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All Carded Up, and Nowhere to Go

The State of Michigan just can’t figure out what to do about marijuana. They don’t want to legalize it since that would set off a howl from the solid citizens that don’t want to smoke it and don’t want their kids to do so either. Besides, it’s a steady source of income as the smoker’s parade through the District Courts leaving a trail of fine money behind. Those fines are more a pot smoking tax than a criminal penalty. The prosecution of pot smokers not only keeps the arrest numbers up in the War on Drugs, it also provides employment for BAYNET, all of the other “nets”, drug counselors, probation officers, defense attorneys [they’ve made a lot of my car payments over the years] and all of the other people that get to, as the Mafia says, “wet their beaks” in the process. The stoners don’t seem to mind since they continue to drive their cars with roaches in the ashtrays and baggies in their jeans pockets. It’s almost as if they want to get caught. They don’t of course; they’re just so thick in the noggin that they won’t take the most elementary precautions not to get caught. Like having a license plate that matches the car they’re driving and tail lights that actually light up.  When the cops stop them for some pretext or another, they always ask “is there anything in your car you shouldn’t have?” and the stoners always blurt out something like “There’s some weed under the seat.” Maybe pot does destroy brain cells. They take all of the sport out of catching them.

Well, I’m afraid there’s more bad news for those who like a joint or two. No, there isn’t a Twinky shortage. This comes from the Michigan Court of Appeals, which is no friend of the pot fraternity. But first some background, for the 81% of Clare County residents who finished high school. The 19% who didn’t already know this…..

 

Michigan passed the Medical Marijuana Law. That’s the little bit of legal fiction that says you can have marijuana in your possession for “medical” use. Its passage caused a wave of painful illness, curable only with marijuana, to sweep through Michigan not seen since the Black Death depopulated Europe in the 14th Century. This also created a prestigious new class of people; Those that Have Their Card. As in “he’s so kewl, he Has His Card.” If you could afford a couple of hundred bucks, doctors were actually competing to proscribe medical marijuana for your “intractable pain.”  It was, for the select few, stoner heaven. But then the straight citizens who suspected medical marijuana was a scam but were willing to pretend it wasn’t, got POed as head shops, grow shops, and pot docs started throwing it in their faces. This got the Courts got involved. Judges and Prosecutors run for office. Citizens vote. Stoners, not so much.

Now it seems that the Medical Marijuana Law says you can have pot for “medical” uses. It specifically says driving your car after having smoked isn’t a medical use. The Drunk Driving law MCL 257.625, a behemoth of a law taking in a lot more than alcohol and a real money maker for the State, says that if you have any amount of a Schedule 1 drug in your system [pot is a Schedule 1] that you’re guilty of driving under the influence of drugs. Same penalty as drunk driving. Oh oh.

In a brand new case called People v. Koon, the Court of Appeals says that even if you’ve got your Pot Card, the MMA doesn’t supersede the Drunk Driving law. So you can legally possess pot and smoke it. You just can’t have “any amount” of it in your system and drive a car. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance.

What’s a law abiding smoker to do? You paid your money and you got a prescription and card for your intractable pain. Now you find out that you can’t drive! Since THC, the active ingredient in pot is stored in the fat cells of your body; it isn’t like alcohol that disappears in a few hours. Oh no. THC hangs around.  And around. And around.

Well, it is a dilemma, isn’t it? You can smoke, or you can drive.

If you do both, it’s another car payment for me and a trip to the drunk tank of the Clare County jail for you. I know, I know, it’s so much more fun medicating that intractable pain in a bar than sitting home watching reruns of the Brady Bunch, but which to choose? Well dude, I guess you’ll have to do what they told us to do in the Army when someone had a complaint. Write you Congressman. Good luck with that.

2 Responses to All Carded Up, and Nowhere to Go

  1. washtenaut

    April 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Should the clearly expressed will of millions of Michigan voters to protect medical cannabis patients be allowed to be overturned by a few powerful politicians? Our Attorney General says, YES! He believes he has been given that authority. He asserts that there is widespread abuse of Michigan’s medical cannabis program and so he has been working hard, whittling away at its protections, and apparently conspiring with Judge O’Connell of the Michigan Court of Appeals to make the MMMAct of 2008 useless to patients today.

    If we assume that even 15% of the patients should not qualify, we are still left with over 130,000 Michiganders whose lives have been improved by favoring this treatment. Because of their choice of medicine, their interpretation of the new law, and their application to the program, should these sick and disabled patients now be subjected to police break-ins, should they have to spend their life savings defending themselves in court, should they lose their children to CPS, and should they be put in prison? Mr. Schuette says, YES!

    We have seen politicians who will attempt to destroy their opposition so that they might succeed. One way to achieve this is to have the police do the work for you. Laws enacted to criminalize some behavior within political groups have historically been used for this very purpose, most famously by Richard Nixon. Demonizing opponents in the eyes of the people is also a very effective tool. Our AG has been employing both of these tactics.

    Looking back, Senator Joseph McCarthy gained a great deal of power in the early 50’s as he ruthlessly accused political opponents and personal enemies alike of un-American behavior. Thousands of lives were ruined during those dark days. Many went to prison as a result of his accusations. Others were blackballed and were unable to find work.

    Robert Faber wrote a terrific piece recently for AnnArbor.com in which he states that McCarthy’s reign ‘was an embarrassment to our constitution, to our traditions and to the high moral code we like to believe is inherently ours’. He goes on to say ‘We shall always have our fools and ideologues in positions of power, but our system of laws and logic, of checks and balances, is designed to guard against the abuses of ..power, to protect the weakest from the more powerful… If the elected of our democracy, for reasons of greed or power or cowardice, fail in that task, that is the more troubling threat. It was McCarthy’s colleagues who let us down, by failing in their obligation to uphold the spirit and intent and integrity of our democratic system.’

    Have you noticed that in his press conferences our AG, flanked by Michigan State Police officers, will ignore the 130,000 and will demonize all cannabis patients as abusers of the medical cannabis law? He uses his pulpit to falsely proclaim that we are a threat to children and a danger on our highways. He has also ‘officially opined’ some rather unreasonable legal positions which have resulted in the arrest of even more patients and caregivers. If you are unaware of his plan, along with Judge O’Connell of the COA, to effectively overturn the MMMAct, you have not been paying attention. AG Schuette has publicly stated that he wants to privatize and fill up our prisons with today’s patients and unfortunately for many, he is well on his way.

    Please recall that qualified patients are either seriously ill or disabled. We should not have to spend our precious remaining time fighting to stay out of prison! How many more lives will we allow to be ruined by obsession and political ambition? When will someone stand up publicly to today’s bully as lawyer Joseph Welch did in 1954 and ask, ‘At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency?’

  2. holytoker

    April 30, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Folks, I am 64 years old, became a Christian in 1978, became a minister in 1984, and have been branded a criminal for 46 years because I CHOOSE to grow & use God-created Cannabis instead of doing man-made, poisonous drugs (legal or otherwise). I am not alone..we are a LARGE counter-culture of folks who CHOOSE the natural route over the synthetic one. We DO NOT manufacture a drug…we GROW a, seed-bearing, herbal PLANT! We love our families & communities, work hard, believe in shopping local & recycling, grow organic, and contribute to society.Now I ask you, how are we hurting anyone with the choice of our lifestyle? What gives ANYONE the right to make us live a different lifestyle, or THEIR’S? We DO NOT force ANYONE to live our’s! We have been jailed, our children & possessions taken away from us, and even killed for OUR choice of lifestyle! So I am humbly pleading with ALL who read this to help RIGHT a WRONG that has been going on for over 70 years now in our country! Help us get the signatures that we need to qualify for the state ballot to end prohibition for ALL adults 21 & over, and then vote YES for OUR God-given rights this November. Go to http://www.repealtoday.org . Our signature drive started in January and we have till July 9th to collect 500,000 sigs. Let’s make our great state of Michigan the shining light on the hill and the leader of our great nation once again…let’s make history once again! Obviously, we are not going to get any help from our current legislators. OUR FUTURE IS NOW IN OUR HANDS, SO WHAT WILL WE DO WITH IT?

    Rev.Steven B.Thompson,Chapter Director
    Benzie County NORML
    (231) 882-4496
    http://www.minorml.org
    (Former Executive Director of Michigan NORML
    from May,2007 to November,2011)

    Help end Cannabis Prohibition at http://www.repealtoday.org

    WE DO NOT MANUFACTURE A DRUG…WE GROW A PLANT!!