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Michigan Senate Committee Approves Harmful Medical Marijuana Bill


michigan medical marijuanaLANSING- After a single hearing, a bill has passed a Michigan Senate Committee that would restrict licensed and registered medical marijuana patients from certain uses of the medicinal herb on private property. The bill would amend the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) and also includes language that disadvantages those patients in landlord/tenant disputes, empowering landlords to essentially forbid any use or possession of medicinal marijuana.

SB 783 passed the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The bill was introduced to the Senate only one week earlier; Senator Rick Jones (R- Grand Ledge), the Judiciary Committee Chairman,  co-sponsored the legislation along with fellow Republican Sen. Jim Marleau (R- Lake Orion).

Most- but not all- of the citizens who spoke at the meeting opposed the bill.

SB 783 would prevent medical marijuana patients from smoking cannabis in any area of their private property that can be viewed by the public. That would include rooms with glass windows, screened porches, in yards or even in fields that are hundreds of feet away from an adjacent property.

The main focus of the debate held between the three-panel Judiciary and the citizens in attendance surrounded the rights of patients against the commercial interest of landlords who wish to deny rental agreements to medical marijuana patients.

Josey Scoggins, the energetic activist from Lansing who has fostered a relationship with the Senators and Supreme Court Justices, described some of those who testified in support of the Jones bill as “very confused as to why they were there. Case law exists; it (the bill) is repetitive.”

Scoggins was the first cannabis advocate to testify during the hearing. “They all said their leases had held up in court cases against tenants,” she told TCC. “Some said they had read the Attorney General’s Opinion letter. They were confused as to the purpose of the bill.”

Although those testifying on behalf of the landlord organizations were uncertain as to the need to amend theMMA to address issues specific to marijuana-related activity, others were quite clear about their support of Senator Jones. “I’ve seen tenants from hell,” said Tim Beck, of Detroit, himself a landlord. “Some of these people are so manipulative, so out of control. They are deadbeats. Most of them are deadbeats… Unfortunately there are all kinds of abusive people, including marijuana growers, people who will take advantage (of landlords) if they can…”

Beck is a principal in the pro-marijuana legalization organization Safer Michigan Coalition; nevertheless he is a longtime staunch supporter of Rick Jones and is his primary advocate in the medical marijuana community- often times, Beck is the Senator’s only advocate.

Beck further supported the legislation by saying, “The way things are structured now, it’s a ticking time bomb. When you have this difference between the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and this property thing… I’m surprised the lawsuits haven’t already hit.”

Violations of this proposed law could be severe. According to MLive: “Under the Public Health Code, unsanctioned possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Use is punishable by up to 90 days in prison and/or a fine of $100.”

The bill’s discriminatory nature- punishing legal smokers for marijuana use while not punishing legal cigarette smokers- was a theme of the debate and was an issue Beck raised as well.

“I find it philosophically difficult… you can ban marijuana and have people smoking cigarettes. People are medical marijuana patients- it’s healthy. People who are smoking cigarettes, they are not doing it for their health.” Beck concluded with a suggestion to amend the bill. “I’d like to have a thing where all smoking is banned… perfect, no problem at all.”

Jones said he would “Consider adding that on the floor” as an amendment during the upcoming Senate debate on the bill. One modification to the bill was considered and adopted in Committee; Sen. Steven Bieda (D- St. Clair Shores), the Committee’s lone Democrat, suggested an amendment while commenting on the testimony given by Denise Pollicella of Cannabis Attorneys of Mid-Michigan.

Pollicella agreed during post-testimony questioning that landlords should have the right to ban marijuana use in their properties by renters, but stated the change should not come via an alteration of the MMA but as a change to existing landlord-tenant law. Bieda’s amendment inserted the requirement for the landlord’s prohibition of marijuana use to be written into the lease agreement; that amendment was adopted unanimously, as was the bill.

Scoggins reports that there were “four or five” organizations in attendance that supported the Jones bill, and she praised the Senator for holding a meeting that honored both sides of the argument. Other advocates that provided testimony include Detroit attorney Thomas Lavigne; Robin Schneider, legislative liaison for theNational Patients Rights Association; and Brandy Zink, who spoke as a representative of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access.

Citizens typically are given two opportunities to comment publicly on any bill being considered in a Michigan legislative Committee. These Committees are the only opportunity voters have to speak directly to the elected officials who are to approve or reject the legislation; once passed out of Committee public testimony is ended for that bill’s life in that legislative house.

Committee Chairpersons have the option to limit public input by passing any bill with a single hearing. SB 783 was considered along with four other bills in the Tuesday Judiciary session- a session that was scheduled for one-half hour of debate. At the end of the Committee meeting Jones read off the list of people that had filled out comment/speaking cards but were not allowed to address the Committee due to the abbreviated session. Steven and Maria Green of Lansing, the parents of Baby Bree, were among those denied the chance to speak.

The bill’s path mimics that of SB 660, a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R- Monroe) in 2013. Richardville introduced the bill to his own Committee, gave it a single hearing one week later and passed it. SB 660, referred to as the pot-for-pharmacies bill, was passed by the Michigan Senate, had a Committee hearing in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by the Governor within two months time total.

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. Brian Richards on

    A law that allows people to stare into the windows of anybody is just plain creepy. This attempts to make sex perverts, who are preying upon and peeping at our children, into police informants.

    This law provides peeping tom perverts a defense for their crime, allowing them to falsely claim the child’s parents were smoking marijuana and and allowing them to get away with the most evil of behavior.

    Please note if your state Senator voted for this ugly law and write your local paper how your Senator just made life a lot easier for perverts.

  2. This may be a dumb question, but why is it that Florida had a petition and got so many signatures on it, enough to get medical marijuana on the ballot… Why can’t we (Michigan), or any other state do the same, but for recreational? Have people sign a petition to get it on the ballot?

  3. dennis shelton on

    If thy are inside their house and smoking , how would anyone know what they are smoking w/ out having the police just storm the house kick in the door and haul the offender and their doobie to jail? And furthermore, why is it that when the VOTERS pass a BALLOT INITIATIVE for a PARTICULAR thing their state legislature will then turn right around and vote to change the whole thing to suit THEIR POLITICAL ENDS. DON”T YOU PEOPLE HAVE ANY GUTS IN THIS COUNTRY ANYMORE? Is it just TOO cold to go down to the state CAPITAL and PROTEST! If you did it then maybe those politicians would have thought twice about changing things w/ out your permission. It’s just ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF RELIGIOUS POLITICIANS DOING THINGS LATE AT NIGHT BEHIND YOUR BACKS!!!!!! YOU SHOULD BE OUTRAGED!!!!!……….What’s up? Don’t you have enough GRANDSTANDING REPORTERS TO COUNTER YOUR GRANDSTANDING POLITICIANS!!

  4. We the people voted in our law and requires more than a f*cking senate bill to change it you suit wearing motherfu$kers

  5. I think that violates the MMP voted in by the people of MI and needs a special vote to change it. Politicians are reckless

  6. Derek James von Oetinger on

    Wouldn’t that violate the federal law that protects people with medical disabilities. It is unconstitutional in several areas.

  7. Had a neighbor a couple years back, constantly smoking throughout the day sitting out in his yard, not a big deal to me, but I heard complaints from other neighbors about the smell. So many have no respect for others an this is what we get

  8. “Michigan Supreme Court rules local laws can’t ban medical marijuana”

    Why would you turn right around after a ruling like this by the Supreme Court and try to ban marijuana from being used by a medical patient for any reason?

  9. Total rubbish. Generalizations. This is freedom? Can my neighbor who may not like me just lie and say i was seen smoking cannabis? How would they know it’s not tobacco in a pipe? This is hilarious.
    Don’t fear these clowns. They are old and scared.
    Let’s make feeble and cancer ridden individuals have another worry. They should have to get out of bed and check all the blinds or curtains are closed beforere relieving any pain. Mr. Jones maybe will come do that for the ill because he is so sympathetic.
    I think the good Lord is appalled by such evil to sick people, and those who worry more about property than humans.

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