Allowing “Medical” Marijuana Dispensaries in Michigan? Police and Sheriffs are Opposed

The Michigan Legislature is considering two bills right now:  HB 4271 and HB 5104 which seek to legalize dispensaries and allow edible, topical andintro liquid forms of marijuana to be sold.  The Michigan Chiefs of Police and the Michigan Sheriffs Associations are on record as opposed.  By now I think everyone knows that “medical” marijuana  is no different from any other kind of marijuana.  It is still against federal law so there are no prescriptions to be written for marijuana because it can’t be sold in regular pharmacies.  I think that it is also pretty well-known that legalization proponents have used the “medical” aspect as a route toward recreational legalization.  I don’t know how you feel about the issue but here are some things to consider from the chiefs and sheriffs, the people responsible for enforcing laws:

  • Is a person approved to operate a provisioning center required to be a medical marihuana patient or caregiver? If not, then it is far easier to become a distributer rather than a customer, turning common sense and logic on its head
  • Can a convicted drug felon invest in or own a controlling interest in a provisioning center? The proposal only prohibits a convicted drug dealer from being an officer, employee, agent, board member, or operator.
  •  Does the prohibition in the proposed law against any search or inspection by a state official immunize a provisioning center from tax audits, state health and food inspections, or criminal investigation by the State Police?
  •  How will the local regulation of the amount of marihuana purchased from a registered patient or caregiver be meaningful if the patient or caregiver is selling to multiple provisioning centers?
  •  The bill limits the amount of marihuana a distributor can sell to a particular patient or caregiver. The ability of a patient or caregiver to make purchases from multiple provisioning centers renders this limitation meaningless.
  •  While records must be maintained identifying purchasers of marihuana, why are similar records not required for the identification of the marihuana suppliers? Without strict inventory control and record keeping, a provisioning center can easily become a front for an organized drug operation.
  •  Since State/Local Police are prohibited from conducting any inspections or given any authority under this bill, a person making home deliveries for medical marihuana patients could literally have kilos of marihuana in their possession but could not confirm the fact due to the confidentiality in the identity of the customers. This regulatory system will inevitably lead to provisioning centers being used as a front for the illegal distribution of illegal drugs.
  •  The People of the State of Michigan voted to help people with debilitating conditions and illnesses have access to medical marihuana, not create a legalized for-profit marihuana industry. HB 4271 allows for the profiteering of a schedule 1 controlled substance that is still prohibited by federal law.

  HB 4271 and HB 5104 do not adequately provide for patient and child safety.

  •  The proposed legislation doubles the amount of marihuana that a caregiver and a patient can possess. There is no adequate testing procedure to monitor the potency of marihuana in solid, liquid, or gaseous form.
  •  There are also no standards for the THC content of these items. Consequently, one item may contain 5% THC, while another may contain 20% THC. In Colorado, six teenage death are directly attributable to this issue.
  •  The legislation makes no attempt to stop the marketing of marijuana or marijuana products to children. The federal government, anti-tobacco groups, and a lawsuit pressured R. J. Reynolds into stopping the use of the cartoon character “Joe Camel” in its advertising because of the cartoon’s appeal to children.   Different strains of marijuana are sold under child appealing names such as “Jilly Bean”, “Bubble Berry”, “Sweet Island Skunk”, “Maui Wowie”, “Chocolope”, “Black Berry”, “Afghan Sweet Delicious”, “Wonder Woman”, “Razzle Dazzle”, “Hawaiian Punch”, “Orange Kush”.

    No proposed regulation as food products or protection for children
    No proposed regulation as food products or protection for children

 As a Federal Schedule 1 drug, should not it be mandated that this be dispensed only in child proof containers?

 pot tarts The Act provides no meaningful deterrence for violators while providing a lucrative marihuana distribution business.

  •  The proposed legislation allows “provisioning centers” to deal in mass quantities of marihuana, with lucrative profits with little to no regulatory oversight. Within the Act there are seventeen potential violations with enumerated penalties. The majority of those violations are simple civil infractions. One is a misdemeanor. Four can be charged under the Public Health Code however, circumvention of the law will not be difficult because the Act contains prohibitions from search or inspection and seizures by law enforcement officers or state regulatory agencies.


  • In a good faith effort to help patients experiencing difficulty obtaining medical marihuana, this bill creates a statutory proposal that is extreme in its lack of regulation or control.   It provides an avenue for organized drug dealers to engage in their illegal activities under the guise of a legitimate business.

You may want to contact your legislator or click on this link to see the sponsoring legislators and share their thoughts on these bills.


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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.