Medical Marijuana

Three years ago Michigan voters approved a new state law allowing the use of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, this act is riddled with as many holes as a hunk of Swiss cheese.

Even the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws association admits that the Michigan law was written by groups who support the legalization of marijuana altogether, and that the law was written vaguely. The ambiguity of the law is causing problems for our local communities and law enforcement officials.

A recent poll conducted by Marketing Resource Group and Inside Michigan Politics found that 52 percent of supporters believe the law should be reformed to address concerns of both the Legislature and the state courts.

That is why I am working hard on legislation to help clear up some of the concerns raised since medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan.

I have sponsored Senate Bills 504 and 505 to help crack down on the lax regulation of medical marijuana.

Senate Bill 504 would prohibit the selling of medical marijuana at facilities often known as “dispensaries” within 1,000 feet of a church/place of worship or school zone. SB 505 would prohibit convicted felons from registering to be caregivers and selling medical marijuana at dispensaries.

Other changes to the Medical Marijuana Act currently being considered include:

1) Defining a doctor/patient relationship, as currently there is nothing in the law addressing this issue;
2) Addressing how medical marijuana is transported in vehicles; and
3) Ensuring medical marijuana is not a covered benefit for no-fault insurance claims and workers comp claims.

As a former sheriff, this is an issue I am dedicated to. I ensure you that I will not stop until the holes currently in the Medical Marijuana Act are addressed.
 

Jones: No-fault should not cover medical marijuana

LANSING — Medical marijuana would not be a covered no-fault insurance benefit if legislation approved by a Senate panel Wednesday becomes state law, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bill 321, which was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would specify that personal protection insurance benefits (no-fault insurance) do not cover the medical use of marijuana.

“I don’t want my constituents’ insurance rates to go up to cover individuals using medical marijuana,” Jones said. “As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I wanted to act quickly on this important measure and close this loophole in state law.”

SB 321 will now go before the full Senate for further consideration.

Senate to address new marijuana problem in Michigan

LANSING — State Sens. Rick Jones and Tonya Schuitmaker announced today that legislation is being drafted to stop out-of-state marijuana growers.

The Michigan State Police have reported problems with out-of-state people renting homes, using the rental receipt to get a Michigan driver’s license, and then obtaining a Michigan marijuana card.

These individuals then start grow operations in the rental homes and return to the border state – only to come back once a week to tend their crop. After harvest, the crop is sold back in the border states. By operating this way, they are insulated from arrest while manufacturing their drugs. A typical example would be people from Illinois growing in Michigan to sell in Chicago.

“Agriculture is the rising star of Michigan, but this is not the type of farmer we need,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “People growing marijuana for sale as dope in Chicago can present a danger to Michigan residents.”

Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, added, “These out-of-state grow operations do not fulfill the obligation to either the Michigan voters or to our patients with debilitating conditions such as cancer. Our intent is to provide parameters for those who are abusing the system.”

Schuitmaker and Jones are drafting legislation to require at least a one-year residency before obtaining a Michigan marijuana card.

Senate Judiciary Committee to tackle Caylees Law

WHO: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; other members of the committee; and interested parties.

WHAT: Committee hearing will explore the following questions:
1)      Should a parent have to report a missing child?
2)      Should medical marijuana be covered under no-fault insurance?

WHEN: Today
 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Farnum Building
 Room 110
 125 W. Allegan St., Lansing               

BRIEF: Measures before the committee include:

  • SB 580 would require individuals responsible for the care of a minor to immediately report the death of the minor to a police agency or other emergency service provider. Those who fail to comply would be guilty of a felony;
  • SB 626 would establish sentencing guidelines for the felony crime of failure to report a missing child (two years) under SB 580; and
  • Senate Bill 321 would specify that personal protection insurance benefits (no-fault insurance) do not cover the medical use of marijuana.

Both SBs 580 and 626 were introduced following the Casey Anthony case in Florida earlier this year.
 

Jones commends Schuette decision about smoking marijuana in public places

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said today that a recent opinion by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on the use of marijuana by medical card holders at food service establishments, hotels, motels and apartment buildings reinforces the public’s desire to keep smoke out of places of public accommodation.

“The attorney general’s opinion that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does prohibit the drug’s use in places of public accommodation empowers owners and operators of Michigan’s hotels, motels, food service operations and their patrons,” said Jones, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This decision makes it clear that marijuana is not to be used in a public setting and that is good for business and for public safety.”

The opinion was prompted by constituents of Jones who contacted the senator’s office about the matter. Jones directed those concerns to Schuette which led to the attorney general’s opinion on Sept. 15.

For more information about this and other issues, please visit Jones’ website at www.senatorrickjones.com.
 

Jones: The public good should be first consideration for Lansing property deals

Davenport University recently offered to make a land swap for the Oliver Towers property that Lansing Community College would like to purchase to increase parking. LCC also offered to buy a nearby parking structure, but that proposal was shelved. Then a local business man wanted to buy the structure as an investment, which would lead to higher costs for LCC. In the meantime, the city has closed the parking structure and is refurbishing it.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, issued the following statement today on the controversial Oliver Towers property and the nearby parking structure:

“I urge the Lansing City Council to make the ‘public good’ the first consideration for Oliver Towers and the adjacent property. Lansing Community College is landlocked in the city and needs to expand. If Oliver Towers and the adjacent property are put into a land swap deal then LCC will be harmed. This property should be put up for a fair bidding process. That is the best outcome for the taxpayers.

“The University Center at LCC is partially state funded.  This center allows local students to get a degree from the University of Michigan–Flint and the universities of Western Michigan and Ferris State. The center could be harmed if the nearby parking is lost. LCC leases parking near the towers, and this parking is sorely needed.

“To help with parking, LCC wants to buy the city-owned parking structure that is currently closed while being refurbished. If the city ever decides to sell the structure there should be a fair bidding process. LCC and the taxpayers deserve nothing less.

“As an LCC alum, I want to see it expand and prosper for the public good. If the city of Lansing does not treat LCC fairly in its efforts to increase parking, then the school should consider further expansion into Delta Township at the Westside branch where parking is free.”

Charges filed in case of using medical marijuana to influence votes

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones applauded the Michigan attorney general’s office today after officials charged the owner of a medical marijuana clinic for using free pot in an attempt to swing an election.

“Giving away free pot to influence voting is outrageous and must be stopped,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge, “I applaud the attorney general for protecting the integrity of Michigan elections by charging those responsible for such a blatant attempt to swing the vote. I also will continue to work with the attorney general’s office in case additional legislation is needed.”

On Monday, the attorney general’s office filed a misdemeanor charge of trying to influence votes with a “valuable consideration” against Shekina Pena, owner of Your Healthy Choice Clinic. The Lansing medical marijuana clinic was offering free pot to individuals registering to vote.

Jones contacted the attorney general’s office regarding this situation when he learned of the scheme in July.

Content posted on the clinic’s website under the link: “Protect Your Access! Vote 2011,” read: “All dispensaries are doing a voter registration drive. If you sign up at Your Healthy Choice, we will assist you in filling out the registration form and will mail it out for you. … So in appreciation, we will reward legal patients with a .5 gram free or a free medible!”

The term “medible” refers to edible marijuana.

The same site went on to say that voters should support candidates Derrick Quinney, A’Lynne Robinson, and Harold Leeman for the Lansing City Council, and not Carol Wood or Jody Washington.

Loophole in Michigan law allows foster parent to have sex with kids

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, was shocked to learn that a Barry County youth home administrator licensed to care for 15 children has been charged with 11 sex charges. Numerous cases cannot be brought against the individual because of questionable consent.

“I am shocked that this evil sex abuser cannot be held accountable because his victims who are 16 and 17 years old can give questionable consent under current Michigan law,” Jones said. “These are abused and neglected children who were entrusted to his care. I’m angry that the taxpayers of Michigan are paying this creep to have sex with children.”

Jones is working with Barry County Prosecutor Tom Evans and the Michigan Department of Human Services to immediately draft legislation to change state law to protect foster children and children in youth homes.

Traditionally under Michigan law when someone has authority and power over a person, that person cannot give consent. Examples would be teachers and 16- and 17-year-old students, or jail correction officers and inmates. Under the law, inmates cannot give consent.

“In line with state law, children in foster and youth homes should not be able to give consent to individuals with authority over them,” Jones said.

In related news, Jones received a report from police officers that foster parents are growing and smoking medical marijuana around foster children. Jones met with DHS officials Friday to put an end to the problem. DHS officials informed Jones that they are currently working on rules to prevent this behavior.

“When taxpayers are paying someone to protect and safeguard children they do not expect the caregivers to grow and smoke marijuana around them,” Jones said. “I will draft legislation to stop this abuse in case DHS does not pass new rules soon.”

Auction, luncheon to benefit Kelley Miller

LANSING — Two months ago Kelley Miller’s life drastically changed when she sustained serious injuries in a hit-and-run accident on July 31.

As a result of the accident, the Mulliken resident is now a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic and needs to spend the next six to 12 months in a rehabilitation hospital in Colorado.

A benefit auction and luncheon is planned for Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Family Farm & Home located at 1870 E. Grand River in Portland.

Lunch (which includes pork sandwiches, chips, cake and beverages) is $8 for adults and $5 for children. All proceeds from the lunch will help offset the cost of travel, lodging and other expenses for her family while she is hospitalized.

“Kelley and her family are facing a long and expensive road to recovery,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I encourage everyone to attend this event and help Kelley and her family finance their trip to Colorado so she can receive the medical care she needs. I look forward to attending this event and helping the Miller family. I hope to see you there.”
 

Senate approves Jones cost-saving measure

LANSING — Legislation approved by the Michigan Senate Wednesday will allow municipal jails to collect reimbursement costs from inmates, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“This proposal will help municipal jails across the state recoup the costs of housing inmates,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “As a former sheriff, I know how expensive it is to jail inmates. I’m glad to see this money-saving measure advance toward becoming law.”

Senate Bill 393 allows municipal jails to collect on reimbursement costs from inmates.

Under current law, county jails can force inmates to reimburse them for costs associated with their stay, while a municipal jail or lock-up (a 1-3 day facility) cannot.

“This is an issue of fairness,” Jones said. “If inmates are going to use taxpayer resources, they should have to pay for them. I urge my colleagues in the House to vote ‘yes’ on this bill and send it to the governor.”

SB 393 will now go before the House of Representatives for further consideration.