Say what?! Conservative Republican champions legalization of medical pot dispensaries

Pot leafDemocrats were largely silent Friday when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal in the state.

Instead, the hero to emerge for pot shops was none other than Republican Rep. Mike Callton, a 54-year-old chiropractor who infamously suggested last year that his colleague’s use of the word “vagina” was “so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women.”

Callton is scrambling to introduce legislation that would legalize dispensaries because he said many of the state’s 125,000 medical marijuana users don’t have access to pot. Some of those patients, he noted, have cancer, Parkinson’s disease or AIDS and depend on marijuana for treatment.

Under the voter-approved law of 2008, registered users have two legal means of getting medicinal pot –grow it or find a registered caregiver to do it for you.

(On Thursday, the Supreme Court also ruled that registered caregivers can charge money for supplying pot to licensed marijuana users.)

When the law passed, dozens of dispensaries cropped up in metro Detroit. Many offered edible pot and numerous varieties of marijuana with a spectrum of health benefits – Granddaddy Purps, Dutch Dragon, Shark Shock, OG Kush and so on.

Trouble was, the legality of dispensaries was never spelled out in the law, like it was in states such as California, Arizona Colorado, and dispensaries were shut down.

Callton, who represents Barry County and most of Ionia County, said he fears sick people will resort to the unpredictable black market for their medicine.

It’s unclear whether Callton will have the support to approve the bill.

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Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist and former city hall reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption, civil liberties and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.