A proposal floated by a Senate Republican would allow owners of private property to ban medical marijuana possession or use on their property — including apartment complexes and in condominium units.
Senate Bill (SB) 974, introduced by state Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), who chairs the state Senate Judiciary Committee to which the bill has been referred, would amend Initiated Law 1 of 2008, more commonly known as the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), to prevent medical marijuana possession or use on private property if the property owner established a prohibition of either of those activities on that property.
The bill would also integrate language into the MMMA that would prohibit smoking medical marijuana on any private property that is open to the public.
Jones said he was contacted by multiple apartment owners who “had problems with people growing the product without permission.”
“Damage was caused,” he said. “Moisture gets into the buildings from the production of the crop. There was one place that had a light tip over and a fire occurred.”
There’s some discrepancy about how many votes would be needed to enact Jones’ proposal.
Jones said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office has released a legal opinion stating that “you may not grow or smoke marijuana in a motel, hotel, apartment, or leased building unless you have permission of the property owner.” Because the bill would be codifying an existing attorney general’s opinion, a straight majority vote would be needed to enact it, Jones said.
But the bill may face a difficult road ahead. In order for the state Legislature to amend a voter-initiated law, a super-majority — 83 members of the state House and 29 members of the state Senate — of the Legislature must support the change, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Given the current political makeup of both chambers — which are controlled by Republicans, yet Democrats having enough votes to quash Jones’ proposal — there could be some choppy seas ahead for SB 974.
Without saying whether Jones’ bill would have his support and indicating he’s still “accumulating” information on the proposal, state Sen. Mike Kowall (R-Commerce, Highland, Milford, Walled Lake, Wixom, Wolverine Lake, White Lake, Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield) said “portions of (the bill) are probably needed.”
“There’s still those federal guidelines (banning marijuana) and the (U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency) can come in and take property if they deem that it’s a chronic problem,” Kowall said. “That’s what prompted it.”
Jones added that he’s working on a measure that would, based on reports from doctors of opthamology and a variety of other medical associations ruling that medical marijuana does little if anything to treat glaucoma, prohibit people from seeking marijuana under the MMMA for treating that disease.
The MMMA — which permits physician-approved use of marijuana by patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions as approved by the state Department of Community Health — was spearheaded by voters in 2008 and approved in the general election that year. Lawmakers eventually enacted Initiated Law 1 of 2008 in response to the will of the people.
According to state law, each certified medical marijuana caregiver is allowed raise 12 plants per certified patient and service up to five patients at a time in an enclosed and secure facility.
Each caregiver can carry 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana on them per patient and still comply with state law. That means a caregiver can potentially carry 12.5 ounces of marijuana at any given time.