Raise high the Cup
Michigan Medical Cannabis Cup spurs and rewards creativity
Published: October 26, 2011
But the thrilling years of forward motion toward legalization in Michigan came to a halt in 1977, when the state Legislature refused to take the process of increasing the rationality of the marijuana statutes any further. For 30 years, the status quo persisted and the law enforcement industry found new ways to benefit from the criminal proscription against marijuana.
Arresting marijuana smokers in Michigan is like shooting fish in a barrel. The thousands and thousands of arrestees were channeled into a well-organized and highly efficient system of punishment that no longer focused on prison time for offenders but substituted fines, court costs, probation fees, drug treatment programs to rehabilitate the marijuana smoker and, in extreme cases, the confiscation of cash, bank accounts, homes, cars and other assets.
No matter the exact form of punishment meted out to a particular defendant, in every instance the offenders were stained with the indelible stigma of conviction as a drug criminal, with severe implications in terms of employment, housing and virtually every other aspect of daily life.
A vast industry mushroomed on the backs of the pitiful victims of the law enforcement juggernaut. Think of it in all its dimensions: legions of narcotics police, prosecutors, lawyers, judges, jailers, probation officers, drug treatment specialists — all sucking money out of the marijuana defendants and the taxpayers to build their power and might.
Top this off with a state Legislature that is dead set against even the reasonable implementation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act to the full extent mandated by the 62 percent of voting citizens and we've got a lot of cards stacked against us. But we're still allowed to vote and we can extend the present act even further by utilizing the citizen petition process once again — next year.
This bears further discussion at some length, but it'll have to be a little later because this column is over for this installment. Thanks for reading.
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