State Roundup

Battle Creek
Medical marijuana group to try new business model

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A group involved in supplying medical marijuana in Battle Creek is among those using a new business model designed with aims of operating legally in Michigan after the state’s highest court outlawed marijuana shops.
Brock Korreck, owner of the Higher Expectations Medical Partnership Compassion Club, told the Battle Creek Enquirer that his collective now charges caregivers a one-time $100 fee for any new patient they are connected with through the collective and a $100 monthly fee to use the facility as a place of transfer.
Patients don’t pay fees under the collective’s new business model, and marijuana is no longer stored on site. It also connects patients with caregivers if they are in need of one, Korreck said, but doesn’t encourage members to become caregivers themselves.
“Nobody wants to meet in parking lots,” Korreck said. “Nobody wants people at their houses. Nobody wants to go to anybody’s house. This is a safe access point.”
Michigan voters in 2008 approved marijuana for some chronic medical conditions, but the Michigan Supreme Court in February slammed the door on marijuana shops. The court said owners of so-called dispensaries aren’t entitled to operate a business that facilitates patient-to-patient sales.
As medical marijuana dispensaries have shut down, some collectives have tried new business models in hopes of keeping their doors open. Some other facilities in the state require cardholders to register for a private membership, but the model hasn’t been approved in Calhoun County.
The county’s Prosecutor David Gilbert hasn’t said whether the Battle Creek collective’s new model is legal because he didn’t have the chance yet to see its operations firsthand. But he criticized new models’ charging of fees, saying it goes against the idea behind the law.
“They haven’t legalized marijuana,” said Gilbert. “They’ve legalized people that are really sick getting it.”
The state’s marijuana law makes no mention of pot shops. It says people can possess up to 2.5 ounces of “usable” marijuana and keep up to 12 plants in a locked place. Under the law, a caregiver also can provide marijuana to as many as five people.

Richland
Drunken driving enforcement can vary across state

RICHLAND, Mich. (AP) — An analysis of law enforcement records found that drunken driving enforcement varies across Michigan.
The MLive.com report published Monday as part of a multi-day series says the small Kalamazoo County community of Richland has more drunken driving arrests per officer than anywhere else in the state.
Last year, the two-officer department arrested nearly 60 drunken drivers. Police Chief Jeff Mattioli says the area is home to Gull Lake, which is known for partying and boating, and there are area two state highways. Mattioli says those likely are factors.
The analysis used staffing data for more than 500 police agencies since 2003. It also used information on nearly 126,000 arrests from 2006 through last year.
It found smaller departments tended to rank higher in arrests per officer, but not always.

Lansing
Plan would change rules about dogs at restaurants

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — State law banning most animals from restaurants could change under legislation in the state House.
The Detroit News reported Monday that under legislation proposed earlier this year municipalities would have the option to create an ordinance allowing dogs in outdoor seating areas. Currently, service animals typically are allowed.
Republican state Rep. Margaret O’Brien of Portage is one of the sponsors and says the change is a way to buoy the economy. She says some other states allow people to take dogs on outdoor patios.
Lawmakers are working with the state Department of Agriculture & Rural Development on rules that restaurants would have to follow. Those rules could include signs to inform the public that dogs are allowed and cleanliness standards to protect customers.

East Lansing
Ex-tire dump site transformed into farmers market

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A site once used as a tire dump in mid-Michigan now is a farmers market following years of work by a community, the state and federal officials.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development arm says a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week for the Barryton Farmers Market in Mecosta County.
In 2009, USDA Rural Development provided a $15,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to study the feasibility of removing the dump and creating an outdoor recreation area on the site. The agency provided a $40,000 grant and a $60,000 loan to help finance the project.
The state of Michigan helped cover the cost of tire disposal as well as a trail, fishing pier and other recreational improvements.

Escanaba
Upper Peninsula drug fighters say their hands full

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) — Illegal use of prescription drugs is a problem in parts of the Upper Peninsula.
The analysis comes from Ron Koski, a leader of the U.P. Substance Enforcement Team, also known as UPSET. The Daily Press says he spoke to community leaders last week in Escanaba.
Koski says drug abusers are buying prescriptions on the street, breaking into homes and “doctor shopping” for multiple prescriptions. He says methamphetamine also has been a challenge for police, especially in Delta, Marquette, Baraga and Gogebic counties.
Koski says 21 meth labs have been discovered this year in a 12-county area covered by the drug enforcement team. He says marijuana is an issue, too, because police don’t know if someone is approved to grow it for medical purposes until they get a search warrant.?

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