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  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointment’s to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Higher Ground

Why medical marijuana testing is big business in Michigan

Putting pot to the test.

Photo: Illustration by Lee DeVito., License: N/A

Illustration by Lee DeVito.

The managers at Iron Laboratories LLC seemed a bit anxious when I visited their facility on Maple Road in Walled Lake. They’re wary of how they’re portrayed in the media.

“We wouldn’t have done this one year ago,” says CEO Robert Teitel. “Now it’s time.”

That wariness comes from the fact that their business is testing medical marijuana. Marijuana is, shall we say, a testy business in Michigan right now. Since the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) was passed in 2008, marijuana businesses have often been on shaky ground due to continuing attitudes against them. The legislation has been interpreted unevenly by various local governments and law enforcement agencies. There are places, such as Washtenaw County, that have taken a gentler attitude toward what will be tolerated, and other places, such as Oakland County, that have taken a tougher stance. 

Iron Laboratories is located in Oakland County, so the founding partners, Teitel and CFO Howard Lutz, are understandably trying to toe the line and do things in a manner that won’t cause trouble. They seem very concerned that things are done correctly when it comes to medical marijuana. As one faction of medical marijuana advocates says, if it’s going to be medical, let’s make it medical. That means marijuana free of pesticides, fungi, and other contaminants. It also means knowing the levels of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD in any product, and being consistent with those levels. 

That’s where Iron Labs fits in. They’re concerned with the credibility of the industry and seem to have built a wall between themselves and anything to do with promoting recreational use. 

“We want to fill in the gaps between what is known and what is myth,” says Lutz. “Since Sanjay Gupta said that CBD is helping people, it has exploded. Parents of sick children are calling, saying they got something that’s supposed to have CBD and they want to verify that it’s actually what they’ve been told.”

That’s one of the reasons that “it’s time” for them to be more public. There are people peddling what they call high-CBD, non-psychotropic hemp, but in a sometimes-underground industry, nobody knows for sure what they might be getting. And some people are making claims that just aren’t true.

“Some parents of sick children have expectations that aren’t going to ever be met,” Teitel says.

Iron Labs has been in business three years under fluctuating legal conditions as various legal rulings redefine the playing field. Not that they’ve been hiding. They depend on the public in order to do business, with some 600 clients, including individuals, caretakers, compassion clubs, and other places that supply medical marijuana to patients. It’s a membership organization with a $175 lifetime membership fee. That fee includes two sample tests; further tests have a lower additional charge. The membership model is what most organizations doing business with medical marijuana in Michigan follow.

Iron Labs makes no claim about the efficacy of medical marijuana — “We’re not doctors,” says Lutz — but they want to deliver accurate results to caregivers and patients seeking information about what they have. They test buds, edibles, liquids, infused products, pretty much every method people use to deliver an effective dose of medication. It takes up to a gram of material to get an accurate test.

It can be very important when it comes to edibles and infused products. There have been cases in Michigan in which patients were charged with possession of more than the legal amount of marijuana because the total weight of their brownies, cookies, etc., exceeded the limit. Law enforcement has even claimed that they can’t tell how much plant material or THC is in it. 

“Of course we can,” Lutz says. Iron Labs can indeed test and provide documentation of those levels.

Marijuana, of course, does have medical uses. Even in Colorado, where recreational use became legal on Jan. 1, the sale of medical marijuana has so far outpaced that of recreational, and “marijuana refugees” have moved to the state in order to have access to it. 

Nationally, medical marijuana is big business, and the guys at Iron Labs have even considered adding locations in other states.

They’re businessmen, although the five folks who do the actual analysis of materials are chemists and biologists. Each of them is also a legal caretaker or patient. Teitel and Lutz, who have been friends since childhood, speak in terms of being employers and stopping the brain drain of young educated people from the state. They say they get résumés from new college grads all the time. 

The science and technical staff does have a just-out-of-college look — they’re young, a couple of them sporting dreadlocks and tats as they quietly go about their liquid and gas chromatography or other analysis on expensive lab equipment.

Nobody here is taking a big draw on a blunt and declaring it “good shit.” And this business has no interest in cultivation or distribution of the product. Even the name of the company was chosen to avoid interpretation of any kind of stoner image. The name “Iron” is to imply that you get ironclad results.

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