In The News – 2018

January 4, 2018

JANUARY


January 4, 2018

http://michiganradio.org/post/trump-administration-clears-way-federal-marijuana-enforcement

Trump administration clears the way for federal marijuana enforcement

Michigan marijuana legalization advocates are protesting the change in policy. “When it comes to state-based medical and adult use marijuana programs in America, you can’t put the smoke back in the joint. You cannot undo what has already been done,” says Rick Thompson, a member of the Board of Directors with MI Legalize.

Thompson urges patients, caregivers, and business owners to continue participating in legal marijuana sales in Michigan until the new federal policy is translated into action.

“The Sessions policy change is really the worst example of a lose-lose situation ever,” says Thompson. “On the one hand, people will face federal prison in 2018 for things they did legally in 2017. And on the other hand, it makes ripe the opportunity for state-based legal challenges of federal marijuana policies and enforcement tactics, which will cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Jeff Sessions may not know it, but starting a war with the states over the legitimacy of federal drug policy is the best way to end federal marijuana prohibition.”

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January 4, 2018

https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2018/01/04/sessions-announces-crackdown-on-states-with-legal-pot

Sessions opens doors for marijuana crackdown on states with legal pot

“The recent victory by the Kettle Falls Five in Washington proved that the Obama-era policy provided bright-line regulations for federal prosecutors,” Rick Thompson of advocacy group MI Legalize tells Metro Times by email. “Removing those regulations while so many states are adopting or successfully managing cannabis programs not in compliance with national policy is a huge step backward. It illustrates the vast disconnect that exists between the Trump administration in Washington, D.C. and voters, the real people in places nationwide who chose to knowingly give permission to their people to violate federal law.”

He adds, “Doubling down on a failed drug policy is a bad bet; maybe Sessions should talk to a gambling aversion counselor the next time he visits a Trump casino property.”

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January 5, 2018

It may sound like a nightmare for law enforcement. But police are generally happy to keep marijuana money out of banks. That is because “asset-forfeiture” laws allow them to seize cash and, astonishingly, pocket much of it for their departments, even if they merely suspect it of including proceeds from crime. (Cars, homes, and other goods can also be taken, but cash requires less paperwork.) The police do not need to prove that the cash is from crime, or charge that a crime has been committed. Police in Detroit now take so much cash from Michigan’s pot dispensaries that their number has fallen from roughly 500 two years ago to about 200 today, says Rick Thompson, owner of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, a conference organiser in Flint. Sometimes the money can be recovered, but this requires a lot of time and money, as well as a judge who can be amenable to the victim of the asset forfeiture. Pot businesses are only “legal” at state levels, so cash from marijuana is by definition illegal federally. Mr Timpner says that police departments broadly respect state laws and will not routinely seize assets from legal marijuana dispensaries except for those which have cut corners. But Mr Thompson also points out that Michigan and California have the most “police-friendly” asset-forfeiture laws in the country.

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MARCH

Poll: Support For Legalizing Pot Grows In Michigan

Poll: Support For Legalizing Pot Grows In Michigan

“Detroit voters passed a pair of ordinances just this last November by approximately 60 percent of the vote. The fact is that certain religious leaders and civic leaders may not be in favor of legalization or liberalization of marijuana laws in Detroit — but the citizenry is behind it,” said MINORML’s Rick Thompson.

“States do have the ability to act independent of federal guidelines on this issue,” he said. “Although there have been some rumblings inside the Trump administration about rescinding some of those protections – it doesn’t get any traction.”

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New Michigan Poll Shows 61% Support For Marijuana Legalization

Michigan NORML Executive Director Matthew Abel was “extremely pleased” to see the results. The big increase in support for marijuana legalization was anticipated by long-time activists and MINORML Board members Rick Thompson and Brad Forrester.

“I’m not surprised. These results are the product of Michigan NORML’s effective advocacy for the past several years,” Forrester said.

“The poll results show support in areas of the state where it is traditionally more difficult to advance marijuana law reforms,” Thompson said. “Michigan’s medical marijuana program has proven to the entire state that cannabis is not something to be feared any more.”

The results are especially promising for the proposal to legalize the adult use of cannabis in Michigan. The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than 360,000 signatures to the state on November 20, 2017 to place the proposal on the 2018 general election ballot. “This poll is a direct measure of public acceptance of that proposal,” Thompson added.


http://wkzo.com/news/articles/2018/mar/06/latest-poll-on-marijuana-just-released/

Rick Thomson who sits on the board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says they commissioned the survey. He is optimistic that with these kinds of numbers that it will pass this fall if it appears on the ballot. Their petition drive has not yet been certified.

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March 27

Feds unlikely to pursue Michigan medical marijuana, but treasury will

https://www.freep.com/story/news/2018/03/27/feds-wont-come-after-medical-marijuana-users-but-michigan-tax-theral-budget-provides-no-money-enforc/459943002/

“Until earlier this year, the Treasury Department didn’t want anything to do with patient-to-caregiver transactions,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML. “Any change of this magnitude should be initiated by an act of the Legislature. It shouldn’t be up to the purview of a state department or department head.”

“It’s important for any new industry to have continuity of regulations,” Thompson said.  “It’s important for people who want to engage in industry as well as the financers and bankers who are going to go out on a limb to support the industry.”

“What I like to call this tax is the pass and pretend laws,” Thompson said. “They pass the laws and we pretend that people are going to comply.”

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March 28

Michigan tax to affect medical marijuana

http://www.journalgazette.net/news/20180328/michigan-tax-to-affect-medical-marijuana  via Associated Press

“What I like to call this tax is the pass and pretend laws,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

March 22

https://www.freep.com/story/news/2018/03/22/michigan-medical-marijuana-license/448875002/

“We had some additional information we wanted to provide to the board and we wanted to make sure they had adequate time to review that information,” he said.

Rick Thompson, a marijuana advocate and board member for Michigan NORML, said he’s hopeful that the board will start accomplishing some substantial work.

“But it was discouraging that they only considered two applications today,” he said. “This board only meets nine times a year and with all five industries having applications flowing through there, it seems like a bottleneck that will prevent this industry from flourishing in the way it was initially intended.”

Breaking News: Michigan Serves Dispensaries With Cease and Desist Letters

Breaking News: Michigan Serves Dispensaries With Cease and Desist Letters

An entire article written by Thompson

APRIL

Legal Marijuana On The Michigan Ballot in 2018

Legal Marijuana On The Michigan Ballot in 2018

Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), put this ballot initiative in perspective as a matter of the State of Michigan safeguarding its own sovereignty and protecting its own citizens from an intrusive federal policy:

“The people of Michigan deserve this. They earned it. We’ve faced many trials and tribulations. We’ve had so many stop and go signs from the federal government. That’s why states have to take the reins on the issue and really be the crucibles of democracy that they’ve always been intended to be.”

Marijuana Legalization Vote Approved For November Ballot

“The people of Michigan deserve this. They earned it,” Rick Thompson, board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws told the Freep.

https://patch.com/michigan/detroit/marijuana-legalization-vote-approved-november-ballot

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Michigan approves vote on legalizing recreational marijuana for November: report

 

“The people of Michigan deserve this,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

 “They earned it,” he continued. “We’ve faced many trials and tribulations. We’ve had so many stop and go signs from the federal government.”
WASHINGTON D.C

http://wjla.com/news/nation-world/michigan-approves-vote-on-legalizing-recreational-marijuana-for-november-report

——-

Michigan approves marijuana legalization vote for November

“The people of Michigan deserve this. They earned it,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML. “We’ve faced many trials and tribulations. We’ve had so many stop and go signs from the federal government. That’s why states have to take the reins on the issue and really be the crucibles of democracy that they’ve always been intended to be.”

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/04/26/michigan-recreational-marijuana-legalize/551936002/?sf87622408=1

Michigan to put recreational marijuana legalization to referendum

“We’re happy about it,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Thompson said with Canada legalizing marijuana later this year and polls showing Michigan could follow suit, the possibilities are endless.

“Imagine this,” Thompson said. “If Windsor and Detroit both have similar recreational cannabis programs, it creates an opportunity for international tourism and creates a travel destination that eclipses both borders. This could be advantageous for both nations, both communities, and internationally could set the example that other nations would follow.

“It’s an exciting time.”

A poll conducted by NORML earlier this year found that 61 per cent of adults in Michigan were in favour of legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.

“This jibes with earlier polls this year with Detroit news agencies, so we are extremely confident this will pass once the voters have their option,” Thompson said.

“It gives all adults the opportunity to possess 2½ ounces of cannabis. It essentially gives permissions to the general public that are similar to the permissions given to medial marijuana users under the state’s current medical marijuana program.”

 

Michigan to put recreational marijuana legalization to referendum

Michigan Voters Can Legalize It in November

Michigan Voters Can Legalize It in November

((large photo included))

“The people of Michigan deserved this,” crowed Michigan NORML‘s Rick Thompson. “We’ve faced many trials and tribulations. We’ve had many stop and go signs from the federal government. That’s why states have to take the reins on the issue and really be the crucibles of democracy that they’ve always been intended to be.”

MAY

Michigan Senate votes to ban marijuana beer

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2018/05/17/michigan-senate-ban-marijuana-beer/35023415/

Michigan’s 2008 medical marijuana law does not allow bars or liquor stores to sell marijuana products, and dispensaries are not allowed to sell liquor, said Rick Thompson of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“This seems a lot like a rhetorical legislative exercise because this bill would effect zero people in Michigan,” Thompson said last week in committee testimony. “There’s zero market for this.”

Thompson argued the proposal could also limit entrepreneurs who want to brew beer with Cannabidiol and other parts of the marijuana plant used by medical patients that do not have the same psychoactive effects like Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical commonly associated with a “high.”

Michigan Senate panel wants to ban marijuana-infused beer, wine

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/05/09/marijuana-infused-beer-michigan/595276002/

But Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML, said the proposed law is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist in Michigan because state law is clear that marijuana dispensaries can’t sell alcohol and party stores aren’t allowed to sell marijuana.

“This would affect zero people in Michigan,” he said, adding that Canada and California are taking a more progressive approach by funding research on cannabis-infused drinks.

Which prompted Jones, who doesn’t support legalization of marijuana, to quip: “I’m so happy that instead of becoming stoners in Michigan, people will go to Canada or California instead.”

Budding marijuana entrepreneurs invited to cannabis conference

https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2018/05/marijuana_entrepreneur-hopeful.html

“We’ve seen Bay City really evolve their thought on marijuana laws,” said Rick Thompson, spokesman for the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group. “Its time the industry rewards communities who are supporting our businesses and our patients.”

Several speakers will be at the conference to discuss topics such as licensing and regulatory affairs, banking options, insurance for businesses and residential growing operations.

Thompson said the business development group chose to bring the conference to Bay City because its leaders have embraced cannabis law reform and many of Bay County’s municipalities are opting into the Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing Act.

In December 2017, Bay City commissioners approved an ordinance to allow medical marijuana facilities to operate within the city limits. As of Monday, May 8, the city had approved five dispensaries or provisioning centers. The ordinance allows 25 dispensaries in the city’s limits.

“This (marijuana) is an issue that really is important to Bay region residents,” Thompson said. “It is something that all of the communities are dealing with or are going to have to deal with in the immediate future, and it represents a change in revenue for some of the places that have not had new revenue stream for a very long time.”

https://minorml.org/author/rickthompson/

Video of testimony regarding SB 969

MICBD Conference May 20, 2018 in Bay City, MI

A writeup in Q and A format for the MICBD Bay City cannabis business conference

Photo credit: https://www.wired.com/story/why-and-how-california-is-destroying-mountains-of-weed/

Mich. OKs first licenses for medical pot firms

The board’s Thursday approvals marked a moment in which “the new-born licensed medical marijuana industry learned to crawl,” said Rick Thompson, founder of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group.

But the industry is still not where it should be, Thompson said, as businesses work to complete the application process before the September deadline.

“Today was historic, but it illustrates how far we have yet to go as much as it represents how far we have come in the process,” he said in a statement.

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/07/12/michigan-first-licenses-medical-marijuana-businesses/778250002/

Michigan approves first medical marijuana licenses under new system

Michigan approves first medical marijuana licenses under new system

The approvals reflect a milestone in which “the newborn licensed medical marijuana industry learned to crawl,” Rick Thompson, founder of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, told The Detroit News.

 

Week in Review: Good news for Michigan medical marijuana, Oklahoma market narrows & Maine veto override

Rick Thompson, the founder of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, agreed it was welcome news for the industry.

However, the condition expansion won’t necessarily translate into a big bump in the registered MMJ patient pool.

“A lot of people that have the ailments that are mentioned were already receiving medicinal benefits because they qualified for other reasons,” Thompson observed.

“The important thing, though, is we have a leader in LARA who is so different from leadership we’ve seen in past years that it gives all of us in the industry hope that they’ll actually regulate the way patients think it should be,” Thompson said.He said the more important takeaway is that the industry is now in a position it’s never experienced before, because it’s working with a government agency – the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) – that has become more business-friendly.

“By sending representatives out into the community to answer questions about hot-button issues, this is something that was never done previously. We were always pushed aside and not given information in the past, and now they are actually inviting us in.”

However, clouds remain on the horizon, Thompson noted. Specifically, there’s another possible shutdown date for all unlicensed companies: Sept. 15.

“In two months, they want to shut down the entire industry, except for the people they license,” Thompson said of regulators. “If there are only 15 companies … licensed in the state, Sept. 15 will be a black day.

“So we still are facing another one of these artificially created, kick-the-can-down-the-road deadlines.”

State won’t delay medical pot license deadline

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/08/09/state-wont-move-back-september-medical-marijuana-licensing-deadline/947756002/

The insistence on the Sept. 15 deadline comes as people urged the state during comment at Thursday’s licensing board meeting to push back the deadline again.

An “industry shutdown” in September would have implications for Republican politicians as patients’ anger would fall on GOP Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican Party, said Rick Thompson, a board member of marijuana groups MIlegalize and NORML of Michigan.

Potential $325M-$425M Michigan medical marijuana market braces for more turmoil

But Rick Thompson, a board member at the Michigan affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), is more skeptical, predicting that many patients simply will go to the black market to buy MMJ.

“Then there’s no real incentive for them to go back to the (regulated market) because they’ll have taxes, daily purchase limits, hours of operation limits, (sales) tracking,” Thompson said.

Despite all that uncertainty, entrepreneurs and investors have a reason to be keen on Michigan: An MMJ license is a possible path to early entry into recreational cannabis, which voters will consider in November. A May poll suggested strong support.

Potential $325M-$425M Michigan medical marijuana market braces for more turmoil

https://www.wndu.com/content/news/Michigan-proposing-home-delivery-of-medical-marijuana-491989031.html

Michigan proposing home delivery of medical marijuana

Vehicles would be equipped with a GPS device so they could be easily tracked. Rick Thompson, editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report, says home delivery is “crucial” for some people who use marijuana to alleviate the effects of various illnesses. He says some people are too ill to drive.

Medical marijuana home delivery under consideration in Michigan

Medical marijuana businesses have been operating under emergency rules this year, and the state is now moving to adopt permanent rules.

“This is the structure we’ve been asking for,” said Rick Thompson, editor-in-chief of Michigan Cannabis Industries Report.

hearing on the permanent rules is set for Sept. 17. The emergency rules and permanent rules are largely the same, save for the ability of provisioning centers to make deliveries, Copenhaver said.

To date, the state licensing board has approved 16 licenses — but critics don’t believe the industry will be up and running by Sept. 15.

“There will be a hard reset of the industry,” Thompson said.

https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/08/medical_marijuana_home_deliver.html

Michigan advances toward home delivery of medical marijuana

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/08/28/michigan-medical-marijuana-home-delivery-proposal/1114920002/

The home delivery option is “crucial” for some of the patients who qualify for medical marijuana, said Rick Thompson, editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report.

“The program is targeted to address the medical needs of the most ill citizens in our state,” Thompson said. “If you look at the list of qualifying conditions, some of those illnesses leave you without the ability to drive.”

Michigan takes bite out of medical pot foods with bans on infused butter, cheesecake, jerky

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/08/24/michigan-bans-medical-marijuana-foods-butter-cheesecake/1068304002/

The elimination of any refrigerated or frozen goods “significantly restricts the number of ways patients can purchase their medicine from provisioning centers,” said Rick Thompson, editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report.

“From a patient perspective, there is a more friendly way to view the rules than the way they’re doing it; it’s possible more leeway could be applied,” he said.

But the banning of butter is what most curdles the hearts of the medical marijuana industry. Medical pot patients use cannabis butter on items that range from toast to brownies, Thompson said.

“That eliminates one of the main ingredients used in an awful lot of cannabis treatments,” he said.

The emergency rules come as voters prepare to consider in November a ballot measure that would legalize recreational use of marijuana. Under the proposal, residents residents age 21 years and older could generally carry up to 2.5 ounces of the drug or possess up to 10 ounces in their homes, but smoking would not be allowed on public sidewalks.

“Patients should not be sent into the black market for legitimate cannabis acquisitions,” says Rick Thompson, founder of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group.

The state claims that 67 percent of Michigan’s 290,230 medical marijuana cardholders live in counties within 30 miles of one of the seven licensed provisioning centers and 75 percent within 60 miles. That may be right, but restriction of service and of medicine from 25 percent of the population is still a major issue that could be remedied with a later deadline.

According to Thompson, LARA has many people working diligently on the applications, which must be approved by a five member board. But only about 15 applications a month are acted upon.

Licenses are also expensive, and include a $48,000 regulatory assessment fee and a $6,000 application fee just to get started on the 10 stage process.

The state clearly needs more time to complete its application review. And marijuana patients and businesses which have complied with the law shouldn’t be punished for its inefficiencies.

Editorial: Extend deadline for medical pot licensing

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/editorials/2018/08/21/extend-deadline-medical-pot-licensing/1044404002/

That would represent a massive sales increase from an estimated $100 million-$150 million in 2017. But Rick Thompson, a board member at the Michigan affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), is more skeptical, predicting that many patients simply will go to the black market to buy MMJ.

“Then there’s no real incentive for them to go back to the (regulated market) because they’ll have taxes, daily purchase limits, hours of operation limits, (sales) tracking,” Thompson said.

It’s uncertain how many dispensaries are operating with temporary local approval, but it is believed to be little more than 100 statewide, according to NORML’s Thompson. State officials said they’re not sure how many MMJ businesses currently are operating.

https://www.greenentrepreneur.com/article/318822

SEPTEMBER

September 19

Groups against recreational marijuana initiative hold events statewide

https://nbc25news.com/news/local/groups-against-recreational-marijuana-initiative-hold-events-statewide

Not so, said Rick Thompson, with the Michigan branch of the National Organization Calling for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Thompson disputes the claims of groups that oppose recreational marijuana legalization and went as far as to characterize the statewide press conferences on Wednesday as nothing more than a scare tactic.

“A lot of the claims that are being made by law enforcement don’t really have national examples to back them up. And sometime fear tactics are the resort of those who are losing the battle. And, unfortunately, I heard a lot of fear tactics today,” said Thompson.

September 21

Week in Review: Michigan MMJ closures reversed, MJ owner convicted of tax crimes & feds OK marijuana imports for research

“It’s really a common-sense move,” Rick Thompson, editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report, said of the judge’s ruling.

“Instead of having an industry where stores were idle for months, they now can continuously operate for the good of the patients as well as for the good of the entrepreneurs and their capital investment.”

Michigan regulators recently issued emergency rules to extend a Sept. 15 deadline by three months for existing MMJ businesses to receive their state licenses under a new, stricter statewide regulatory framework.

But state officials granted that deadline only to 108 businesses that had completed a specified portion of their applications by June 15. The state ordered another 98 businesses that had failed to submit their paperwork by then to close.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello rejected the state’s plan, saying both groups should be able to temporarily operate until the new Dec. 15 deadline.

The three-month extension is expected to give Michigan regulators time to approve enough licenses to avert market chaos that could have led to supply shortages, Thompson indicated.

The state has approved only 37 licenses so far, 19 for dispensaries.

Week in Review: Michigan MMJ closures reversed, MJ owner convicted of tax crimes & feds OK marijuana imports for research

OCTOBER

October 17

Michigan Preemptively Bans Marijuana-Infused Alcoholic Drinks

Opponents say the legislation is a solution to a nonexistent problem because there is no commercial market for marijuana-infused beverages. They say even if the ballot initiatives passes, liquor establishments could not sell marijuana beverages because of a federal pot ban.

https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/michigan-bans-marijuana-infused-alcoholic-drinks

My quotes used without credit

October 18, 2018

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/10/18/state-medical-pot-businesses-slow-completing-applications/1683288002/

There was some concern among board members and people in the audience Thursday about the shortage of transporters and testing facilities, and how it would affect the newly licensed market starting in November.

“With 83 counties throughout the state, Oct. 31 looms as a gigantic failure,” said Rick Thompson, editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report. “…That creates a problem for patients in Michigan.”

Oct. 18

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/10/18/state-medical-pot-businesses-slow-completing-applications/1683288002/

There was some concern among board members and people in the audience Thursday about the shortage of transporters and testing facilities, and how it would affect the newly licensed market starting in November.

“With 83 counties throughout the state, Oct. 31 looms as a gigantic failure,” said Rick Thompson, editor and publisher of the Michigan Cannabis Industries Report. “…That creates a problem for patients in Michigan.”

Rick Thompson, a medical marijuana activist and founder of the Michigan Cannabis Development Group, said he expects some sort of legal challenge to a deadline that would “put the brakes on an industry that is cruising along quite nicely right now.”

The limited number of businesses that are able to obtain licenses by that point will “absolutely not” be in a position to adequately serve the 297,515 registered patients across the state, Thompson said.

The board has so far approved licenses for seven marijuana growers, four processors, three secure transporters, four safety compliance facilities and 19 provisioning centers, otherwise known as dispensaries.

“The important thing to realize is it’s not the number of licenses approved by the board, it’s the number that are open and operating and serving patients,” Thompson said. “The only relevant factor is how many are available for patients to utilize.”

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/10/01/pot-shops-face-closure-michigan/1493195002/

Governor of Michigan Officially Bans Cannabis-Infused Alcoholic Drinks

Or in the words of Michigan NORML chapter board member Rick Thompson, the law affects “zero people in Michigan”. And that would be true whether or not voters legalize adult-use this November.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 6

Michigan OKs recreational marijuana, creating potential $1.7 billion market

“Being the first in the Midwest is significant for the region,” said Rick Thompson, the owner of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group.

Nov. 7

Michigan Legalizes Recreational Marijuana: What Happens Next?

https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/michigan-legalizes-recreational-marijuana-what-happens-next

also https://www.wsjm.com/2018/11/07/yes-it-passed-no-you-cant-legally-toke-yet/

Rick Thompson, an advocate for legalization, says you’ll be able to smoke marijuana sooner than you can buy it.

The law will take effect in about a month, as the election first has to be certified by the Board of State Canvassers. Ten days after that certification, people age 21 or older will be allowed to have, use and grow the drug, but the process of establishing regulations for its retail sale could take about two years.

“By the end of the month, for sure, those personal freedoms including consumptions and cultivation of 12 plants per household, those will begin then,” said Thompson. “But we won’t see businesses pop up until about 2020 because the state of Michigan has 12 months to promulgate rules that would govern those businesses.”

Election updates, analysis & highlights

Rick Thompson, head of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, said the state’s current attorney general, Bill Schuette, “obstructed the implementation of our medical program to the point where current interpretation of the law bears little resemblance to what the actual citizen-directed initiative says.”

Rick Thompson, a supporter of Proposal 1 – Michigan’s voter initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana – was heartened by voter turnout in Flint, despite rainy weather.

Thompson, the owner of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” the initiative will pass.

As he stood outside his polling place, he waved a “Yes on 1” sign at passing cars. A number of drivers smiled and gave him a thumbs-up.

The number of people lined up to vote and steady traffic in the parking lot is a good sign for Proposal 1, Thompson noted.

Pre-election polls showed Proposal 1 leading by double digits, but Thompson had been concerned that low voter turnout could spell trouble for legalization.

Election updates, analysis & highlights

Recreational marijuana to be legal in Michigan, but what’s next?

Advocates are excited but say there’s more work to do.

“This isn’t done. Just because we passed legalization we have many more hurdles to accomplish. Expungement is one, federal banking is one, criminal justice reform on the national scale,” said Rick Thompson of Michigan NORML.

He says recreational marijuana won’t be available for sale until 2020 at the earliest.

That’s because the state still needs to create regulations and issue licenses for recreational sales.

https://nbc25news.com/news/local/recreational-marijuana-to-be-legal-in-michigan-but-whats-next

Enough With The Weed Jokes — Time To Make Money On Marijuana In Michigan

Rick Thompson, of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, enthused about the “head start” local entrepreneurs will have, given Michigan’s first-in-the-Midwest legalization status. Medical marijuana cardholders number around 300,000, but with 7 million adults of legal age to buy and use it, there’s no reason all 83 counties can’t have a business once the regulatory structure is up and running.

Thompson envisions “micro-grow” operations of artisanal marijuana, doing for the drug what microbreweries did for craft beer. The potential for success is not exactly limitless, but “pot-com” is the widest open field since dot-com, he said.

“The opportunities have no boundaries in this industry,” Thompson said.

http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/20990/enough_with_the_weed_jokes_–_time_to_make_money_on_marijuana

Michiganders Say ‘Yes’ To Legalizing Pot For Recreational Use

featured in an image:

https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/michiganders-say-yes-legalizing-pot-recreational-use

https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/media/audio-channel/marijuana-legalized-michigan

https://wsbt.com/news/local/officials-worry-how-new-michigan-marijuana-law-will-affect-their-cities-and-towns

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“I would say to those people that don’t want it to happen now: This is our best opportunity to do it. It gives us economic opportunity. It gives us an edge over other midwestern states. And they should grow up and get into the 2018 world,” said Rick Thompson, MI board member for NORML.

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November 13

Michigan universities to students: Don’t bring your weed on campus

https://www.freep.com/story/news/marijuana/2018/11/13/legal-marijuana-michigan-college-campus/1988622002/

“Schools are still regulated by federal law,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “It was very predictable that this would happen and just underscores that there needs to be a change in federal law.”

Also complicating the issue is state law and policy on many campuses that prohibits smoking in public places such as bars and restaurants. Some campuses are completely smoke-free

“This just mirrors the situation that we have with cigarettes, so it’s logical that they would ban marijuana too,” Thompson said.

He doesn’t expect any lawsuits to try and get universities to reverse policies.

“You can’t sue the school for following federal law. And federal guidelines clearly prohibit this,” Thompson said. “There’s not a legal leg for us to stand on.”

November 19

Police concerned about drugged driving, use tests to show level of marijuana impairment

https://wsbt.com/news/local/police-have-tests-to-determine-if-someone-is-impaired-from-marijuana

 

There are other tests they can do to see if your impairment is from smoking pot.

“Blood tests are unnecessary and a poor way to determine a person’s behavior,” said Rick Thompson. “It’s those observational issues, those real physical tests that determine if someone is impaired.”

That’s why Michigan State Police drug recognition expert Robert Lindsay says officers will be using those field tests to see if someone is impaired by pot.

This includes following an officer’s finger or counting to 30 while your eyes are closed.

Rick Thompson from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws says unlike alcohol, marijuana can be detected in blood without it impairing someone.

“A person who may have consumed cannabis several days ago might still test positive for the presence of cannabis,” said Thompson. “That does not indicate they were using their automobile in an impaired way.”

Lindsay says that’s because marijuana breaks down into two metabolites: one makes you high (Delta 9 THC) and the other (Carboxy THC) remains in the system.

That’s why they’ll be looking for current impairment.

“Somebody who smoked two of three days ago is not going to be arrested based on smoking marijuana three days ago,” said Lindsay.

Lindsay says people may feel high for two to three hours but impairment can last a full day.

“You have basically a 24-hour gap where you could be impaired by cannabis whether you know it or not,” said Lindsay.

He says a new oral fluid test was just piloted that will help back up what officers see in the field.

“We would put it in the machine, and after about five minutes it would print out a result,” said Lindsay. “Then we were able to look at the result and analyze and match it up to our findings, what we saw on the road.”

Thompson says they are concerned with that type of testing. He says they need officers to take people off the road that are impaired.

They don’t want to see false tests or unproven equipment used to determine this.

Nov. 26

WWJ

Michigan Election Results Certified; Pot Becomes Legal Dec. 6

https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/michigan-election-results-certified-pot-becomes-legal-dec-6

Rick Thompson, with the nonprofit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said he expects a celebration or two.

“There will be many parties on the 6th, and on the 7th, and afterwards, too,” he told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “Personal freedoms are something we’ve waited a long time to get in Michigan, and I think the citizenry is ready for it.”

“The 12 plants per households mirrors the medical marijuana program; the 2.5 ounces,  mirrors the medical marijuana program,” he added. “So these are standards that citizens already accept.”

Thompson said he expects recreational marijuana business licenses will not available until mid-2020.

Detroit News editorial

Letters: Other views on Enbridge, Prop 1

Dismissing marijuana misunderstandings

Re: The Nov. 14 guest opinion piece, “Marijuana battle is not over“:  Some clarification is needed.

First, regarding the myth that communities have to reject legalized cannabis businesses or they will “be implemented into every local community unless they choose to opt out…” There is no “opt-in” or “opt-out” requirement contained within the Proposal 1 language, nor has there been a directive from a state agency requiring such action.

Before a municipality can host businesses described under either the medical business program or the congruent business outline created by the Prop. 1 language, they must first pass zoning ordinances and have open meetings. No business can suddenly spring up in a town’s midst without city approval. No opt out ordinance, letter or action is necessary to control cannabis businesses in a community. Period. This falsehood was oft repeated in pre-election campaign materials and has induced several cities to enact these rules, which are developed at a cost to the city but carry no benefit.

Secondly, citizens who grow cannabis legally in their home are not allowed to “sell and exchange… within 1,000 feet of a school or church,” as the editorial states. Citizens are not empowered to sell cannabis under Prop. 1. If a community chooses to empower a licensed legal or medical marijuana distribution center to operate within 1,000 feet of a school they must zone the businesses for that activity. Citizen directed initiatives cannot dictate zoning rules.

Thirdly, several fear-mongering statements about intoxicated driving, increased incarceration rates and THC levels are all misfires. An estimated 1.3 million Michigan residents already use cannabis and we have seen no evidence that they cause driving problems; there is no reason this would change due to Prop. 1 Incarceration rates will fall due to Prop 1, not increase. Prop 1 requires maximum THC levels to be established for marijuana infused products.

Rick Thompson, owner, Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group

Editor, Michigan Cannabis Industries Report

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2018/11/16/other-views-enbridge-line-5/2002750002/

DECEMBER

December 1

Effort to alter Michigan’s recreational marijuana law criticized by activists

https://www.michiganradio.org/post/effort-alter-michigans-recreational-marijuana-law-criticized-activists

Rick Thompson is the organizer of a cannabis business conference in Lansing this weekend. He doesn’t think lawmakers should pass legislation in the lame duck session that the incoming Legislature will have to spend the next year correcting.

“Right now, trying to shove something in the Legislature’s face in lame duck session, it’s a tactic that works but it’s not the way to assure positive law change for Michigan citizens,” says Thompson.

December 6

Smokers celebrate recreational marijuana legalization at pot party

Vehicle City Social Club in Flint hosted a celebration party. Advocates at the medical marijuana facility say this is the first road mark in a long pathway towards a better future.

“More revenue for the state,” said Rick Thompson.

Thompson is part of the Michigan affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, also known as NORML, the advocacy group that worked to pass the legalization of marijuana during the midterm elections.
Experts said this means the new law doesn’t change much for them, but advocates say the new law does help criminal justice reform.

“It’s more than just the ability to smoke,” Thompson said.

Thompson supports new legislation that would get the records expunged of those who were previously criminally convicted of low-level marijuana charges.

“It may not be successful in 2018, but we have the 2019, 2020 session to look forward to,” he said.

https://nbc25news.com/news/local/smokers-celebrate-recreational-marijuana-legalization-at-pot-party

December 6

Weed is legal in Michigan – here are all the things you still can’t do

“People will get their cannabis on December 6 from the same place they got it on December 5th — the illicit market,” says board member of MI Legalize, Michigan’s grassroots legalization movement, Rick Thompson. “Until the legal and regulated adult use market gets up and running there will be very little change in both the number of people using and the way cannabis is acquired in Michigan.”

https://www.metrotimes.com/news-hits/archives/2018/12/06/weed-is-legal-here-are-all-the-things-you-still-cant-do

December 7

Cannabis experts urge patients to keep medical status after legalization

Cannabis experts, like Rick Thompson, are urging medical patients to keep their status.

“There are a lot of advantages,” Thompson said.

For starters, Thompson said the legalization program only covers those who are 21 and older.

Those under the legal, who are prescribed cannabis by their physician, still must have a card to acquire it.

“You also have advantages in employment situations, where some employers recognize how a medical necessity exists, as opposed to recreational use,” he added.

From employment to housing to school admissions, Thompson said the identification will continue to make an immediate difference, along with provide future benefits.

“Once the legalization businesses come around in 2020, the medical marijuana tax goes away,” he said. “So medical marijuana patients won’t pay any tax, but the recreational market will pay 10 percent.”

Thompson said the cultivation limit is also different.

Under the legalization, you can only have 12 plants at your primary residence.

With the medical program, if there are two or more qualified patients at the same location, he said they can grow 12, 24 or 36 plants.

However, he said the plants must be separated within the residence.

https://nbc25news.com/news/local/cannabis-experts-urge-patients-to-keep-medical-status-after-legalization

Marijuana Users In Michigan Can Now Legally Light Up

Rick Thompson, with the nonprofit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), said he expects a celebration or two.

“There will be many parties on the 6th, and on the 7th, and afterwards, too,” he told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “Personal freedoms are something we’ve waited a long time to get in Michigan, and I think the citizenry is ready for it.”

“The 12 plants per households mirrors the medical marijuana program; the 2.5 ounces,  mirrors the medical marijuana program,” he added. “So these are standards that citizens already accept.”

Thompson said he expects recreational marijuana business licenses will not available until mid-2020.

https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/marijuana-users-michigan-can-now-legally-light

Week in Review: Michigan MMJ rules, WA halts hemp licensing & Maryland supply shortfall

“We only have the edge pieces to this jigsaw puzzle. So it’s hard to see the complete picture yet,” said Rick Thompson, a board member of the Michigan NORML chapter and author of the Compassion Chronicles blog.

“Although they create a framework for applicants to apply to the state, it’s clear that these emergency regulations are not the fully fleshed-out program we had hoped to have by Dec. 15.”

For instance, he said, details are lacking in the regulations regarding particular business relationships between MMJ company principals, and there’s also a lack of flexibility in rules for concentrate and edibles makers.

But Thompson said he’s hopeful the program will make great strides in the coming months, in large part because state regulators have been responsive to industry concerns and questions.

“This group of people administering the MMJ program are the easiest group of people to work with that Michigan’s MMJ industry has seen since 2009,” he added.

In other words, after nearly a decade of haphazard local rules and raids on dispensaries by various law enforcement agencies, Michigan appears to be taking baby steps toward a fully legal and regulated MMJ market.

And so it seems there’s good reason for the state’s cannabis entrepreneurs to be optimistic.

Week in Review: Michigan MMJ rules, WA halts hemp licensing & Maryland supply shortfall

December 7

Homegrow Under Threat as Michigan Legalization Takes Effect

https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/homegrow-under-threat-as-michigan-legalization-takes-effect

Rick Thompson, a cannabis business consultant and co-author of the ballot measure that is now law, was full of optimism. “Legalized adult use of cannabis is more than just personal freedoms–it’s a mile marker on the pathway to a better state, a better citizenry, and a better America,” he wrote. “Being a better person, being more healthy, being in a community where alcohol consumption is not the norm and being able to speak openly with your physician and city leaders about cannabis- these are only a few of the benefits legalization brings.”

This work has been important for our children to see, as well, Thompson said. “They can see that persistence and effort will win the day, even when the fight you pick is with the all-powerful US government. They can pursue the issues that are important to them with confidence that the people will have their voice heard.”

December 13

Rick Thompson is a cannabis advocate, citizen journalist, and organizer of the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conferences. His efforts helped see Michigan’s 2018 cannabis legalization initiative to a successful finish last month.

Rick recently joined our podcast host TG Branfalt to discuss the 2018 elections and to give an insider’s look at the road map for Michigan’s inbound adult-use cannabis marketplace. In this episode, Rick shares experiences from the state’s unsuccessful 2012 and 2016 legalization attempts, talks about the state of Michigan’s current medical cannabis system, and offers advice for activists in other states who are considering tackling a legalization voter initiative of their own.

You can tune into their interview via the media player below or scroll further down to read a full transcript of this Ganjapreneur.com podcast episode!

Rick Thompson: Michigan’s Long, Winding Road to Cannabis Freedom

 

A New Year’s Message To Michigan

New ‘Patient Tax’ Stuns Michigan Medical Marijuana Community

2018 Primaries ELECTION GUIDE From Michigan Cannabis Industries Report

Michigan’s Cannabis Power Base Influences State Politics

Michigan Medical Marijuana Business Program – 1 Day, 173 Applications

New Michigan Poll Shows 61% Support For Marijuana Legalization

Michigan: The 2018 Hash Bash Is Approaching

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Support Up To 61%

Michigan Cannabis Cup Preview: Everything You Need to Smoke, Eat, See and Do at the Auto City Speedway

Michigan: Media Coverage Forces Glenn To Drop Marijuana Bill

Proposed Cannabis Dispensary Shutdown Would Effect 2/3 Of Michigan Patients

Video Of Latest MMFLA Licensing Board Meeting Is Now Available

Michigan: Upside Down Republicans Sling Mud At Democratic Candidate

 

 

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