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    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor

    Detroit home-girl Lily Tomlin will perform at the Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, June 14. A press release reads, “Get together with Lily Tomlin for an unforgettable night of fun and sidesplitting laughter. “Tomlin is amazing” The NY Times and “as always a revelation.” The New Yorker This unique comic artist takes her audience on what the Washington Post calls a “wise and howlingly funny” trip with more than a dozen of her timeless characters—from Ernestine to Mrs. Beasley to Edith Ann.” “With astounding skill and energy, Tomlin zaps through the channels like a human remote control. Using a fantastic range of voices, gestures and movements, she conjures up the cast of characters with all the apparent ease of a magician pulling a whole menagerie of animals from a single hat.” NY Daily News “Her gentle touch is as comforting as it is edifying.” NY Time Out She has “made the one-person show the daring, irreverent art form it is today.” Newsweek Her long list of awards includes: a Grammy; two Tonys; six Emmys; an Oscar nomination; two Peabodys; and the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Find more info here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post Lily Tomlin coming to Ann Arbor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor

    The Detroit Metro Times, Detroit’s award-winning alternative weekly media company, is proud to announce the recent hire of Valerie Vande Panne as Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning independent journalist and Michigan native, Vande Panne’s work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications. Previously, Vande Panne attended Harvard University and was a regular contributor to The Boston Phoenix, and a news editor of High Times magazine. She has spent years covering drug policy among other subjects, including the environment, culture, lifestyle, extreme sports, and academia. “Valerie understands our business and what we expect to accomplish in Detroit. She has an excellent sense for stories that will move our readers, as well as experience with balancing print and digital content. I’m excited to have her at the paper and trust her leadership as we move forward,” said Detroit Metro Times publisher Chris Keating.

    The post Welcome Valerie Vande Panne, the new Detroit Metro Times editor appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’

    She welcomes you when you enter Detroit, from every direction, with the one word that might just be Detroit’s biggest philosophical question: Injured? Joumana Kayrouz is deeper than the inflated image watching over Detroit, peddling justice to the poor and broken of the city. This Wednesday, Drew Philp takes us behind the billboard and into the heart of the Kayrouz quest. (And all of Brian Rozman’s photos of Kayrouz have not been retouched.) Check out MT‘s cover story, on newsstands Wednesday!

    The post Joumana Kayrouz to cover ‘Metro Times’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt

    There was a fire in an upstairs apartment at PJ’s Lager House on Monday evening. No people were hurt, although three cats belonging to the tenants died after CPR. The fire broke out around 10:30 p.m. during a show featuring Zombie Jesus & the Chocolate Sunshine Band, Curtin, and Jeffrey Jablonsky. “We just smelled smoke and someone yelled everyone has to get out,” 33-year-old Nick Leu told MLive. On the Lager House Facebook page in the early hours of the morning, a post said, “We at PJ’s lager House would like to thank everyone for their care and concern. Also, a very big THANK YOU to all who stepped up to do what they could this evening. The fire was contained to the upstairs but due to water damage in the bar, we will be closed until it can be assessed. Everyone is safe and we will keep you updated.” A later update read, “Update from the big boss. Since there was no damage to the stage side of the bar, the show will go on tomorrow! You may have to enter through the back door and there may not be a large selection of booze but we are going […]

    The post Fire at PJ’s Lager House, no people hurt 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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