Marijuana has been in the decriminalization process since 1973 with many states over the years passing laws to either authorize the use of marijuana or prohibit it. It is time to stop treating marijuana like a deadly drug, when science and public opinion agree that it is relatively safe for adult recreational and medical use. With recreational and medical marijuana on the verge of nationwide legalization, marijuana growers and dispensaries are popping up everywhere.
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A group of Democratic lawmakers in Michigan have introduced a bill that seeks to release prisoners convicted of certain types of marijuana crimes.
House Bill 6508 would create a release process for convicts if they are in prison for the use, possession or distribution of marijuana if they meet certain conditions.
The bill also seeks to reduce the sentence for other marijuana crimes. It was introduced by state representatives Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit; Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores; Robert Wittenberg, D-Oak Park; Ronnie Peterson, D-Ypsilanti; Tom Cochran, D-Mason; Tenisha Yancey, D-Harper Woods; Mary Rose Robinson, D-Detroit; Leslie Love, D-Detroit; and Sheldon Neeley, D-Flint.
It’s one of four bills have been introduced regarding marijuana during the first week of the Michigan legislature lame duck session.
Voters passed Proposal 1 — legalizing adult use of marijuana — with 56 percent of the vote. Though it has yet to go into effect, lawmakers are proposing both criminal justice reforms and significant changes to the program.
Lame duck — the time between the November election and the end of the legislative term — is notorious for dramatic legislative action. Michigan’s state House of Representatives and Senate are scheduled to meet nine more times before the end of the year.
Of the four bill that have been introduced, the most significant has come from outgoing Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, which would gut the tax revenue from Proposal 1 and eliminate home grows.
Here are the bills:
Senate Bill 1200
This bill would amend Public Act 213 of 1965 to allow offenders convicted of multiple violations possession of a controlled substance to apply to have their records cleared of those crimes.
It was introduced Nov. 27 by senators Steven Bieda, D-Warren; Ian Conyers, D-Detroit; Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing and Coleman Young II, D-Detroit.
It’s identical to Identical to House Bill 6227 that was introduced in June by Democrats and is still in the Committee on Law and Justice. Senate Bill 1200 is now before the Committee on Judiciary.
Senate Bill 1243
Sponsored by Sen. Meekhof Nov. 29, the bill seeks sweeping changes to Proposal 1. The bill proposes cutting the excise tax rate from 10 percent to three percent, changing the recipients of the tax revenue, eliminating a micro grower’s license and adding a licensing board.
Much of the bill attempts to make the recreational marijuana program more like the state’s medical marijuana program — with the exception of home grows. Though medical patients and caregivers are allowed to grow marijuana at home, the bill would strip out the provision in Proposal 1 that allows individuals to grow up to 12 plants at home.
House Bill 6500
Introduced Nov. 27 by House Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., this bill would amend the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act of 2016 to make it a misdemeanor crime to operate a medical marijuana business without a license.
Violators could face fines up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 93 days. The bill was referred to the Committee on Law and Justice and is up for a second reading.
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.