a green cannabis plant

Let’s Think About Marijuana as Medicine

About once a week or so we’ll have a conversation with a person who has tried cannabis and says something like this: I tried it once and I got so high, it was awful. Or I tried it, and it didn’t work for me. We understand this, but we implore you to consider some ideas and marijuana as medicine.

Think about cold medicines. Over the years you’ve learned what works best for you, with trial and error and by testing liquids, sprays, pills and capsules. You know what makes you feel right and relieves your symptoms. If you take prescription medicine, you might have had a similar experience trying to find something that works perfectly. It’s not an uncommon experience to try a few things before you achieve the best results.

Think about marijuana more traditionally.

Here are a few things to consider when trying marijuana as medicine for the first time or trying it again after a period of time.

Read up on dosage.
This is especially important with edibles. In Michigan, marijuana medicine products are created and packaged in different dosages. For instance, a package of gummies might have a total THC measure of 100mg and each medical marijuana ediblespiece is 10 mg, which is easy to understand. A trail bar might have 80 mg, which you need to cut into right size pieces. With something crumbly, this can be a challenge. Err on the side of caution and try a smaller portion as opposed to larger. If you’ve never consumed edibles, test a piece that is 5 mg or even less. Do not eat any more until 90 minutes have passed since your first bite.photo of a clock, take time for marijuana as medicine to work

Wait and see.
photo of a clock, take time for marijuana as medicine to workWith any kind of medicine you take, cannabis or traditional it’s important to give the compounds time to take effect. With inhaled marijuana, you’ll feel the effect within a few minutes and it’ll increase as time goes on, then arc and fade away. With edible cannabis, it can take up to an hour for you to feel the effect and if you’ve ingested too much, you’ll know it and feel it longer than if you’d consumed a concentrate or flower.

Study the strains.
When purchasing marijuana as medicine, study the strain and the properties it claims to have. One of the most popular resources for this information is Leafly where you can explore strains that are most likely to help with your condition, be it depression, pain, stomach pain or anxiety. This piece in Medical NewsToday, written by a pharmacist is helpful, too.
Indica strains are more calming and have a heavier or relaxing feel. They’re commonly used for pain.image of cannabis flowers and three joints for when marijuana is medicine
Sativa strains are more uplifting and good for people dealing people dealing with low moods or needing an energy boost.
Hybrids have some properties of both and are worth exploring.

While it isn’t always easy to discuss marijuana as medicine with your health care provider, it is advisable to do so. Other strain advice can be found by talking with your cannabis caregiver, other patients and with people at the provisioning center. Remember, strain advice isn’t medical advice.

Start small.
Whether you’re consuming with a vape pen, smoking flower or eating a brownie, it’s incredibly important to start small and don’t use alcohol when you’re testing. With a vape pen, one puff will do and don’t pull too hard! Wait a few minutes to see how you feel, then wait for a few more. If you’re sitting, walk around and see how you feel. Repeat if needed, considering your symptoms and how you are feeling.

Know your body.
With any remedy, plant-based or not, be aware that the desired results are not instant. It takes time for the body to absorb and process medicine, the effect could be immediate, or it might take days and several doses. The body’s endocannabinoid system is where cannabis finds receptors that help improve specific conditions and balances the body. The endocannabinoid system is located throughout the body and regulates many vital organs and some areas like the neurological centers are susceptible to cannabis and react more quickly.

Keep experimenting.
Remember the cold pills we talked about at the start and how the same thing doesn’t work for everyone? Finding the dose, delivery system and strain of cannabis that works for you takes research. You’ll want to talk with other patients/consumers and possibly with a cannabis physician, nurse or educator.

CBD and THC are partners.
There’s a lot of talk about CBD (cannabidiol) and there are many CBD products with barely detectable amounts of THC, the plant works best on illnesses or issues where there are complimentary balances of both chemicals. It doesn’t take a lot of THC to be effective, but some will act with the CBD to bring better results. Keep in mind, too, the more you ingest small amounts of THC, the more your body and mind will become accustomed to it and the heady feeling of being high will become less noticeable.

A Michigan Medical Marijuana card

How to Secure Your Michigan Medical Marijuana Card

So you have a health condition that’s bothering you and you’ve read about medical marijuana as a solution. It seems like something you want to try, but getting started isn’t obvious. With 11 new conditions in Michigan that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card, there’s no better time to give it a try.

If you want a Michigan Medical Marijuana card, here are eight things you need to do or keep in mind.

  1.     Review the list of conditions. You’ll need a diagnosis that meets the criteria that Michigan has approved. While some are very specific, pain is more general and it’s the most common ailment on the application form according to the State of Michigan.allowable conditions in Michigan for a medical marijuana card
  2.     Download and print the paperwork from LARA, the state licensing board.
  3.     Make an appointment with your physician. One of two things will happen next. You’ll go to your doctor and s/he will sign the paperwork and you’ll write the check for the filing fee ($60) and you’ll wait about three weeks and your card will come in the mail if you’re approved. A more common scenario is you’re reluctant to tell your physician you want to try medical marijuana or if you do ask, s/he refuses to sign the paperwork. There are other options, including physicians that are cannabis advocates who work in clinics that do this work for the good of the cannabis community. You’ll meet with her/him for a short examination and they’ll confirm your diagnosis and sign the paperwork for you. If you have access to any extras—xray results, physician notes, physical therapy notes bring those along. You need to show that you have the condition you claim to have. Some clinics will send it in for you, too, but we recommend you do this yourself so you know when it was mailed. Finding a clinic is as easy as web searching for Michigan Medical Marijuana card +your location.
  4.     You’ll be asked on the form about a caregiver. This is an individual who grows cannabis for patients. If you don’t have one, don’t check the box. Check the box that says I will possess the plants. That doesn’t mean you have to start growing, but you could if you wanted to. With your card that says NO CAREGIVER on the back, you’ll need A Michigan Medical Marijuana cardto visit a provisioning center for your meds. You can find one close to you on Leafly or Weedmaps. We have a blog post about how to visit a provisioning center.
  5.     Your card is good mostly in Michigan. There are a few states that allow reciprocity, but not many. The recreational states are, of course, open to anyone. But if you’re in Florida, you can’t use your Michigan card there. In Michigan though, medical cards from other states are allowed in some, but not all provisioning centers. Call ahead to make sure.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as a holder of a new medical marijuana card.

 

  1.     If you’re traveling, keep in mind it’s a felony to bring cannabis across state lines. So, you have to leave your medication behind. The safest solution is to enjoy some of America’s recreational legal states map of colorado where they have both recreational and medical marijuana(Colorado, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia) until the whole country ends prohibition You can also head to Canada for a nice vacation, the whole country will be recreational legal starting on October 17, 2018. This also applies to people flying. While the TSA isn’t looking for cannabis, it is still illegal to bring it across state lines.
  2.     If you’re traveling around Michigan, keep your cannabis is the trunk of your car. Better yet, put it in a locked box in your trunk. Never leave it out in plain sight on the seat next to you. 
  3.     You can’t consume (smoke) your medication in a public place, in your car or in a hotel/motel. That’s limiting for sure. Edibles are super handy for travel or find friends who don’t mind if you consume.
marijuana as medicine on s scale at a provisioning center

Look Like a Pro at the Marijuana Provisioning Center

You did it! You took the bold step and got your Michigan Medical Marijuana card. Congratulations. Now, what do you do? Most physicians don’t talk about that; some places will guide you, but for the most part, you are on your own to figure it out. We’re here to help.

Here are some tips to help build your confidence at the medical marijuana provisioning center.

  1. First off, you don’t have to go to a provisioning center, you can choose to work with an individual caregiver. Finding a photograph of marijuana flowers grown by a caregiver in Michigancaregiver isn’t as easy as walking into a provisioning center though. In all likelihood, you’ll need to know someone who grows cannabis and is accepting patients. If you don’t know someone, you’ll need to ask around. In Michigan, caregivers are limited to 5 patients so it can be challenging to find someone who is accepting patients. You’ll want to see their plants, as about their growing processes and talk with them about the strains you can buy from them. You’ll want a caregiver who grows and processes what you need. If you go the provisioning center route, below are some tips so you can look like you’ve been doing it for years.
  2. Be prepared. You’ll need your card, photo ID and cash. Expect security at the door of most places, sometimes it’s a camera system, others have a guard and others have a thick plexiglass window like the cable TV office. It can be intimidating, but your security is as important as the product they’re protecting. In most cases, you’ll be buzzed in and at that point, you get your ID and card back. The waiting areas range from comfy-cozy to spartan. Most have a TV and a few magazines, at the least. Many marijuana provisioning centers have ATMs, too.
  3. Do your research before you go. Both Leafly or WeedMaps are great resources for researching strains and getting information. Ask your friends about strains and products that they love. It’s good to have an idea of what you want, or think you want when you go into a provisioning center. You don’t want to be sold something that doesn’t help your condition. Read a few of the reviews and see if anything people are saying resonates with you.
  4. Not all stores are alike and you need to find a place you’re comfortable. Some carry a wide variety of products, others are very industrial, some just carry flower (the term for dried marijuana) offer chalkboard in a marijuana provisioning centerfew choices in edibles or tinctures or CBD products. You need to find a place that fits your needs, personality and buying style. Most marijuana provisioning centers post menus on Leafly or Weedmaps and from that, you can determine what you want to try. 
  5. Talk with the budtender at your counter. They should be able to talk with you about the health condition you are treating, the strains they have available and your preference for consumption. Feel free to ask questions and if they don’t know, ask if someone else knows. If they seem uneducated or a bad fit for you, feel free to leave. You aren’t obliged to buy anything.
  6. Expect your purchasing experience to be semi-private. After you clear security or the check-in area, you SHOULD be at a one on one space with your budtender, it’s likely there will be two or three counters in one open room and you should have one counter and one budtender to yourself. The counters all have the same products, so don’t be worried that you’re not getting something that someone else is. If you see something behind the counter that catches your eye, ask to see it. All of the products are going to be out of reach.
  7. You can ask to smell the cannabis flower which is usually in sealed glass containers. Ask the budtender if it’s ok, they’ll open the jar and let you smell it. Just don’t touch, it’s medicine and shouldn’t be contaminated with hand germs!three jars full of cannabis flower at a marijuana provisioning center
  8. You can buy just a tiny bit of flower if you want to try it out. Ask for a gram, that’s enough for a few joints (depending on how you roll) and it will give you an idea of what you’re getting and the effect. Cannabis is priced starting in grams and up to an ounce and the Budtender can tell you the prices, or it’ll be posted. Look for and ask about specials and other items that are available.
  9. Put your purchases in the trunk of your car after you leave the provisioning center. If you have a small lockbox, bring it for transporting. It’s a good practice.
  10. When you’re done, review your experience and tell others how it worked for you. It’s one way to give back to the cannabis community and to help the marijuana provisioning center improve their customer service and educate others.
marijuana plants are part of any new marijuana business

Fire Up! PR Musts Your New Marijuana Business Needs

If you are the owner of a new marijuana business, you’re probably thinking about a lot of things: compliance, human resources, inventory, customer service, security and how to handle all those twenty dollar bills! We hope you’ve given some thought to your marketing communication plan, too.  Like most pursuits, taking the first step is the hardest part. To make that first step a bit easier, we suggest getting things underway with these six simple-ish things.

Develop Your Story.

People want to know how and WHY you got into the cannabis business, they want to hear about your vision and values around your business, too. These are vital parts of your company story. You’re in the medical marijuana business and it’s important, outside of making money, to tell people why you’re doing what you’re doing. Some of it’s personal, like fighting cancer or helping a family with an epileptic child; some of it might be business-related, as in you want to create jobs and contribute to the economy. Whatever your reason for being in the cannabis business, start forming a relatable story. Every successful company has a story.

Be an Expert About Cannabis.

marijuana plants are part of any new marijuana businessTake time every day to read/watch/listen to cannabis news, especially regarding Michigan and cannabis as medicine. You expect expertise from businesses you patronize and your customers expect the same from you. You need to be able to help people understand the business of cannabis, too. Be accurate with your information and data, you don’t want to be the source of bad information. This acquired expertise will also help you as you connect with the media where your business is located.

Reach Out to The Media.

Media relations begins with getting to know the media. The newspaper reporters, radio personalities and TV journalists in your own community need to know who you are and what you’re doing in the medical marijuana industry. Reach out to them and make sure they know you are available as a resource for future cannabis stories. When you are awarded your license and start to establish your business make sure the media is the first to know.

Create Content and Be Social.

You’ve probably heard a lot about content lately. New and fresh content drives traffic to your website, and makes people come back for more, it’s the gasoline of SEO or search engine optimization. Content is the words, videos reading glasses and some content for a new marijuana businessand images that you put on your website and on your social media pages. It needs refreshing regularly. High-quality content is an integral part of communication and marketing and while you’re selling something, you’re also helping people understand the why of what you’re doing. If you don’t have social media pages for your company, yet, get them established. You can do this long before your new marijuana business is open. It’s good to get your name out there, connect with people and practice your content posting habits.

Discover Your Niche.

While you want to work with everyone and provide medical marijuana to anyone with a card, there’s good reason to have some of your business be a bit specialized. Having a niche makes you different and will help you stand out from your competitors. To discover your niche, you need a passion about something you can address, you need to deeply know the audience you want to reach, you’ll need to research them and their interests, buying habits and behaviors and craft messages to them. Your niche interest needs to be authentic.

Define Your Brand.

A brand is the outfacing image of your business and its inner personality. It starts with your logo and is part of everything about your company including customer interactions. A brand is the personality of your company, not only who you say you are, but more importantly, what others say about you, too. Your brand is the culmination of YOUR work AND customer relationships. It is formed by the content you create, the story you tell, what you share on social sites and how you respond to a crisis. People outside your company will also determine your brand by their opinions, ideas and reviews, but it’s mostly formed by your content, interactions, voice and how your company behaves in the community.

Interested in learning more? Need help getting started?

We’d love to help you move your new marijuana business forward. Drop us a note and we’ll be in touch.

photo of tiny gummies made micodosing which can be used for sleep

Microdosing Marijuana Medicine for Better Results

Like any medication, marijuana is a personal thing and how much you need and use is a choice, but getting to that place might take a less is more approach. Some people feel the effect of a very small amount quickly and powerfully, while others need to imbibe greater amounts for longer periods of time for the desired effect. Some people like the feeling of being high and locked to the couch, while others prefer to keep it light and remain in total control of their senses. For those who like control and stability, microdosing marijuana medicine is an effective way to relieve pain, anxiety or other symptoms without feeling too high.

Here’s the thing with cannabis and its many strains—what is effective for one person, isn’t necessarily what works for another and a little can go a long way.

Microdosing is a fairly new trend in cannabis consumption and it’s a solid method for determining what works for you and how cannabis makes you feel. It’s a little like learning your tolerance for other substances or a medicine. You might already know how a single glass of wine, a craft beer or a whiskey drink makes you feel and you also probably know that tipping point when you’ve had too much. Cannabis is similar, in that different strains with unique potencies affect people in different ways. This tipping point is called a biphasic effect, biphasic just means having two phases. In the case of cannabis or alcohol— the phases are just enough and too much.

The biphasic effects of marijuana are similar to alcohol and just as impactful. Low doses of THC can make you feel happy and relaxed, but too much can impais your thinking and produces intense anxiety, paranoia or induces a full-blown panic attack.

Learning what your tolerance is the first step for microdosing marijuana. It takes some experimentation—which can be fun—if you think small first.

photo of tiny gummies made for microdosing marijuana
The tiny gummies (shown here with regular gummies) contain a low dose of THC. They are perfect for microdosing.

Start with a super low dose, 5 mg of THC or even lower if you are able to find a product of that potency. Edibles are one way to experiment because they can be cut up into right-size pieces, but keep in mind it’s about an hour before they take effect and the stated potencies can be inaccurate, especially if you are cutting something down to size from a larger item. If you have access to a well-stocked dispensary, low-dose cannabis can be found in tinctures, elixirs and sublingual sprays. If you smoke or vape, start with one hit and wait 10 minutes before you take another, so you can judge the effect. It could be one is enough, and you might have never stopped at one before! With microdosing marijuana you want to ingest just enough so that you feel like you’re on the verge of getting high—and aren’t quite there yet. You’ll be getting the benefits of the THC and CBD properties of cannabis—but you won’t be stoned.

a chew with 25 mg of THC would need to be divided into 1/8s for microdosing marijuana
This one inch chew contains 25 mg of THC, to microdose you’d need to cut it into 8 pieces.

Once you discover that sweet spot, you’ll want to determine how long the dose lasts and when to have a bit more to keep the symptoms away. By tracking a few things, you’ll be on your way to feeling better and maybe using less cannabis.

It’s important, also, to not drink alcohol when you’re experimenting with microdosing. You should carefully control your environment, so you can fully judge what works for you. It’s important to remember to ingest edibles on a full stomach, too.

Many people, those with chronic pain and inflammation, insomnia, mood regulation and nausea might find benefit from microdosing marijuana throughout the day. With the perfect dose of the right product, it can help improve how you move, how you feel and even how you work.

marijuana stereotype, a person with a bong and a lot of flower

This will not stand. This marijuana stereotyping will not stand, man.

It’s hard to understand a stereotype until you see yourself as one. And for people in the cannabis business, we’ve got plenty of memorable stereotypes.

It begins with the 1936 film Reefer Madness where cannabis users were criminals and driven to sex and suicide by the plant. The marijuana stereotypes were dark and meant to frighten people. From all observations, the film financed by a church group was successful in continuing those stereotypes.reefer madness poster perpetuates marijuana stereotypes

The stereotypes of young people and black people as rabid cannabis users were perpetuated in the 1960s and 1970s and took a serious turn with President Richard Nixon who determined that anti-war protesters and blacks were working against his Vietnam War effort and marijuana was fueling the fire.

Recently, John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s domestic policy chief, said this: “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”  

This is how a stereotype becomes a profile. And we know the dangers of profiling.

Cheech and Chong’s 1978 movie, Up in Smoke is a classic stoner film that launched a series of pot-smoking comedies. It’s interesting though, that Reefer Madness was an anti-cannabis film and Up in Smoke portrayed marijuana as funny and harmless, yet both are enduring cultural entities that created and still perpetuate people’s views of the people who use cannabis.

marijuana user stereotype: the dudeOther films, including our inspiration for this blog title The Big Lebowski, Pineapple Express, anything with Harold and Kumar (and the list goes on) have helped further the stoner stereotype. You know, well, like, um The Dude, man.  People who use marijuana are lazy, forgetful, distracted, chill, unproductive and, almost always funny. Women often play secondary roles in cannabis films, usually as hot girlfriends of stoner dudes. Considering that 57 percent of women favor marijuana legalization and women comprise 36 percent of the leaders in cannabis, there seems to be some serious underrepresentation going on.

Late in 2017, the Netflix series, Disjointed was released. It’s a comedy about a female cannabis activist lawyer turned grower/medical dispensary owner. Her employees often partake on the job and they take their fashion cues from the 1960s and 70s. Right in the middle of medical and adult-use legalization in America, when cannabis is starting to gain some respect, we were faced with tired marijuana stereotypes. If you were to believe Disjointed, you’d think that medical marijuana dispensaries operate loose and fast with the law when it comes to checking IDs and smoking on site. People who work in medical cannabis are professionals and this scenario is far from the truth.

While Reefer Madness worked to make people fearful, Disjointed furthers the stereotypes of cannabis users and businesses in a way that doesn’t help our industry.

Here’s why marijuana stereotyping bothers us.

Cannabis is a serious business. It’s projected growth is expected to hit $21 billion by 2021. It is one of the most highly regulated industries in the US, even more so than pharmaceuticals and alcohol. People who want to operate cannabis businesses are subject to steep capitalization requirements, extensive police background checks and personal financial reviews.

We understand that Up in Smoke and Disjointed are fictional pieces. Humor and comedy are a great way to make people comfortable with something unfamiliar, but at this point in time, it doesn’t engender confidence in patients, those people who need cannabis for medicinal purposes. People with epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, those needing to alleviate the effects of chemotherapy or to lessen the trauma of PTSD count on marijuana medicine. The persona of red-eyed, slow-talking, smiling stoners growing or selling your meds needs to go!

A new picture of cannabis users and business owners is evolving and while we love The Dude, he’s a charming relic of our past.

the dude, a stereotype of a marijuana user

thankful graphic because we are thankful for cannabis legalization in Michigan

This Thanksgiving: Ten Things to be Thankful For if You’re Into Cannabis

 

Happy Thanksgiving week, friends! As you think about all the things in your life that you’re thankful for, here are ten cannabis-related nuggets to add to your list.

  1.     If you live in Michigan, join us in giving thanks that the MI Legalize petition drive was successful. It will still be a few months, maybe more, to see if Michigan’s adult-use marijuana legalization measure makes it to the ballot in 2018. When polled at the beginning of 2017, a majority of Michigan voters were in favor of ending prohibition.
  2.     More broadly across the country, in 2016 the Gallup polling organization, which has been asking Americans about marijuana legalization since 1969, reported its highest favorability number ever—60 percent of Americans are interested in seeing marijuana legalized. It compares these views to same-sex marriage before legalization.
  3.     Citizens of California and Nevada approved recreational adult-use marijuana legalization during the 2017 election.  If the saying is true, “as California goes, so goes the nation” then the rest of the U.S. isn’t far behind.  At present 29 states and Washington DC have marijuana-use laws on the books and more are following the lead of the Golden State.
  4.     Justin Trudeau made recreational adult-use marijuana legal in Canada. About a year and a half after he took office, the Canadian a plate of poutinePrime Minister made good on a campaign promise to legalize cannabis. The law takes effect in July 2018. We expect to see poutine sales to soar, too!
  5. It’s hard to believe that Colorado has had adult-use legalization for five years now, and it seems like everything is pretty much ok. Use of marijuana by young people didn’t increase, arrests are down (unless you are a person of color), traffic fatalities didn’t increase nor did violent crime, opioid use declined, and communities used marijuana tax revenue to improve schools and build healthier communities.
  6.     The American Legion is pushing the federal government to remove marijuana from a Schedule I drug. They’re seeing great progress in helping veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries with medical cannabis. They’re advocating for more research and allowing VA physicians to discuss the plant with their patients.
  7.     Keeping close attention to public opinion in the state and nationally, five Michigan gubernatorial candidates are pro-cannabis.  At a recent candidate forum, four Democrats and one Republican voiced support for legalization. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed said, “This has become a civil rights issue,” referring to statistics showing criminal enforcement has had a greater negative impact on low-income people and communities of color. “We have an opportunity here in Michigan to rethink marijuana,” he added.
  8.     Michigan medical marijuana patients were threatened and then protected from dispensary closures. In a crazy move, two members of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Board suggested the closure of all operating dispensaries in September. The dispensaries were operating in Michigan’s gray area of the law until new licenses could be handed out in December. This move would have left thousands of patients without medicine. Thanks to a bi-partisan group of state legislators and public pressure the board members backed off and dispensaries have (mostly) remained open.
  9.     Orrin Hatch, an 83-year old Mormon Republican Senator came out for medical marijuana with a dozen or so puns. All joking aside, he introduced a bill that would remove restrictions on marijuana research. He was moved to do so because of a friend who suffers from severe seizures.
  10. Forward-looking women are taking significant leadership roles in cannabis. Women make up roughly 36 percent of the leaders in the cannabis industry, including 63 percent of top management positions, according to Marijuana Business Daily. When compared to the rest of American businesses, this is significant.  Women hold just 5 percent of the CEO positions and 25 percent of the leadership roles. Because the industry is so young, traditional barriers to entry don’t exist.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and don’t forget all the great cannabis-infused recipes available! Here’s a few from our friends at Leafly.

 

Michigan Medical Marijuana: What Happens if You Don’t Ask.

We recently did some work for a client who wanted to know which municipalities around the Muskegon area were adopting pro-medical marijuana ordinances. As Michigan moves toward licensing cannabis businesses at the end of 2017, the process for those who want to grow, transport, process, test or operate a dispensary, marijuana licensing begins with the approval of local cities, villages or townships.

To say the least, there are many municipalities in Michigan. Muskegon County alone has 27. We also included in our research, nearby counties—cherry-picking the larger cities and villages. In all, we contacted about 35 mayors, managers, supervisors and planning leaders.

yes, no, maybe

Some of our responses were pointed: “No.” You can tell from that sort of response that digging deeper is a lost cause. Asking the commission/council if they are interested in learning more about medical marijuana is going to elicit the same response.

This example was an interesting take on how it was handled: “[name redacted] Township is not considering opting into a medical marijuana ordinance. This question was posed, along with others, in a recent survey the township included with summer tax bills. Sixty-six percent of respondents were not in favor of such an ordinance in Township.” I give them credit for having a discussion and a proxy vote.

In our research, we found at least four communities that were taking a wait and see approach. They’re giving it a year or so to see how things work out around the state. We discovered three municipalities that were actively in the processes of moving ordinances forward. One we knew about, the other two were surprises—and right between the two surprise locations was another municipality that sent me its ordinance banning everything but using medical marijuana in your own home!

help from our friends

Intel from another municipality in Newaygo County came from an Iraq war veteran. He told me of his struggle to convince his fellow commissioners to accept medical marijuana businesses in their community. After an hour and a half discussion, he was voted down. His was only yes vote. He directed me to two other locations where the sentiments were more cannabis-friendly in that county. He was spot on.

My point here is—if you don’t ask you’ll never know the reality of a situation and asking can make a difference. Three separate municipalities gave me strong “maybe” responses. They told me they were looking into it, and talking with their local health departments, police chiefs and would like more information. Where are the marijuana advocates in those places?

To those who want to have medical marijuana in their communities—now is the time to act. This issue isn’t dead and isn’t impossible, but you have to show up and speak out.  If you are a patient, the time to call or email your commission/council is now.

If you want to create a medical marijuana business where you live or nearby—timing is everything and time itself is running out.

image of marijuana which is part of any new marijuana business

Legalization 101: Marijuana is Medicine

Across the state of Michigan, petitions are circulating for adult-use marijuana and we know that having a persuasive argument and accurate information about the plant are critical to success. Presenting facts, data and stories are necessary for moving people from “on the fence” to signing–and voting yes–for ending prohibition.

This is the first in a series of posts to help you talk the talk about cannabis.

First and foremost, marijuana is a medicinal plant

Throughout history, cannabis has been used in world cultures as medicine. It is difficult to find extensive modern American research about the efficacy of the plant because of its Schedule 1 status. Even for medical research, it is federally illegal to possess the plant.

But, there has been some recent research work in marijuana-legal states that will help with building the depth of clinical trials. Recently, the American Legion wrote to the President asking him to de-schedule cannabis so it can be further tested for use by veterans.

Different States Endorse different uses

Even popular health sites like WebMD acknowledge that cannabis shows promise for a variety of health ailments. These include slowing the growth of some cancers, relaxing the muscles of Parkinson’s Disease patients, helping people with digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease and managing chronic pain.

Each of the 29 states that allow medical marijuana have different guidelines for what kinds of conditions the medicine can be prescribed to help. We’ve heard positive anecdotal stories about cannabis and difficult health situations like self-harming autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Multiple Sclerosis. For many cancer patients, the only medicine that gets them through chemotherapy is cannabis.

we support your right to choose

While cannabis is available to citizens in Michigan with a doctor’s recommendation, we think that adults, regardless of reason and without the intervention of a physician, should be able to access marijuana, as they might any over-the-counter medicine or health supplement.