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Authorities crack down on Lansing dispensaries

Ewan Woolcock, Staff Reporter

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Medical marijuana dispensaries have been closing throughout the Lansing area due to a 2013 Supreme Court decision declaring that the state dispensary operations were illegal.

In 2008, Michigan became the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana. Under federal law, medical marijuana is still illegal and federal law overrules the state law, therefore, federal officials can suspend and shut down dispensaries within Michigan.

According to Andrew Bisbo, director of Michigan’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, dispensaries still in operation past Dec. 15 of this year could risk losing their license from the state if they continue operation.

“The department will not shut down dispensaries, but it will be a business risk for them to continue to operate because they could be shut down by law enforcement and it could be an impediment to getting a license,” Brisbo said in a Detroit Free Press article.

According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), dispensaries in operation past the Dec. 15 deadline are “a potential impediment to licensure.”

Some dispensaries have already had to close down due to issues with licensing. This directly impacts people who rely on marijuana for specific health reasons.

OHS students like Amir Tavakoli (12) disapprove of the recent police crackdowns on dispensaries.

“I feel bad for people that actually need it like cancer patients, people with glaucoma and diabetes. My friend’s mom cannot eat, and smoking marijuana actually helps her let go and be loose and be her normal self,” Amir Tavakoli said.

These closings may force people to use the black market to get their medical needs, according to Mlive. Not only do the closings impact people with therapeutic problems, but they also impact the push for legalization within Michigan.

Amir Tavakoli believes the state of Michigan is some time from legalizing recreational marijuana.

“It is going to take a long time for [recreational] marijuana to be legalized in Michigan,”

Tavakoli said. “Personally, I think it will be about another 15 years for someone to be president who grew up in our generation where it was more common to use marijuana.”  

Despite all of the recent medical marijuana dispensary repressions in the state, Michigan could possibly be the next state to permit recreational pot with efforts pushing for legalization across the state.

Currently, a group pushing for legalization has collected enough signatures to put the issue on the 2018 ballot, but lacks the funding required to pay off the firm that was hired to collect the signatures.

According to Michigan’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, the group has gathered at least 360,000 signatures to put the issue on the 2018 ballot. The Michigan state law requires only 252,523 signatures. Group spokesman Josh Hovey says they now lack around $30,000 to pay off a signature-collection vendor before the group can submit all of their petitions to the Michigan Secretary of State.

Whether you are a fan of recreational marijuana or think the flower should be banished off the face of the earth, this is no longer a situation we will face later, especially considering there are dispensaries within five miles of Okemos High School.

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Authorities crack down on Lansing dispensaries