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  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editor twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday evening. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Higher Ground

Washington and Colorado Legalize Pot

Michigan fiddles while the west burns one.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


What a waste of the state Legislature’s time. SB660 was passed by the Michigan Senate last week to much posturing and politicking by our lawmakers, and a fair amount of grousing by marijuana legalization activists. I’m not sure why any of them bothered. 

Senate Bill 660 says that if the federal government ever reschedules marijuana, then Michigan will allow the Canadian corporation Prairie Plant Systems (PPS) to run 16 marijuana grows in the state to produce what they consider certified “pharmaceutical grade” marijuana that would be sold in drug stores. 

The system would not replace the current system of patients and caregivers — it would be another option for patients. That’s if and when the feds change the scheduling of marijuana from its classification as a drug with no accepted medical use.

If you’ve been paying attention, PPS is the same company that floated the idea of growing marijuana in a former copper mine in the Upper Peninsula last year. Chuck Perricone, the former GOP Michigan House speaker, is a lobbyist for PPS, which probably explains how this legislation showed up in our legislature — and seemed to slide through like greased lightning. At the same time, HB4271, which would allow municipalities to decide whether to allow dispensaries within their borders, and HB4623, which would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, are stalled in committee. And, as the federal government has not shown any inclination to reschedule marijuana, the whole thing seems an exercise in corralling possible future money from a possible future change in federal policy. It has no impact on what is going on in the state right now — or anytime in the foreseeable future. 

PPS was formerly the exclusive producer of medical marijuana in Canada. According to a report on, the company has a spotty record. It produced only one strain of cannabis with a 7 percent THC level and no reported CBD. 

Canadians for Safe Access reported in 2007 that samples of the plant from a PPS grow in an abandoned copper and zinc mine in Manitoba showed substantial levels of arsenic and lead. Legislative support for SB660 was based on the unsubstantiated idea that there is dangerous marijuana in circulation with all kinds of molds, pesticides and other toxins — in addition to nonstandard potencies. HB4271 requires testing for molds and toxins.

Perricone testified that, “Our fundamental premise is that we, in fact, make it medical — pharmaceutical grade, pure, predictable and measurable, tested every step of the way. It will be, we believe, a small segment of the market, but it will be a choice. It will be an option.”

So why did the senate bother with this? It’s probably a sign that even senators in the state realize that medical cannabis is not going away and interested parties are lining up for the profits. Furthermore, it all would be pretty much moot if decriminalization were to come to Michigan. HB4623 would do that. If the legislature doesn’t do it, then activists expect to run a well-financed decriminalization initiative no later than 2016.

Washington State and Colorado Gear Up

In the meantime, concerned eyes the world over are focusing on Washington state and Colorado as they set the rules for legal cannabis. They are busy as bees (or buffalos) in Colorado. I called the state National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) office and was told that I could get an interview with the director in the first week of December. I did better in Washington, talking with Ken Oliver, a member of the national NORML board and director of the Washington state affiliate. There, the state Liquor Control Board is in charge of implementing the new system.

“Realistically, I’m excited about it,” Oliver says. “People who want to see prohibition end have a lot of hope. There are not many hiccups. Sometimes I try to step back but I’m in the forest and can’t see anything but trees; to get perspective is difficult.”

Perspective? How about the whole world that wants to see how the first legal cannabis system since the substance was made illegal in 1937 turns out?

The Washington rules call for 334 retail stores statewide, with 21 in Seattle, its biggest city. On Monday, Washington began taking applications for licenses by producers, processors and retailers. Producers and processors cannot be retailers (and vice versa), and any single entity can have no more than three retail outlets. Initially, there will be 21 stores in Seattle and 332 statewide. No retail outlet can be within 1,000 feet of a school or a park. There are lots of behind-the-scenes rules regarding growing, testing and security, but that’s insider stuff we don’t need to get into. There will be adjustments once authorities get a sense of how much demand is out there. Retail packaging is another issue. It has to be child-resistant and have labeling with warnings and dosage declarations. In Washington, residents and nonresidents who are 21 and older can buy as much as 1 ounce at a time. 

Colorado’s system is different. The first licenses there are going to existing medical marijuana outlets, which can flip any existing inventory over to the new system. There, residents can buy as much as 1 ounce, while nonresidents can buy only 1/4 ounce. Also, Colorado residents can grow as many as six plants in their home for their own use. In Washington, individuals cannot grow their own. However, the state’s medical marijuana system is still in place, wherein anyone who has a recommendation from a doctor can grow up to 15 plants for personal use. There is no state registry there.

Both states are struggling with issues and rules regarding public consumption. In Washington, it’s a civil offense punishable with a $150 fine, the same as for public consumption of alcohol. In Denver, where public consumption has become an issue, proposed strict laws making marijuana illegal in some places are working through the system.

“The people who put this together are coming from the right place,” Oliver says of the state administrators. “I don’t vilify or try to find things wrong with them. The reason it went to the liquor control board is it had the infrastructure to do it. I don’t think the two substances should be compared.”

The two shouldn’t be compared. And technically speaking, we know less about marijuana than we do about alcohol. So there is plenty to learn about how this process works. The world is waiting to get schooled. 

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