LANSING, MI — Michigan lawmakers and law enforcement officials are hoping to find common ground on long-debated bills that would allow for regulated medical marijuana dispensaries and edible medical marijuana products.
Similar legislation passed the House by wide margins last session before flaming out in the Senate. But new bills, reintroduced in February, appear to have more momentum.
“I do believe that it’s possible that by the end of the year, we’ll have laws in place to ensure everyone has a safe product they can get at a dispensary,” said state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Something they know has not been sprayed with bug spray or has mold on it.”
Jones, a former Eaton County Sheriff, has been critical of Michigan’s medical marijuana law and has voiced concerns with dispensary legislation in the past.
But Jones said his office is now working with the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and other law enforcement groups “to see if there’s something they can support.”
Both groups opposed similar dispensary and medical edible legislation last year, circulating a letter to lawmakers in December as the Senate considered taking up the bills during the lame-duck session.
“Our meetings have been fruitful. There’s been a healthy dialogue about treating medical marijuana as more of a pharmaceutical,” said Terrance Jungel, a former Ionia County Sheriff now serving as executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association. “If you’re going to call it a medical product, then treat it as a pharmaceutical and have strict controls.”
State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, who reintroduced dispensary legislation in February, worked on the proposal with Michigan State Police last session but made it a point to reach out to other law enforcement groups earlier in the process this time.
“I’ve been working on these bills four years. That’s how long it took me to get my master’s degree,” Callton said Tuesday. “It’s become one of the epic tasks of my life. It has been metamorphic and dynamic. These are not the same bills we started with.”
(File photo) Jamie Fricke, operator of Holistic Earth in Davison, and state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, stands inside the medical marijuana dispensary.Roberto Acosta | MLive.com
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