SHARE

It’s going to be a lot harder to get ahold of medical marijuana in Michigan soon.

According to multiple reports, the state of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is giving medical marijuana dispensaries and other businesses until December 15 to shut down.

If they don’t, they risk not being able to get a license under a new regulatory system they’re rolling out or be forcibly shut down by law enforcement. Some areas, like Oakland County, are already doing shutdowns.

New applications will not be accepted until December 15, so the practical result is that there will be a period where medical marijuana will be basically unavailable in the state.

Probable outcome: There most likely will be a lot fewer dispensaries in the state after a re-licensure process that has strong political overtones.

But… Didn’t we pass a ballot initiative, overwhelmingly?: Yeah, and elected officials don’t even have to act like they care.

If you look at polls and by the margin the 2008 ballot proposal passed (63%-37%), Michiganders wanted medical marijuana access. Recreational legalization is now favored by 57% of Michiganders in the last public poll from this year we found.

Let’s zoom out beyond the marijuana issue to explain (and, admittedly, go down a rathole).

Members of this board are selected, in part, by the Speaker of the State House and the Senate Majority Leader (also, the governor).

Through gerrymandering, in the legislature, local election outcomes are assured after the primary. Gerrymandering is a process that happens every 10 years where legislative districts are redrawn by the party in power.

Technology and politics have merged in various ways, and this is just one. Political leaders have carved out individual blocks and stack the deck so hard that the state House or Senate district is almost unflippable. On a state level Michigan voters have been stealthily silenced.

The lines of districts have been drawn to be ever in the controlling party’s favor (Republicans).

The officials on these boards are selected by elected officials, and since the current controlling party in the legislature has zero fear of being voted out of office, no matter how unpopular the program is, they’re going to do what they want.

It begs the question — and this is regardless of the party in power — if an elected leader has no real fear of being removed except by his own party, is it still a democracy?

In Michigan state politics, that’s a real question.