The state of Michigan recently released the official rules and regulations under which the marijuana industry will operate in the state following the adoption of a ballot measure to legalize and commercialize the drug in November. In response, Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and its affiliate Healthy and Productive Michigan which led the opposition to the referendum, released the following statement:
“This is a Pure Michigan Big Marijuana giveaway and minority communities will bear the brunt. During the leadup to the vote on this measure, the promoters of legalization spoke non-stop about how this was about social justice and promises of equity abounded. Interestingly, there is only one mention of social equity in all 64 pages of these so-called rules. What we will see as a result of these lax restrictions is an almost immediate proliferation of marijuana shops begin to take root in minority and low-income areas while rich, majority white investors will be laughing their way to the bank. To put it simply, the lip service these rules give to minority communities is social injustice.
“Furthermore, these rules set no limit on THC potency. This is letting Big Marijuana run far ahead of the science. Research is only beginning to catch up with the 99% THC products commonly produced and marketed in kid-friendly colors and flavors and the results are not pretty. The daily use of these products has been linked with a five-fold increase in instances of severe mental illness, such as psychosis. The allowance of so-called “consumption clubs,” also known as pot bars, is extremely concerning. Permitting public use of today’s super strength marijuana can only logically lead to further increases in drugged driving and exposure of the drug to minors.
“What is even more concerning is the fact that these rather lax regulations are only the starting point. As we have seen in states like Colorado, as the industry becomes more intrenched and accepted, they slowly begin making political contributions and lobbying to rollback regulations. Oregon even recently admitted that is has been completely unable to regulate its industry and cannot certify that its marijuana is even safe for human consumption. On top of this, foreign cartels and criminal gangs are immensely profiting off of legalization while promises of social justice routinely fail to materialize. Legalized states have proven time and time again that commercialization is a failed policy.
“Thankfully, a large number of Michigan communities have begun the process of banning Big Pot from setting up shop in their neighborhoods. More than 500 communities have already formally stated they will ban marijuana businesses in their towns, and more concerned Michiganders reach out to us every day. Though we were vastly outspent and defeated at the ballot box, we will never stop working to keep Michigan healthy and productive and we will never cease to expose the harms Big Marijuana brings upon the state.”