Still bummed by the horrible trillion dollar spending bill the U.S. Congress passed over the weekend? Yes, it’s terrible, and it doesn’t help to know how many Democratic congressmen voted for it too. It’s not all bad news though.
Unless you’re Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Buried in that 1600 page bill is a thin silver lining for medical marijuana sellers in Michigan. When President Obama signs that crappy bill into law, Bill Schuette’s federal funding to harass and persecute medical marijuana sellers disappears. That’s right, states with medical marijuana laws can no longer be prosecuted by the Justice Department. Thank Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California for adding that spending cut to the bill. Once the funding is gone, law enforcement won’t be as enthused to bust medical marijuana producers and sellers.
In 2008 Michigan voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of allowing medical marijuana in the state. The law requires patients to apply for a medical marijuana card. Sellers also must follow specific guidelines restricting how many patients they can grow medical marijuana for and how much they can provide for each patient.
In August, 2011, Bill Schuette and the Michigan State Police launched an aggressive state-wide campaign against medical marijuana sellers operating out of storefront shops. They closed down nearly every dispensary in a matter of days. Bill Schuette argued that the law said nothing about running medical marijuana shops, so they were illegal. In February, 2013, Schuette won a case in the state Supreme Court that criminalized medical marijuana sellers. Patients were still allowed to use marijuana to medicate; it became illegal to sell marijuana to medical marijuana patients.
While a battle wages in the state legislature to reverse that decision, the federal spending bill is going to also help out medical marijuana sellers in the state.
What motivates Bill Schuette to be so, well, Schuette to medical marijuana supporters? Bill Schuette is heir to the Dow Chemical empire. He’s rich, white, well-connected and has ambitious political plans. Bill Schuette believes that in 2018 when it’s time for the rich, white privileged nerd to vacate the governor’s seat, it will be his turn to sit in it. One way to do that is appear tough on crime, so medical marijuana is easy pickings.
But now it’s about to get much harder for Bill Schuette to be Schuette to people legally providing their patients with much needed medicine. A positive light in an otherwise horrible piece of federal legislation.