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Michigan Legislators And Canadian Marijuana: A Love Story


safer michigan marijuanaWhen it comes to lobbyists hawking Canadian companies and their interests in Michigan’s potential pot market, Rep. Michael Callton’s not mincing words.

“There are a couple of Canadian companies that are (medical marijuana) providers for the country of Canada with very large central grows that have got their eye on us over here. They’ve talked to legislators. They’ve talked to me,” he said during the February 5th broadcast of the Planet Green Trees Radio Show, featuring hosts Michael Komorn, Rick Thompson and Jamie Lowell.

At issue is the nature of the supply base in Michigan’s medical marijuana marketplace. Currently any legal medical marijuana growing operation in the state cannot exceed 72 plants, but that model is a poor way for business interests to make serious money growing and selling cannabis to the state’s sick and disabled. The state has approx. 120,000 registered patients and 20,000 Michigan residents called caregivers who are licensed and registered to grow cannabis on their behalf.

Consequently, business interests from around the United States and Canada are lining up to push Lansing legislators to allow mega-sized ‘central grow’ operations containing thousands of marijuana plants, which would be licensed by a select few. Interests have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence Michigan legislators, and Prairie Plant Systems even flew a cadre of lawmakers to a Canadian mega-marijuana growing operation.

“I do know there are some other legislators writing bills on behalf of some other interests that are interested in ‘central grow,’ but my bill is designed to take the marijuana, to buy it from the caregiver,” Callton said.

His bill is known as the Provisioning Centers Act- formerly referred to by House designation HB 4271. Callton is re-introducing his bill for the 2015-16 legislative session during a press conference on Thursday. Who supplies the marijuana sold by the state’s current 150+ semi-legal dispensaries- and the state-sanctioned Provisioning Centers that Callton’s bill would create- is the bone of contention between state-based patient organizations and Lansing lobbyists, including Chuck Perricone and GCSI’s Ken Cole.

Perricone represents giant agribusiness entity Prairie Plant Systems from Canada, who successfully pushed the Michigan legislature to pass the Pharmaceutical Grade Marihuana Act in 2013. The bill was expedited through the legislature in a lightning-fast three months thanks to its well-connected pair of sponsors, former Senators Roger Kahn and past Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

Once marijuana is federally removed from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances List, the Pharmaceutical Grade Marihuana Act would create a whole new system of marijuana growing and selling in Michigan that  utilizes ‘central grow’-style mega pot plantations and Walmart/Rite-Aid type big box pharmacies for distribution.

The whole concept of outsourcing pot growing to foreign interests is the opposite approach from the Provisioning Centers Act. “In my bill,” Callton explained, “it is the intention that (distribution centers) buy their supply as overages from the caregivers. The Provisioning Center is supplied by overage.”

Overage is the term used to describe the excess pot created by Michigan residents who qualify to become licensed and registered medical marijuana producers. “A caregiver can grow up to twelve plants for each patient,” Jamie Lowell explained. “If that garden produces more than the patient needs, the caregiver can bring it to a distribution center for use by other patients. Without this system the overages would be diverted into a system that supports the black market and unregistered marijuana users.” The current system in use by dispensaries all across Michigan is to acquire cannabis through the caregiver network, a program that has worked successfully since the medical marijuana program was written into law more than five years ago.

Callton outed the Canadians as manipulating the Michigan legislature to achieve a market advantage. Case in point: The Pharmaceutical Grade Marihuana Act, formerly known as Senate Bill 660.

“All Senate Bill 660 did was, in the case that marijuana comes off Schedule 1, then it defined a type of product called medical-grade marijuana and what the specifications of that were. This was put forward by Prairie Plant Systems and their lobbyist,” Callton explained. “They did want to compete in that market, and their product would be more expensive. They didn’t want others calling their marijuana medical grade marijuana if it did not reach these specifications, because it would be more expensive.”

This information came from first-hand knowledge. “I had a good talk with them. They thought they could compete for 20% of the market approximately based on what they saw in Canada. If there was an open market system, that 20% of the market would pay extra to have this (pharmaceutical) grade. They just wanted to protect the qualifications of that grade so that other growers who weren’t growing at that grade weren’t saying they had medical grade and selling it for (a lower price).”

Senate Bill 660, and the Public Act that came from it, was a thick proposal that articulated permissions for a range of activity which would be protected from prosecution by state authorities and federal agents as well. “It was more than just creating the definition of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis. It envisioned an entire procedure where it was cultivated and distributed. It was a very broad act,” Rick Thompson reminded the Representative and the listeners.

“Over in Canada the growers I have met with, basically they have very large grows and they distribute through courier,” Callton said. “They don’t have Provisioning Centers.” Callton describing the Canadian model of medical marijuana government regulation that includes cannabis stored in warehouses, zapped with radiation and then delivered via UPS or Fed Ex to patients nationwide. Michigan’s Pharmaceutical Grade Marihuana Act requires all marijuana distributed via that program to be irradiated prior to sale and consumption by patients, a provision that many advocates detest.

Source: TheCompassionChronicles.Com


About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.


  1. What are you talking about? Canada allows patients to self grow. And they also have massive government and private business funded central grows. The result is the green thumbs out there grow their own and the people without the room, time, and know how go to the dispensary and buy the same exact strain Michigan dispensaries have for half the price, literally. I can get an ounce of blue dream or OG or GSC, or any other strain, here for C$160. And at the current exchange rate that’s only US$112. And it is every bit as potent and covered in trichomes. United States citizens(notice I did not say Americans) are sometimes the dumbest and easily misguided idiots I’ve ever met, and I am one…I see hundreds of people on Facebook every day who still think marijuana gives you brain damage and cancer…and the gateway drug thing…lmao. And of all the people campaigning for the next presidential election…there is only one who outright supports and PLANS for the full legalization and end of this ridiculous prohibition of one of nature’s most beneficial, healthy gifts. And people think HE is the guy with a screw loose? If we had modeled our federal health care after Canada’s instead of “Obama care”, millions of Americans would not be calling 20 doctors just to find one that accepts Obama Care…doctors that children on medicaid went to before that no longer accept the insurance and send you away. And what’s worse is that if my employer doesn’t cover my insurance but the government decides I can afford my own $900/mth cobra plan…they will not give me any free coverage under Obama Care and also FINE me at tax time for not having insurance, and possibly impose jail time. How the f is this freedom…freedom to give 25% of your money to a landlord or you can go homeless if you own no property… Freedom to pay 10% or more to taxes if they see you actulaly can afford everything one needs in life. Freedom to pay 10% for food that is far from healthy, or 30% on food that’s fresh, healthy, and organic, free of chemicals and GMOs, while the most of the rest of the world has already banned GMOs and demand food that is not chemically engineered. freedom to pay 10-50% on health care. freedom to pay 10% or whatever a car insurance company decides you should pay, based on a group your demographics place you in (including your credit score). The typical minimum for minimum coverage is $60-80/mth, mine avgs $800/6mths, a little under 10% of my income…or I can walk or pay a driver for everywhere I go. Now, I’ve been driving for 21 years, my drivers license is old enough to get wasted drunk, yet in 21 years I’ve not been the cause of a claim…my insurance is supposed to protect me from myself if I mess up, what a joke. I’ve spent enough on car insurance to buy a f’n model S, but since I have paid that money to someone else to say “I’m covered, should I forget how to drive”…I drive a beater car that’s cost less than my insurance premium itself. Freedom to go to college and learn, but if you can’t afford to pay $100+ per hour of the instructors time(who is also teaching 10-20-50 students at the same time and receives only a very small portion of said tuition), you are also free to take out loans that you will be repaying on your ENTIRE life…or you are free to try your hand at one of the professions that you will always be at the bottom of the food chain and hope you stumble up the ladder. What’s really fucked up about it all…is that we potentially have a political system that should prevent the corporatized rape of our God Given Human Rights and allow us to easily rectify the unbalances scales of freedom and justice…we as Humans have a Right to fair, affordable, housing. We have a Right to be Educated in order to become productive members of our society. We have a Right to travel and to obtain means of travel within today and tomorrow’s methods. We have a Right to sow whatever seed we wish in soil for whatever purpose we wish (with regards to our own body’s) in soil owned and in our possession, for whatever purposes, recreational, medicinal, spiritual, or other purpose we wish. We have a Right to live and breath air. We have a Right to drink water, and the Government system should protect that water and air more than they protect their gold. We have a Right to go forth and prosper and multiply within our own means, to teach our children to see the world through their Parents’ eyes and not necessarily society’s. We have a right to bear children without a price tag or minimum income before having our children tore from our arms for lack of income. We have a Right to believe whatever we wish to believe and practice our beliefs (again, with regards to one’s own body and self, and not directly infringing another’s rights). We as humans have a right to privacy of one’s own thoughts and possessions within the walls and boundries of our own property. We have a Right to be treated equally, irregardless of ANY demographic one might use to label or segregate one human from another. We have a right to be offended or tempted by another human beings use of their rights, we also have a right to walk the fuck away from someone else who’s practicing their rights if it offend us. We have many more rights…and in the United States, since the World Wars, history has noticed something strange about the United States…we have a made a century of history of everyone coagulating into groups and deciding what they don’t like about another group, then paying politicians (publically no less) to make laws for society to treat them as criminals…forcing people to live their way and pay this or that before you can do this or that legally…outlawing this or that completely and stripping ones dignity, property, livelihood, and freedom. The United States has allowed corporations and dirty politicians to destroy our Constitution. We spit on the Bill of Rights daily, ignoring the admendment that basically says anything NOT covered in the bill of rights is to be self governed at the state, local, and even residential levels within respects of not violating a constitutional right of another. Basically saying if something comes up we didn’t think of, then “a man’s home is his castle” (that’s the saying PC people, I’m not a misogynist, it is meant universally, if you are offended, get over it) as long as this law doesn’t violate another human’s own rights. We ignore the roots of our four father and the Declaration of Independence, which instills pride in hearts and patriotism for humanity. It holds great value on Freedom above all else, yet is printed on a paper that has since been outlawed to grow its source. What does it mean when the United States of America outlaws the source of its own freedom? We lose our freedom. So I see a man ignorantly complaining about Canada’s laws as I sit here in Canada after becoming jealous that they are further ahead of the US in health care reform, holistic medicinal laws, education funding, and many many other things that we in the US just seem deadset on drawing out to the bitter end…the war on drugs puts brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and family in general in jail for smoking a plant…a plant that can cure illnesses, a plant that can feed, clothe, and house you…a plant that can fuel your car or even create your car from the soil, water, and sun itself…I was a victim of the war on drugs. At a youthful age, DARE, the government, and local school systems convinced me my family members were evil, dangerous criminals…because of a personal choice of lifestyle that’s misunderstood by ignorance. These family members never killed, maimed, or robbed anoyone. And me a little kid running around wishimg my own family memebers would go to jail and get help. Lmao….what help has a prison ever given a pothead? The war on drugs has spent billions of dollars to uproot good people and steal property from them only to redistribute it among the legally wealthy. The war on drugs created jobs for people who’s only purpose in society…is to hold others back. What kind of governments make laws knowing a certain group will be the majority of offenders? The war on drugs is a mockery, it is yet another loophole for the government to hold back the poor, hold back the minority’s, hold back those without. Do the research and you tell me how many drug war inmates are either poor or a minority…I already know its the majority. Find out yourself. Also do a little research to find out whar percentages of drug war inmates are in for marijuana compared to harmful drugs, again…the majority. Our officers have lost the respect of the people, they are not our protectors, but our persecutors. Yet I have never put in my body a substance that would kill me if misused, I have never sold another human being a substance that they could overdose on, or were likely to become addicted to…but yet some of the world’s richest people make millions daily dealing out prescribed, legal substances that are nothing more than posions that can and DO kill thousands. Stop corporate greed and corruption. Take back the Constitution, take back our Declaration of Independence, take back our freedom! Make the United States of America for Americans again. Start by looking toward the Americans who are a step ahead of US in this regard…the Canadians…instead of ignorantly criticizing them…and finish by beating them to full on legalization.

  2. Wake the f**k up Michigan card holders and farmers! As soon as prairie plant systems shows they can grow enough to supply us.A bill will be passed to stop all caregivers from growing,look what happened in Canada.20% of the market is bull PPS wants !00%.If we dont stop this now, we will buying our meds from wall mart at $25.00 per gram.PPS at 5% thc and its crap smoke.

  3. So long as there is competition allowed, all product should be welcome. That said, it would be fairly interesting to allow across the border trafficking. There is a legal precedent in that muddied water that could make for some very interesting court cases being dismissed or overturned.

  4. Why would you want Marijuana treated with radiation? Why would we want a (no offense to our neighbors ) Canadian company controlling Marijuana in our state. If mega grow can operate than so can small grow be allowed to increase capacity. Just because some major grow company can take our politicians over so they can sample products in secret ( you know the did) who there is going to tell? This doesn’t mean that mega grow should be here. What we need to do is legalize and let ourselves grow.

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