Thursday, 25 April 2019 11:04

Potshots: May 2019

Written by  Andy Balaskovitz
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Screenshot from Gretchen Whitmer's Hash Bash Video. Screenshot from Gretchen Whitmer's Hash Bash Video. Courtesy photo

The first glimpse of prospective medical marijuana businesses has emerged in Grand Rapids, reports Sydney Smith in Revue sister publication MiBiz. Potential businesses — 91 applicants in all — dot mostly southeast and north Grand Rapids, with a majority of the entrepreneurs from out of town. An unintended consequence of the city’s zoning ordinance has been the concentration of businesses in certain areas, sending property values skyrocketing.

While less of an issue in West Michigan, unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries may face a hard June 1 closure date under legislation fast-tracked at the Capitol. Since efforts to close them have failed in the courts, lawmakers plan to step in. The bill also has bipartisan support due to growing concerns about unlicensed stores having a leg up on the licensed competition. The state says 70 licensed dispensaries are operating.

In news from across the Bridge, the Bay Mills Indian Community in the U.P. became the first tribe in Michigan to legalize pot for adult use. Tribal law on possession and growing mirror state law. Chairman Bryan Newland said in a statement that while the move doesn’t promote the use of cannabis, “we believe that criminalizing it is bad policy.” Indeed.

As legalization unfolds, an ongoing problem for pot users and a challenge for law enforcement is determining when someone is driving while high. Smoking before bed and driving to work shouldn’t be an issue, right? But without an accurate way of measuring it (like a Breathalyzer for alcohol), it’ll still show up in your system. The Impaired Driving Safety Commission appointed by former Gov. Rick Snyder agrees, and recently recommended not setting a blood limit for marijuana in the system. Instead, the commission recommends police continue to use roadside sobriety tests.

The 48th annual Hash Bash took place in Ann Arbor on April 6 in what Detroit Metro Times called the “dawn of a new era.” The first Hash Bash with pot legalized was reportedly a celebration of freedom and not a protest, similar to the inaugural 1972 Hash Bash when pot was briefly legal after a state Supreme Court ruling. Crowds reportedly chanted “f*** Bill Schuette!” (you know the guy), while the event had the blessing of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. In a 30-second video clip released by the Governor’s Office, Whitmer said she’s focused on efficient ways to regulate the industry and was “proud of the work we did to pass Prop 1. Stay safe and have fun.”

Breaking news just before we headed to print, Michigan State University researchers announced new findings that marijuana users who smoke cannabis weigh less compared to adults who don’t. The findings were based on Body Mass Index data from 33,000 adults. However, the study stopped short of suggesting why. Perhaps it’s behavioral — as in, marijuana smokers being more conscious about their food intake. Perhaps its biological and receptors are acting differently from the THC. I have my theories. For now, MSU proclaims: “Marijuana users weigh less, defying the munchies.”

— Compiled by Andy Balaskovitz

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