they need in a safe retail environment. I have heard all kinds of unrealistic reasons for these moratoriums. The one that upsets me most is when people say we don’t want these businesses in our community because they associate medical marijuana patients with criminals, degenerates, and other horrible terms. Most patients are well educated and have serious illnesses. It is a disgrace for citizens to judge patients in such a harsh and harmful fashion.
It seems cities across the state are divided. There are cities which have placed moratoriums and cities who are working with the patients, caregivers, and all advocates to help create a safe environment for patients. In Washtenaw Co. and specifically the city of Ann Arbor the city council and planning commission have taken a stance which we believe is patient friendly. They are requiring patient care faculties to operate with common sense and they are working to give the voters what they want. Cities reviewing options for medical marijuana facilities rather than pushing moratoriums include Ann Arbor, Dearborn Heights, and Traverse City; much less than the number of cities imposing moratoriums.
In other cities the local governing authorities are doing everything in their power to scare patients, instill fear in the community, and insight people to view patients as a lower class of citizen unworthy of being seen in public. Cities imposing moratoriums are large in numbers, which many attribute to a lack of willingness to accept voters’ wishes; they include cities such as Marine City, Chelsea, Livonia, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Flint, Emmett County and Kalkaska.
They want patients to hide in a black market culture and die in this underground world; because they need medicine. Moratoriums force patients into an impossible situation where they are forced to deal with people caring for only a few patients in an underground environment rather than reliable businesses with regulations and standards. It is not OK to turn our backs on patients after legalizing medical marijuana; the law says 5 patients to 1 caregiver it does not say they can not open a store to do so; nor, does it state how operations are to occur. It seems Proposal 1 was only Step 1; advocates will have to continue to meet with the city councils, planning commission, and any legislative or executive group willing to learn and understand the truth of medical marijuana. Government officials are needed on the side of patients.
Moratoriums need to be stopped; cities need to start preparing to regulate this new market. Medical marijuana patients are providing Michigan with new businesses, jobs, and taxes which the State desperately needs. Regardless how people feel personally about marijuana the fact is that the voters approved it and now we need to continue modifying, improving, and expanding the legal rights of patients, caregivers, and those who provide a safe location for patients to purchase medication. There is a misconception about the dangers these facilities will bring to an area. Many patients are scared to stand up and identify themselves fearing persecution; therefore, you may not realize the people you admire in your community are patients.
Chuck Ream has been successful in the city of the city of Ann Arbor working with the planning commission along with many others. He has been an advocate for many years and has recently addressed the planning commission with many others so that patients voices would be heard and to stop a moratorium that would stop access to dispensaries which the citizens of the city are demanding. While others cities are not as well organized, speaking out as loudly, or working with such a well laid out plan as the one in Ann Arbor; this is truly a big step in the fight for freedom which we should all praise Chuck Ream and all the others for their devotion to patients and humanity.
It was pointed out during this particular meeting by Gersh Avery that the city attorney who has taken up the moriturium is not an elected official. This doesn’t seem right to many in the community. The main issue which the planning commission seems to have is a need to control the number of dispensaries and the locations in order to prevent some issues previously seen in California cities. While it may be smart to learn from those who went before you it is not ok to do so at the expense of the patients.
As the cities of Michigan battle their way through the coming legal issues I hope everyone will take a look a the truly ill people who need this medication. It is a proven scientific fact that marijuana has medical value and is good for the body. We must stop the harassment of our fellow brothers and sisters. We can not waste the few tax dollars we have locking up patients with serious illnesses. We can’t have cops harassing patients on the tax payer’s dime. We must be compassionate, we must realize someday it may be me. Most importantly, we must think about our economy!