WLNS News Turns to Matt Newburg to Discuss Medical Marijuana

by: Matt Newburg

03/04/2015 12:00 PM EST
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  marijuana  
  mma  
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Matt Newburg on WLNS

(WLNS) – Lawmakers are still considering measures to define the future of medical marijuana in Michigan.

Legislation discussed in the senate Wednesday aims to eliminate some of the legal gray areas, but critics say lawmakers are focusing on the wrong issues.

Medical marijuana in the state of Michigan has a complicated track record. It was approved for medical use by voters in 2008, but dispensaries became illegal under a 2013 Supreme Court case.

Yet we still see them in Michigan cities.

“How the process works is law enforcement will take a report, they provide that report to the prosecutor’s office, and the prosecutor’s going to decide whether they’ll authorize charges,” said Matt Newburg, criminal defense attorney.

Matt Newburg is a criminal defense attorney who specializes in medical marijuana cases.

He says local prosecutors often deny charges because the culture around marijuana has changed.

Senator Rick Jones thinks more regulation is needed now.

“If it’s gonna be medicine, let’s treat it as medicine.”

Senator Jones is among those proposing legislation that would make it illegal for renters to smoke or grow marijuana if the owner of the property prohibits it.

He says marijuana can only exist with more restriction.

“I don’t want to see Lansing return to the 49 dispensaries where we had dispensaries right next to schools, where we had dispensaries right next to churches that are actually running programs to get people off of drugs and off of alcohol,” said Senator Rick Jones (r), Grand Ledge.

However, Newburg is afraid of more regulation.

“I don’t think over legislating the marijuana statute is the answer. And frankly I don’t know what the answer is. Right now what I do know is it’s not, it’s not working,” said Newburg, criminal defense attorney.

Both Newburg and Senator Jones say lawmakers, police and patients need to sit down to discuss the future of medical marijuana in Michigan.

A vote on the bill is expected next week.

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