Watch: 80-Year Old Michigan Marijuana Patient Recounts Possession Arrest In New Documentary

Watch: 80-Year Old Michigan Marijuana Patient Recounts Possession Arrest In New Documentary

Since being busted for possession at her home this year, 80-year-old Michigan medical marijuana patient Delores Saltzman has become a cannabis hero and a rallying point for the legalization campaign in her state. And now, she’s the subject of a short documentary film.

For “Mrs. Saltzman Goes to Jail: The True Story of a Michigan Outlaw,” Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen pays a visit to Saltzman at her home in Lake George, a small resort town, and takes viewers through the senior citizen’s brief ordeal with local police in June.

While Saltzman doesn’t fit the profile of a typical marijuana arrest—she is white, she is a woman and she is an octogenarian—the story of her bust over a non-violent possession offense is “not unlike a whole lot of other stories,” and it has turned her into an avowed supporter for Proposal 1, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan and end petty busts like hers.

Saltzman uses cannabis to deal with the pain that arthritis causes “throughout” her body. On June 3, she was “relaxing and having a joint” at her home when a sheriff’s deputy knocked on the door.

The deputy smelled cannabis and asked Saltzman if it was hers. When she answered in the affirmative—and it was determined that her medical marijuana recommendation from the state had lapsed—she was handcuffed and taken to jail.

Sleeping overnight in a cold cement-floored cell aggravated her arthritis, and it took Saltzman “two months to get over the cold.”

“Just because someone’s wrong doesn’t mean you have to torture them,” she says on camera. “That’s torture.”

Cohen also managed to get Sheriff John Wilson to sit for an on-camera interview. Wilson, for his part, was adamant in maintaining that his officer “did nothing wrong.”

“I mean, morally in this country, we don’t want to put this old lady in jail,” Wilson says. “But if the officer doesn’t enforce the law with her and the 25-year-old gets in trouble for it—that’s not good fairness across the board.”

In Michigan, black people are 3.3 times more likely to be arrested than white people for marijuana possession offenses, according to an ACLU review.

According to a poll released before Saltzman became marijuana-famous, forty-eight percent of Michigan voters said they favored full legalization. Support has only grown since then, with 55 percent of voters telling pollsters in September that they want full legalization.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Watch: 80-Year Old Michigan Marijuana Patient Recounts Possession Arrest In New Documentary

Michigan Officials: Legal Marijuana Will Create Even More Revenue Than Activists Predicted

Michigan Officials: Legal Marijuana Will Create Even More Revenue Than Activists Predicted

If Michigan voters elect to legalize marijuana in November, the state can expect to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue over the next five years, according to a new report from the non-partisan Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.

In fact, the new estimates are even higher than those projected by the group sponsoring the legalization ballot measure.

While that group, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol In Michigan, predicted that the state would collect about $520 million in cannabis sales and excise tax revenue in the five years after implementation, the government estimate is closer to $730 million over the same time span.

Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency

Via Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.

The initiative, Proposition 1, would impose a 10 percent excise tax on non-medical cannabis sales in addition to the state’s six percent sales tax. It would also eliminate a three percent tax on medical cannabis “provisioning centers,” which was accounted for in the fiscal report.

Where would all that money go?

The 10 percent excise tax revenue would be distributed for transportation infrastructure (35 percent), schools (35 percent) and local jurisdictions that permit adult-use marijuana businesses to operate in their municipalities and counties (15 percent each).

Based on the government report, that means that by the 2022-23 fiscal year, out of of $252 million in total marijuana tax revenue, about $126 million will go toward road construction and K-12 education funds on an annual basis from the excise tax alone. On top of that, schools would receive an additional $77 million a year due to marijuana commerce, allocated from the state’s six percent sales tax.

Then, of course, there’s the cost savings of simply ending marijuana arrests and related prosecutions and incarcerations, as the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency noted. The proposition “could have a positive fiscal impact on State and local government,” according to the report.

“Fewer felony arrests and convictions could decrease resource demands on court systems, community supervision, jails, and correctional facilities. In 2016, 199 people were sentenced to prison for a marijuana-related felony conviction, and 3,620 were sentenced to jail, probation, or a combination of both.”

The chances that Michigan ends up legalizing marijuana for adult-use seem fairly strong. A September 2018 poll from The Detroit News and WDIV-TV found that 56 percent of likely Michigan voters favor fully legalizing cannabis, compared to just 38 percent who said the opposed ending prohibition.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Michigan Officials: Legal Marijuana Will Create Even More Revenue Than Activists Predicted

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

Next month, voters in seven states will get the chance to approve or reject a number of far-reaching marijuana proposals. But one thing many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to wait until November 6 to make your voice heard: many states allow for early or absentee voting, and people across the country are already voting on cannabis initiatives today, as you read this.

Before getting into the specifics, an important aside about voter registration deadlines: They’re coming up hot. You can check your state’s registration deadline here.

OK, back to early voting on cannabis. Marijuana Moment compiled a list of each major state and local marijuana-related initiative that will appear on ballots. They range widely—from proposals to fully legalize cannabis in Michigan to amending the definition of industrial hemp in Colorado—and some will only go before voters in specific cities or counties.

There’s a lot of information to review before heading to the polls, but fortunately, there’s still about a month to go.

But for those who are eager to make their votes count sooner rather than later, many places with cannabis questions provide ways to cast your ballot early via mail or in-person before Election Day.

Here’s when early or absentee voting starts in states where marijuana will be on the ballot:

Colorado

A proposal to amend the definition of industrial hemp under the Colorado constitution. 

Ballots handed out to voters who request them: October 5*

*A county clerk “must begin issuing mail ballots to any eligible elector who requests one in person at the county clerk’s office” by this date. Otherwise, mail ballots will be sent to voters between October 15 and 22.

Michigan

A proposal to fully legalize marijuana for adult-use. 

Absentee voting begins: County clerks begin sending out mail-in ballots* September 22

*Non-military Michigan voters must qualify for absentee voting. Individuals must either be over 60 years old, unable to vote without assistance, planning to be out of town on Election Day, in jail awaiting trial, have a conflicting religious event or have been appointed to work “as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.”

Missouri

Three competing proposals to legalize medical cannabis

Absentee voting begins: September 25*

*Missouri voters must qualify for absentee voting. Individuals must either be physically incapable to vote due to illness or disability, planning to be out of town on Election Day, in jail awaiting trial, have a conflicting religious event, have been appointed to work an election official or currently involved in a confidentiality program due to safety concerns.

North Dakota

A proposal to fully legalize marijuana for adult-use. 

Absentee voting begins: September 27

Early voting begins: Counties may begin offering early voting as soon as October 22. Consult your county’s election office, as start dates vary.

Ohio

Proposals in six municipalities across Ohio to locally decriminalize cannabis.

Early voting begins: October 10

Absentee voting begins: October 10

Utah

A proposal to legalize medical cannabis.

Absentee voting begins: For military and oversees residents, mail-in ballots will be sent out by September 22. Other mail-in ballots will be sent out by October 16. Absentee ballot applications must be submitted by October 30.

Early voting begins: October 23*

*Be sure to check your county’s early voting poll dates here.

Wisconsin

Non-binding advisory questions in 16 counties asking voters to weigh in on medical or adult-use cannabis legalization.

Absentee voting: Requests for an absentee ballot must be submitted by November 1

Early voting begins: September 22*

*The bulk of Wisconsin municipalities allow for early voting starting September 22, but there’s no statewide timeline so check with your municipal clerk to confirm. The University of Wisconsin maintains a list of updated early voting dates here.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

Michigan Cops Lock Up 80-Year Old Grandmother For Expired Medical Marijuana Card

Michigan Cops Lock Up 80-Year Old Grandmother For Expired Medical Marijuana Card

An 80-year-old grandmother who uses medical marijuana to treat arthritis was arrested by Michigan police earlier this summer for possessing a small amount of cannabis.

Delores Saltzman, of Clare County—a small, rural and conservative area in Central Michigan—then then spent a night in jail because her state-issued medical marijuana registration had expired.

Saltzman was not convicted of a crime. Charges were dropped last week after she renewed her medical cannabis paperwork.

However, news of her arrest is causing nationwide outrage.

Saltzman’s case is also likely to serve as a rallying point this fall, when Michigan voters will decide on a broader marijuana legalization ballot initiative—which Saltzman now heartily endorses.

Saltzman had been a medical cannabis patient for about four years when Clare County Sheriff’s Deputy Ashley Gruno visited Saltzman’s home at around 9 p.m. on June 13.

The grandmother credits cannabis with saving her life, after doctors prescribed her opioids that “caused stomach pains and vomiting,” she told a local Fox affiliate.

According to court records, Deputy Gruno was there to locate Saltzman’s great-granddaughter, who had lost her phone and ID, when she smelled marijuana while on Saltzman’s porch.

Saltzman told the deputy the marijuana was hers. She also revealed that while she was a licensed medical marijuana patient, she had let her recommendation expire.

Medical cannabis has been legal in Michigan since 2008.

It can take up to a month for patients to have a renewal application processed, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.

According to researchers, based on differing areas’ arrest rates, police in Michigan (as well as everywhere else) “exercise considerable discretion regarding enforcement, not just for marijuana offenses”—meaning, police in situations like Gruno’s have a choice whether or not to enforce the law to the fullest.

Marijuana possession in Michigan is a misdemeanor, and Gruno chose to enforce the law.

The officer seized “several pipes, four joints and one purple jar” with less than an eighth of an ounce of cannabis, Saltzman said.

The deputy then searched the octogenarian’s bedroom, handcuffed her and took her off to jail for the night, where cold conditions severely aggravated her arthritis, she said.

Gruno also failed to read Saltzman her Miranda rights, Saltzman said.

According to Michelle Ambrozaitis, the Clare County prosecutor, Saltzman was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession after Deputy Gruno forwarded on the case to prosecutors for charging.

“However, our goal is to ensure that individuals who utilize medical marijuana are doing so legally,” Ambrozaitis wrote in a statement provided to Fox 17. “As such, Ms. Saltzman was encouraged to obtain her medical marijuana card and if she did so, the case would be dismissed. She did obtain her medical marijuana card and the case was dismissed.”

The charges were dismissed last week. In a statement provided to the television station, Clare County Sheriff John Wilson seemed to defend the arrest.

“What the person was doing was illegal, had she renewed her medical marijuana card she would have been fine,” he wrote in a statement. “The person was illegally in possession of marijuana.”

According to Saltzman, though her registration was renewed, she’s still waiting on her card—and, were Gruno to visit her home again, she could technically be sent back to jail.

Saltzman says she’s now sharing her story for two reasons: to encourage others to be open participants in the state’s medical marijuana program, and to encourage everyone to vote for the legalization initiative in November.

Legalization has followed busts of sick senior citizens in other jurisdictions.

Perhaps most infamously, in September 2016, Massachusetts cops used a helicopter to raid the home of an 81-year-old woman who was growing a single marijuana plant.

Less than three months later, Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Michigan Cops Lock Up 80-Year Old Grandmother For Expired Medical Marijuana Card

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Measure Approved For Ballot

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Measure Approved For Ballot

State elections officials in Michigan have certified that activists have enough support to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the November ballot.

On Thursday, the Board of State Canvassers voted 4-0 to approve the validity of the more than 250,000 signatures turned in by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

Earlier this week, Marijuana Moment first reported that staff with the Bureau of Elections estimated that organizers collected 277,370 valid signatures, exceeding the 252,523 needed to qualify for ballot access.

Thursday’s action by the Board of State Canvassers certifies the count.

Now, the Republican-controlled legislature has has 40 days to enact the measure into law as-is, place it before voters on the ballot or come up with an alternate legalization question to appear alongside the activist-supported one.

Reports have circulated in recent weeks that GOP legislative leaders were considering simply passing a legalization bill instead of letting the question go to the ballot because they fear it will drive voter turnout among young people and other constituencies that tend to support Democrats.

But House Speaker Tom Leonard (R) reportedly said on Thursday that his chamber would not be voting on legalization this year

“With polls showing nearly 60 percent of Michigan voters supporting legalization, it’s clear that the public is way ahead of the politicians on this issue,” Jeffrey Hank, executive director of MILegalize, said in a press release. “The people are tired of the failed policies of the past and understand that creating reasonable, responsible regulations is the way forward to tens of thousands of new jobs and opportunities in Michigan. This November the people will make their voice heard!”

The proposed Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act would allow adults over 21 to possess, grow and use small amounts of marijuana legally. Specifically, they could grow up to 12 total marijuana plants in a single residence, possess 2.5 ounces outside their homes and store 10 ounces at home (in addition to what they grow legally).

State regulators would grant business licenses for cultivators, processors, testing facilities, secure transporters, retail stores and microbusinesses (i.e. small businesses cultivating a low number of plants from which they would sell product directly to consumers). Municipalities would be empowered to regulate or ban cannabis businesses.

Retail sales would be subject to a 10 percent excise tax in addition to the state’s regular six percent sales tax. Revenues would cover the cost of regulation and additionally fund schools, roads, local governments and FDA-approved research on medical marijuana’s role in helping military veterans struggling with PTSD and other conditions

Some law enforcement veterans are supporting the legalization measure.

“This is an important reform that will help end thousands of unnecessary arrests and redirect law enforcement resources to real needs – like combating violent crime and fighting the opioid epidemic – while also generating hundreds of millions of new tax dollars for our schools, roads and local governments,” former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon said.

Elsewhere, Utah activists collected enough signatures to qualify a medical cannabis measure for that state’s November ballot, county officials determined last week.

And in Oklahoma, voters will see a medical marijuana question on their June 26 primary ballot, while proposed cannabis measures are still pending in several other states.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Michigan Marijuana Legalization Measure Approved For Ballot

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