Former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox agrees with his successor: The state’s medical marijuana law needs clarification.
But unlike current Attorney General Bill Schuette, Cox believes the law should be clarified to legally allow for medical marijuana dispensaries.
“Instead of browbeating and trying to make ordinary citizens into criminals, we should allow ways for ordinary citizens to avoid being criminals,” Cox said Friday at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he served as the keynote speaker at a symposium on marijuana reform.
Cox, who was in office when voters approved the 2008 Medical Marihuana Act but now is practicing law at a private firm, made it a point to avoid direct critique of Schuette, who has promoted a statewide crackdown on so-called “pot shops” in the wake of an appeals court ruling deeming them illegal.
“The people said that ‘if I’m eligible for medical marijuana, I should have access to it.’ I would like to see the legislature pass a law that makes way for dispensaries so we don’t have these fights.”
While Cox questioned the current statewide campaign to legalize marijuana outright, his position on dispensaries found favor with many pro-medical marijuana advocates at the symposium.
“I wish our current administration would have that mentality,” said Debra Amsdill, owner of three Blue Water Compassion Center locations that were raided last month. “I think there’s a whole lot of other things and issues in Michigan to be worried about besides throwing patients to the ground who have gone through the hoops to get their state issued cards.”
Later during the symposium, panelists are expected to explore the discord between state and federal policies and the implications of full decriminalization.
Tim Beck, who led the initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Michigan, said he does not see outright legalization in the state’s future.
“The problem is the level of support in the polls is not there,” he said. “It’s only about fifty percent in the polls, and once the attack ads start, the numbers won’t go up. They’ll go down.”