The Week Ahead: Medical Marijuana Makes Movement in Midwest

The Week Ahead is Monterey Bud’s weekly column focusing down on the most pressing cannabis policies, issues and discussions. Each Monday, Monterey Bud brings his voice to comment on the marijuana industry and the politics of cannabis from the perspective of a weed apostle.

An Indiana legislator finds inspiration from Colorado and supports medical cannabis legalization, while Michigan approves 16 licenses for its medical marijuana program.

As we head into the week of Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, here’s what you need to know.

Indiana Cultivates Political Support For Medicinal Cannabis

Indiana’s push to legalize medical marijuana made noteworthy progress on Saturday when elected officials and cannabis advocates gathered for a town hall hosted by the Indiana chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). According to the Indianapolis Star, more than 100 like-minded advocates joined Democratic state Reps. Sue Errington, Democratic state Sen. Karen Tallian, and Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas to discuss the medicinal benefits of cannabis and how to best gain support during the 2019 legislative session.

Lucas played off the “marijuana is a gateway” adage when he said “It is a gateway drug. it’s a gateway to a better quality of life.”

Lucas, having recently returned from a trip to Colorado, plans to support its reform during next year’s legislative session.

“Colorado respects the freedom of adults acting responsibly and that’s what we need to do here,” Lucas said.

This is a positive step for Hoosiers in need of medicinal cannabis. Additionally, Indiana’s state House of Representatives unanimously voted in January to study the issue in  fall 2018 ahead of 2019’s legislative session.

And the people of Indiana seem to agree.

In 2016, a WTHR/HPI Indiana statewide poll found that 73 percent of respondents said they support medical marijuana. While Democrats in Indiana were more likely to support legalizing medical marijuana, a majority of Republicans — 59 percent — said they favored legalization. The age group with the lowest amount of support were respondents older than 65, although with a majority — 57 percent — favoring legalization.

Michigan Bureau of Medical Marihuana Issues 16 Licenses.

Now that Michigan’s Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations has approved 16 licenses, any medical marijuana businesses found operating without a license after Sept. 15, 2018, will be forced to close. Back in April 2018, more than 200 Michigan medical marijuana dispensaries were forced to close.

NPR in Michigan reported quoted bureau spokesman David Harns saying, “When they get up and running [the licensed dispensaries]need to make sure that they follow the rules, deliver safe product to the end users because that’s the ultimate goal.”

Harns believes approximately two-thirds of Michigan’s medical marijuana cardholders will resid within 30 miles of a licensed dispensary.

Because of a legislative peculiarity, Michigan is by law required to refer to cannabis with the archaic “marihuana” spelling.

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