Medical Marijuana Clinic Will Trade Pot for Vote
Medical marijuana clinic has been legal in Michigan since 2008, but some communities have restricted local pot facilities. Your Healthy Choice Clinic of Lansing, Mich., is offering free pot to patients to in exchange for voter registration. In December, the Lansing City Council voted to suspend medical marijuana trial suit lawyers for six months until it could hammer out some parameters for pot production and dispensation. Several other Michigan communities, including Wyoming, Livonia, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham voted to ban or severely restrict medical marijuana.
Michigan’s Legislature is looking to revamp medical marijuana offense lawyers and usage statewide. Senate Bill 0504 seeks to prevent medical marijuana facilities from operating near schools. Senate Bill 0377 would make it mandatory for pot users, growers and facilities to be listed on a database. The database, similar to the Sudafed buyer database would help law enforcement track users and producers and prevent illegal distribution.
In response to these bills and municipality crackdowns, Your Healthy Choice Clinic is doling out free pot. It’s been delicately suggested that free pot constitutes an effort to buy votes. Owner Shekina Pena protests these insinuations, saying the goal is simply to educate patients about marijuana issues in upcoming elections. Those who register to vote can choose a half-gram of smokable or edible marijuana, as per an ad on the clinic website.
Healthy Choice Clinic’s offer prompts concerns on many levels. True, we voted in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. I voted in favor of the bill because I didn’t believe sufferers should be prevented from accessing pain relief. There are much more dangerous pain treatments that are legal. However, as with any other controlled substance, parameters are needed to keep people safe.
I take Sudafed occasionally. I don’t like the idea of my information being stored on a database in order to access relief. However because some people use pseudoephedrine illegally to make crystal methamphetamine, I have to. Often we have to enact laws that punish the many to prevent the actions of the few. These laws also protect the many from the few.
The biggest issue with the free pot for votes isn’t just that patients might get free pot. If they are patients, presumably they need the medical marijuana. They have to present verification to get the drug. The biggest issue is that voters should not be given gifts for votes; that smacks of monetary extortion. Even if patients are just being rewarded for registering to vote, it’s shady.
I have made “get out to vote” reminder calls as an educator when adult education was seeking millage increases. I have driven handicapped and elderly voters to the polls when they needed transportation. These are not gifts; they facilitate the process. It could be argued that boosting voter registration should be done by whatever means necessary, even by giving rewards. Rewards for doing one’s civic duty is unethical. The right to vote is reward enough.
A life-long resident of “Pure Michigan,” Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about people, places, events and issues in the Great Lakes State.