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CORPORATIZING CANNABIS PRODUCTION IN MICHIGAN

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    CORPORATIZING CANNABIS PRODUCTION IN MICHIGAN

    Here come the monster monopoly.
    Tweed is huge and poised to take over the world Cannabis market.
    By the way Tweed runs Prairie Plant Systems (PPS) and is the parent company for many many others too, like Michigan-based subsidiary SubTerra!

    Michigan republicans are fighting to get marijuana reclassified as a schedule 2 drug and distributed by pharmacies. A special committee has already passed a bill for a Senate vote. It outlines a new system for distributing medical cannabis to run parallel to the current one. This new process could not be implemented unless the federal government reclassified marijuana, but that possibility is beginning to look conceivable. Behind the push to centralize marijuana production is Prairie Plant Systems (PPS), a Canadian based horticulture company. If the bill is passed and implemented, it is possible that PPS would become the exclusive provider of pharmaceutical grade cannabis in Michigan.

    Source
    http://komornlaw.com/corporatizing-c...n-in-michigan/

    At stake are millions of dollars in newfound revenue for an emerging big-business enterprise, well positioned to deal with the complex tangle of cultivation, processing, distribution, and finance being developed to regulate marijuana in Michigan.

    The state last month passed legislation allowing deep pocketed entrepreneurs to grow up to 1,500 marijuana plants at a time. Previously, growers were limited to just 72 plants.

    “I think in some aspects it will be certainly easier for people who are better financed to find the real estate, do the build-outs, qualify for the regulatory systems and obtain the licenses,” said Robin Schneider, legislative director for the National Patient Rights Association. “I think they’ll have more opportunity.”

    Some in the fledgling marijuana industry see a future that parallels the way Michigan regulates alcohol, with a few big companies controlling sales and distribution throughout the state. Republican State Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge helped push the legislation through the Senate. Some opponents of the legislation have accused him of buckling to political cash interests. He denied that “approximately $20,000” in campaign donations had any impact on his work. Yet opponents indicate those donations paved the way for the legislation to favor big business interests. Jones denies this.

    The state has over a year to establish regulations for issuing licenses for three tiers of marijuana grow operations — 500- plant, 1,000-plant and 1,500-plant operations — secure transporters, labs to test it, processing centers and dispensaries. The cost of those licenses will be established along with the regulations, but there is one limit in the new law: The state can’t charge more than $10,000 for a 500-plant grow operation license. Local governments can’t charge more than $5,000 for a local license.

    Lansing, which is hammering out its own licensing and regulation rules, also seems to be tipping the pot industry towards big business interests.

    The ordinance under consideration would impose a fee for a licensed operation at $3,000. On top of that, the ordinance would require that operators prove to city officials that they have $25,000 in liquid assets. The state legislation also requires that applicants prove they have the financial wherewithal to succeed. What that proof might look like will be up to the state to determine.

    The result of both the state and Lansing laws would be the creation of a two-tier growing system. Large growers would be the only legal suppliers to the dispensaries, and the small growers — the caregivers who now provide marijuana to up to five patients — will be cut off from the distribution system. The seed to sale tracking system established by state law will assure that small growers will be unable to feed their excess, or overage, into the dispensary system.

    Jones said caregivers should surrender their caregiver cards and line up for licensing of up to 500-plant operations, “so they can make some real money.”

    With such high financial buy-ins, caregivers are unlikely to have access to such licensing provisions, or a way to dispose of excess product.

    Corporate interests put ahead of patient’s rights
    Not everyone has enthusiasm for Kahn’s legislation, including the Michigan chapter of the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.

    Speaking with the Associated Press, Rick Thompson, spokesman for the ASA’s Michigan chapter, said the group fears that passage of legislation such as Senate Bill 660 may force medical marijuana patients in the future to buy their medicine and not grow it themselves.

    “If you’re able to grow in your basement there’s no reason to go to Walmart,” Thompson said. “You have to eliminate home-based competition in order to get a large gross to be financially solvent….That’s not what we voted for in 2008.”

    Charmie Gholson, founder of Michigan Moms United, which fights for legal protections for medical marijuana users, agreed, saying “We need to grow our own medicine.” And adding, “I’m not sure why a Canadian corporation can come in and try to buy our Legislature.”

    Other critics of the bill point to recent efforts to “corporatize” marijuana and point out that Prairie Plant Systems Inc., which has been the sole medical marijuana supplier in Canada for the past 13 years, has lobbied in favor of the legislation, with the help of Chuck Perricone, former Speaker of the House, who now represents Prairie Plant Systems.

    With the most-recent legislation in Michigan, marijuana legalization advocates continue to be suspicious that this legislation is nothing more than a get-rich scheme for big corporations, including Big Pharma, hidden behind lawmakers concerns about the safety of homegrown marijuana

    #2
    It's bullshit what's happening in the mitten.How can you reclassify it in 1 state when it's scheduled 1 thru the entire country?Plus since the US is part of the United Nations wouldn't it be illegal to reclassify it to schedule 2?

    Cooperate greed is taking over,and i hope that the patients can put up a fight.It's not gonna look any better if that sherrif gets elected to be the state governer,i hear he has a hard on for homegrows.

    Comment


      #3
      The seed to sale tracking system established by state law will assure that small growers will be unable to feed their excess, or overage, into the dispensary system.
      This doesnt stop weight from going out the back doors of dispos. How will MI be any different?
      https://www.angelfire.com/cantina/fo...s/profiles.htm


      https://blog.nutri-tech.com.au/

      Comment


        #4
        How can they renig on my liscense like that. Can we patients sue? I've put alot of time and effort into this it's a 24 hrs a day 365 days a year job... I want compensation money for my work that will be lost. Every single year ive had my liscense. Plus my electric for running lights. Plus nutrients. Plus the amount I've paid in seeds/clones. Plus all the hardware I've bought. Plus the gas I've wasted driving to get the stuff. Plus what else am I missing...I feel like state of Michigan set me up.. make me do all this investing and change the law.. it's not right. They gave me a liscense if they want my liscense back they better buy me out and then re issue new liscenses.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Queef View Post
          How can they renig on my liscense like that. Can we patients sue? I've put alot of time and effort into this it's a 24 hrs a day 365 days a year job... I want compensation money for my work that will be lost. Every single year ive had my liscense. Plus my electric for running lights. Plus nutrients. Plus the amount I've paid in seeds/clones. Plus all the hardware I've bought. Plus the gas I've wasted driving to get the stuff. Plus what else am I missing...I feel like state of Michigan set me up.. make me do all this investing and change the law.. it's not right. They gave me a liscense if they want my liscense back they better buy me out and then re issue new liscenses.
          Your situation sounds like a real bummer man.
          Welcome to the future, pass the laws first then change it to suit the need of the rich and powerful!

          Does anyone really believe home growing can survive?....Not me!

          Comment


            #6
            Writing was on the wall for this years ago. Corrupt as all get out.

            However, the cost isn't so prohibitive. A decent grower who has managed well with their 72, and hasn't had that as their sole income, could afford to make the transition.

            I don't see the whole of Michigan going for mass produced product. There will be a good boutique market as long as you can produce true top shelf.

            With those plant numbers you could actually get something accomplished as a breeder.

            The reality is even in the last 4 years, the cannabis community has become the cannabis industry. It is going to be commercialized and monopolized. There is no stopping it.

            The question is, what side of it do you want to be a part of? How are you going to adapt to the changes in order to stay relevant in an emerging industry?

            We can keep places like ICmag the same by engaging and sharing on these forums to stay ahead of the curve and as an established community, discuss the industry.

            I used to feel people who went corporate had jumped the ship and were to an extent betraying the culture. However, the reality is, someone is going to do it. It could be you. I'd rather members of our community step up and fill the industry than see it go to outsiders.

            No reason 4 or 5 of you couldn't get together and form a true non-profit, establish a board, get a license and be true to the plant and work solely with sick/terminal type patients.

            No reason a few of you couldn't get together and establish an LLC and get serious about what's coming and be the ones that make some money doing what you love.

            Just saying. You know they are going to try and squeeze every penny out of it. Adapt or perish.



            dank.Frank
            Bunch of fake ass neo-capitalists masquerading
            as counter
            culture cannabis enthusiasts with
            their thinly veiled
            self-justifications
            catering to the morally
            ambiguous
            for the sake of the
            ALL MIGHTY DOLLAR

            Canna Caramels ---> click here Organic Soil ---> click here Current Grow --> click here

            Comment


              #7
              @dank.frank

              Do you really feel the little guy can compete with the big dogs like 'Tweed" AKA (Canopy Growth Corporation)
              Tweed currently owns 350,000 square feet of greenhouse on 1 site, and as far as we know, it is the largest marijuana greenhouse in the world. Plans are already being developed for a second building at the 20-acre location. and a total of 665,000 square footage of growing area with significant acreage for additional expansion. Tweed is currently suppling 7 European countries with medical cannabis.
              And they’re moving into Australia, Brazil and Germany.


              Tweed CORE PARTNERS

              Snoop Dogg is one of the most revered figures in music, entertainment and more recently, a business pioneer in the cannabis sector. , a true global powerhouse.

              Nutritional High developing manufacturing processes related to cannabis extracts.

              DNA Genetics Seed supplier.

              MedCann German Cannabis Importer

              Vert M├ędical is a Quebec based producer of medical cannabis

              Groupe Hemp is licensed by Health Canada to cultivate hemp and extract oil from hemp seeds.

              AusCann is a leader in Australia's emerging medical cannabis industry.

              Indoor Harvest is developing aeroponic agriculture solutions for the cannabis industry. The Texas-based company is already working with CityFarm at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to revolutionize the efficiency and accessibility of agriculture. Working with Tweed’s R&D team, Indoor Harvest is developing IP that both companies can leverage and license throughout the world.

              CannScience is an R&D biopharmaceutical company established to conduct research and development of therapeutic products based on the extracts from medical cannabis.

              Bedrocan Canada Pioneering medical cannabis for more than 20 years in seven countries.Today, Bedrocan is the world’s most experienced producer of legal medical cannabis.

              METTRUM HEALTH CORP has established a line of cannabis products that work well in a medical context.
              Our accomplishments to date are a result of our diversity. From horticultural experts to storied cannabis growers – Harvard MBAs to Cambridge law graduates – Ottawa Valley tech icons to Compassion Club pioneers. With no existing roadmap to success in the cannabis sector Canopy created its own, valuing IQ along with expertise, bringing together the types of people who go looking for opportunities to innovate. We were the first cannabis company to go public, the first to launch diversified growing platforms, and the first to bring together two major licensed cannabis producers under one roof.

              I love this part

              We may share your personal information with our employees, contractors, consultants, affiliates and other parties who require such information to assist us with managing our relationship with you, including third parties that provide services to us or on our behalf.
              As a result, your personal information may be collected, used, processed, stored or disclosed in the United States and may potentially be accessible to law enforcement and national security authorities of that jurisdiction.

              Welcome to the new Michigan Cannabis Monopoly.

              Comment


                #8
                F'in DNA thieves
                Old Icmagger. New Handle - H & G Nute Advocate
                STABLE:
                Relentless Seeds Elmer's Glue - White Pie - White Cookies -- Dr Krippling Incredible Bulk (Skunk #1 x Big Bud) ---
                New Pheno Search - GDP's Candyland - SSSDH - Moonshine Haze (RD)

                Comment


                  #9
                  We should prepare for a complete Reaming from the State Gummint.
                  Old Icmagger. New Handle - H & G Nute Advocate
                  STABLE:
                  Relentless Seeds Elmer's Glue - White Pie - White Cookies -- Dr Krippling Incredible Bulk (Skunk #1 x Big Bud) ---
                  New Pheno Search - GDP's Candyland - SSSDH - Moonshine Haze (RD)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by shaggyballs View Post
                    @dank.frank

                    Do you really feel the little guy can compete with the big dogs like 'Tweed" AKA (Canopy Growth Corporation)
                    Bells found a way to compete with Budwiser.



                    dank.Frank
                    Bunch of fake ass neo-capitalists masquerading
                    as counter
                    culture cannabis enthusiasts with
                    their thinly veiled
                    self-justifications
                    catering to the morally
                    ambiguous
                    for the sake of the
                    ALL MIGHTY DOLLAR

                    Canna Caramels ---> click here Organic Soil ---> click here Current Grow --> click here

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by shaggyballs View Post
                      By the way Tweed runs Prairie Plant Systems (PPS)

                      This is inaccurate, Tweed and PPS/CanniMed are completely different entities.
                      More Agriculture
                      Less Agro-Culture

                      Comment


                        #12
                        here's the actual dirt on how big money bought the new medical regs and stopped the recreational vote.

                        fuckers bought a Billion dollar industry for pennies.

                        free press

                        Medical pot laws ignite Lansing feeding frenzy

                        Nov. 4, 2008: Michigan voters pass a ballot proposal by a 63%-37% margin to allow the use of medical marijuana.

                        May 2012: State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, introduces a bill that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries in communities. The bill doesn't get a hearing.

                        February 2013: Callton reintroduces a bill — HB 4271 — that would allow communities to determine whether and where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located.
                        Michigan marijuana laws

                        October 2013: State Rep. Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake, introduces a bill — HB 5104 — to legalize non-smokable forms of medical marijuana, such as brownies and oils. Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, introduces a bill — SB 660 — that would allow pharmacies to dispense medical marijuana if the federal government reclassifies marijuana as a Schedule 2 controlled substance.

                        December 2013: Both the House and Senate pass the pharmacy bill and the House passes the other two medical marijuana bills, all with large, bipartisan majorities. Gov. Rick Snyder signs the medical marijuana pharmacy bill, but the federal government still has not reclassified marijuana.

                        August 2014: The Senate Government Operations Committee passes the dispensary and non-smokable marijuana bills, but neither bill gets a final vote in the Senate and the bills die in lame duck.

                        February 2015: Callton reintroduces the dispensary bill — HB 4209 — and Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, reintroduces the non-smokable bill — HB 4210 — after Kowall leaves the House of Representatives in 2014 because of term limits. Eileen Kowall signs a consulting contract with a medical marijuana business worth $15,000 worth of shares in the company, but later says she returned the shares a few days later after realizing it would represent a conflict of interest for her husband, Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake.

                        July 2015: The political action committee for Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee where the medical marijuana bills will end up, holds a fund-raiser and receives nine donations worth $14,000 from people with ties to the medical marijuana industry.

                        August 2015: State Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, introduces a bill — HB 4827 — that creates a seed-to-sale tracking system to follow medical marijuana from grower to patient.

                        September 2015: Businessman Ron Boji holds a fund-raiser at his Orchard Lake home for Mike Kowall, and a handful of people with links to the medical marijuana industry are in attendance and donate to Kowall's campaign fund.

                        October 2015: After going through a drastic rewrite of the dispensary bill, all three medical marijuana bills pass the House of Representatives with wide, bipartisan majorities.

                        December 2015: Brian Pierce, chief of staff for Kesto, leaves the Legislature and registers as a lobbyist with only one client, the Michigan Responsibility Council, a trade association for businesses that want to get into the medical marijuana business.

                        February 2016: Sen. David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, introduces SB 776, which tightens up the deadlines to turn in ballot proposal signatures. The bill, which passes on a party-line vote in both the House and Senate, is signed into law by Snyder in June. The bill has the effect of killing a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the state.

                        Mid-2016: After several hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jones, the chairman of the committee, can’t muster a majority of votes to move the bills to the full Senate.

                        September 2016: Kowall calls for a discharge of the medical marijuana bills from committee, and all receive final passage in the Senate and House.

                        Sept. 21, 2016: Snyder signs the three bills into law.

                        January 2017: Sandra McCormick, chief of staff for Jones, leaves the Senate to become executive director and a lobbyist for the Michigan Cannabis Development Association.

                        Dec. 15, 2017: Individuals and businesses may begin applying for licenses for the five categories of medical marijuana regulation.

                        http://www.freep.com/story/news/loca...igan/99250684/

                        LANSING — The medical marijuana industry is poised for explosive growth in Michigan. And new laws seeking to regulate, tax and legitimize the lucrative business have unleashed a torrent of cash at Lansing decision makers, sending dozens of lobbyists, lawmakers, legislative staffers and business owners scrambling for a piece of the billion-dollar enterprise.

                        All the jockeying is taking place under Michigan's weakest-in-the-nation laws outlining government ethics, transparency and conflicts of interest. And it’s happening while Lansing awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointment of a five-member board that will ultimately oversee licensing of the industry, raising questions about who will truly benefit from bringing pot to the mainstream.
                        Michigan marijuana laws

                        The stakes are high: While medical marijuana revenues in Michigan are estimated at more than $700 million, if full legalization of marijuana happens, as it has in eight other states, the revenues could be enormous. Arcview Market Research, a California-based company that tracks the marijuana industry, reported $6.8 billion nationally in legal marijuana sales — both recreational and medicinal — in 2016, and projects the market to grow to $21.6 billion by 2021.

                        Amid those types of numbers, the lobbying efforts in Lansing have exploded.

                        A Free Press investigation found:

                        The chiefs of staff of the House and Senate committees developing the medical marijuana legislation both quit their jobs in the past two years to become lobbyists for the medical marijuana industry.
                        Former House Speaker Rick Johnson, a lobbyist since 2005, worked on the medical marijuana legislation though he said he had no paying client, and has now been nominated to be on the five-member board that will issue lucrative medical marijuana licenses.
                        Johnson also is negotiating the sale of his stake in the lobbying firm, Dodak Johnson & Associates, to a lobbyist for the medical marijuana industry, raising concerns about whether industry lobbyists could seek to curry favor with Johnson through the price paid.
                        Since 2015, medical marijuana interests have spent more than $336,000 lobbying state lawmakers and officials and have paid more than $50,000 into campaign funds state lawmakers control. The actual numbers are higher, but can't be calculated from public records because state law does not require multi-client lobbying firms — including some whose client lists include medical marijuana players, according to a review by the Free Press — to identify how much of their total lobbying effort is spent on a specific issue, such as medical marijuana.
                        While campaign fund donations must be publicly reported, lawmakers don't have to disclose donations businesses make to federal nonprofit funds they control, known as "social welfare" organizations.
                        According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, former House Rep. Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake Township, received $15,000 worth of shares in a medical marijuana company in 2015 to pay for consulting work, while her husband, Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake Township, helped push medical marijuana bills through the Legislature. Elaine Kowall confirmed to the Free Press she signed the agreement and received the shares, but said she quickly recognized the conflict of interest, rescinded the agreement and returned the shares.

                        The developments have largely been shielded from public view. Michigan has no financial disclosure requirements for public officials, minimal restrictions on lawmakers or legislative staffers working in the Capitol one day and hanging shingles as lobbyists the next, and weak lobbying reporting laws.

                        "If you’re potentially going to be on the payroll of a company interested in a bill you’re pushing, that presents huge problems," said David Vance, spokesman for Common Cause, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for more accountable government. "If someone stands to make a significant financial windfall, they may be inclined to do favors for future employers."

                        The Center for Public Integrity, an investigative news organization that has ranked Michigan 50th in the nation in terms of transparency and accountability, said the issues surrounding the regulation of the medical marijuana industry should make Michigan and other states strive for more transparency.

                        "The issues here highlight a broader reality that state legislatures are not paragons of disclosure and protections against conflicts of interest," said Gordon Witkin, executive editor at the center. "There’s lots of money in marijuana and as legalization continues to proliferate, we’re going to see more cash and more questionable behavior."

                        Rick Thompson, a medical marijuana advocate and board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said he was disgusted by the process that culminated in approval of a five-bill package in September.

                        "One of the positives of the Trump administration is his ban on going immediately from government to lobbying and that's something Michigan should emulate. Influence peddling is such a deep-rooted part of our legislative process that it’s difficult to remove from the Capitol," Thompson said.

                        In addition to the jockeying in Lansing, wealthy businessmen such as developer Ron Boji and entertainment mogul Tom Celani — owner of the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre — are also potentially seeking to get into the medical marijuana business. Both are prolific campaign donors (see article on freep.com).
                        'Wild, wild West'

                        Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana in 2008, but bare-bones regulation of the drug created a "wild, wild West" landscape, with patients concerned about safety, quality and security of supply. Michigan courts ruled that only marijuana sales between registered caregivers and patients were legal, meaning the dispensaries used by many patients shut down frequently and largely relied on local officials in some communities turning a blind eye in order to operate.

                        That's changing under the package of bills Snyder signed into law in September, which require state-issued licenses for large-scale growers, processors, testers, secure transporters and retailers of medical marijuana and give communities the authority to allow and zone for medical marijuana dispensaries within their borders. Though welcoming the fact that the laws give new legal protections to those who use medical marijuana, some advocates say the new rules set the stage for high prices and near monopoly control by politically connected investors.

                        "There’s huge money to be made. There have only been two issues that I’ve been lobbied so hard on, and this is one of them," said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, who opposed the legislation, and recalled a health care issue as the other hot-button topic for lobbyists.

                        The apparent feeding frenzy, observers say, is the result of a rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new and lucrative state-licensed industry. A House Fiscal Agency analysis of the laws says the industry is expected to generate $771 million in annual sales and $21.3 million in state taxes.

                        Today, close to 250,000 Michigan residents hold medical marijuana cards, many of them are served by nearly 41,000 licensed caregivers, who are each permitted to grow no more than 12 marijuana plants for each of up to five patients. With new ballot drives about to launch to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Michigan, proponents expect many of the regulations placed on the medical marijuana industry to carry over into the recreational market, with potential revenues expected to escalate into the billions.

                        Now, Lansing awaits Snyder's appointment of the five-member board to oversee medical marijuana licensing. Three of the appointments are Snyder's, with one each recommended by Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, who has submitted Johnson's name, and House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, who declined to reveal his nominees. Another 17-member advisory panel will help develop the rules and regulations surrounding medical marijuana.

                        From chiefs to lobbyists

                        Much of the grunt work in drafting bills is done by key legislative staffers, and no staffers were more integral to the process than the chiefs of staff to the two judiciary committees that worked on the legislation.

                        Brian Pierce, who was chief of staff to House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, and Sandra McCormick, who was chief of staff to Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, both now have better-paying jobs as lobbyists for the medical marijuana industry.

                        Pierce left the Legislature in November 2015, less than two months after the medical marijuana bills cleared the House of Representatives, and registered as a lobbyist in December with only one client — the Michigan Responsibility Council, a medical marijuana trade association representing businesses who want to get involved as growers.

                        McCormick, who was chief of staff to Jones, became executive director in January of the Michigan Cannabis Development Association, which is funded by businesses that want to get a medical marijuana license once the state starts awarding them in December.

                        The two staffers said they see nothing wrong with the move to lobbying and that it is typical of what happens in Lansing, especially in an era of term limits when staffers are forced to move when their boss has to leave office.

                        "You see that all the time," Pierce said. "Think of all of those who are in leadership roles now; they’ve all come from staff at one point or another."

                        McCormick said she had a choice: stay two more years in the Legislature or move to a job that would have more longevity.

                        "I can't count how many policy advisers have left the Legislature to a policy area that they really like," she said.

                        The staffers' former bosses said they also have no problem losing their employees to businesses they've directly impacted through legislation they've sponsored.

                        "There is only so much money to be made here — $40,000 is the average," Kesto said. "They’re going to go where their niche is and work on something that they understand."

                        Jones said McCormick is the third chief of staff that he has lost to lobbying.

                        Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, said a cooling-off period for elected officials and office staffers would prevent actual impropriety or even the appearance of impropriety. Currently, both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, as well as 34 states, have rules in place that prohibit lawmakers from becoming registered lobbyists for a period of time, usually one or two years. In addition, seven states and Congress have established cooling-off periods for a variety of legislative staffers.

                        "Government service should be done to promote the public interest, not as a stepping stone for profit or to line one's pockets," Scherb said.

                        Both Pierce and Johnson also told the Free Press that Pierce is seeking to buy Johnson's firm, though nothing has been finalized. Pierce's firm, Philip Alan Consulting, had set up shop in the same suite of offices as Dodak Johnson and Associates, a lobbying firm started in 2005 by Johnson and former Democratic House Speaker Lew Dodak.

                        How it works

                        Under state law, active lobbyists are ineligible for appointment to the state's medical marijuana licensing board. Johnson, who dropped his lobbyist registration on Nov. 30, is still listed as treasurer at the Dodak Johnson lobbying firm. He confirmed he's now in line to get an appointment to the medical marijuana licensing committee.

                        “I would do that, because it’s non-pay,” and as someone who is retiring, “I’m in a position where I’m able to do it,” Johnson said.

                        He said he helped put together the medical marijuana legislation, but didn't get paid by any client for the free advice he gave, noting he wanted to assure easy and affordable access for patients, including relatives and friends who have benefited from the use of medical marijuana.

                        “People asked me: ‘What do you think about this?’” and I would tell them, Johnson said.

                        Johnson wasn't specific about who he advised, but said among them was Pierce when he was still the chief of staff to Kesto, giving Pierce free advice on legislative matters and how to get bills through committee. Later, when Pierce decided to leave Kesto’s office and set up his own lobbying firm, Johnson said he told Pierce there was space they could rent in the Dodak Johnson suite in downtown Lansing.

                        Johnson denied any conflict of interest, saying he has never done "anything for anybody" where a conflict existed. He said he wouldn't have a vested interest if appointed to the licensing board, saying all he cares about is the patients.

                        “I didn’t get into this business to make a bazillion dollars,” said Johnson, adding that his main retirement plans are to return to his farm in rural LeRoy.

                        But he does stand to benefit from the sale of his lobbying firm — possibly to Pierce.

                        At the Michigan Responsibility Council, president and CEO Suzie Mitchell said Johnson would still be a good choice for the licensing board. "Lansing is Lansing — people retire," she said. "This is how the process works."

                        Others disagree. Jones, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he has nothing against Johnson but "I would like the board not only to be squeaky clean, but to have an appearance of no problems at all ... I oppose any lobbyist or former lobbyist being on the board."


                        As Senate Majority Floor Leader, Kowall, R-White Lake Township, made the motion in September to discharge to the full Senate the package of medical marijuana bills that had been stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee for nearly a year. He made no disclosure about any dealings between his wife, Eileen, and a medical marijuana company.

                        A Feb. 20, 2015, a consulting contract between Eileen Kowall and Michigan Green Technologies — dated less than two months after the former lawmaker left the Michigan Legislature because of term limits and one day after she registered as a lobbyist — was filed with the SEC in April 2015 by Cannabis Science, a publicly traded medical marijuana company headquartered in Colorado, with a major ownership stake in Michigan Green Technologies.

                        The agreement promised to pay Kowall 300,000 restricted common shares in Cannabis Science, which then had a market value of $15,000, upon execution of the agreement, plus future expenses and possible stock options and bonuses through the life of the contract, which extended to Feb. 15 of this year.

                        Mike Kowall told the Free Press Tuesday that his wife never signed the contract or received the shares.

                        "It would have been a conflict of interest, and that's why she didn't do it," Kowall said.

                        But on Wednesday, Eileen Kowall confirmed she signed the agreement and received the shares after she was introduced to Michigan Green Technologies official John Dalaly through "mutual friends" and as a result of her work on medical marijuana bills — she sponsored a bill to legalize non-smokable forms of marijuana — when she was in the Legislature.

                        "I can tell you that it was over as soon as it started," and she returned the shares within "a few days," because "there could be very definitely a conflict" with her husband's work in the Legislature. "It was a dumb mistake," she said. "I rejected that contract, but unfortunately they had already filed it" with the SEC.

                        In fact, it was two months after the date of the contract, in a 10-K report to the SEC dated April 21, 2015, that Cannabis Science reported the consulting agreement with Kowall, making no mention of the contract being rescinded or the shares returned.

                        Eileen Kowall on Thursday produced a March 28, 2015, letter from her to Michigan Green Technologies, resigning as a board member "due to unforeseen circumstances." She said she verbally resigned "a few days" after signing the agreement, and enclosed her stock certificate with her resignation letter, having done no consulting work. She also forwarded a March 2, 2016, e-mail from Dalaly to a Cannabis Science official, saying Kowall's stock certificate "was shredded by me per instructions about a year ago."

                        Michigan Green Technologies is no longer in business, said Dalaly's Troy attorney, Daniel McGlynn.

                        Dalaly also made $400 in campaign donations to Mike Kowall in November 2015 while the contract with Eileen Kowall was in place, state campaign finance records show. That $400 was part of $1,400 that Dalaly and his wife, Dina, gave in 2015 to key lawmakers involved in the medical marijuana legislation.

                        The agreement filed with the SEC said Eileen Kowall was paid for business advice, outreach, crisis management, strategic planning and "assisting with government relations, lobbying and public relations."

                        Neither Eileen Kowall nor the firm she works for, MGS Consultants of Lansing, registered with the Secretary of State's office as a lobbyist for Michigan Green Technologies, records show.

                        Lack of disclosure

                        Four lobbying firms or associations that are solely tied to medical marijuana spent $336,277 on trying to influence lawmakers on the issue in 2015 and 2016, records show. They are the Michigan Responsibility Council, which spent $146,000; the Michigan Cannabis Development Association, which spent $124,514; the National Patient Rights Association, which spent $37,969, and Prairie Plant Systems, which spent $27,794.

                        However, it’s hard to get a true sense of how much other lobbying was going on because of the lack of disclosure laws in the state, said Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, noting the money from the marijuana trade associations" is probably only a fraction of what was actually spent.”

                        For example, the MCDA's lobbyists included GCSI, one of Lansing's largest multi-client firms, which doesn't have to itemize how much it spends on an issue-by-issue basis.

                        Kesto and marijuana bill sponsor Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, were the top two recipients in the Legislature of meals and drinks paid for by Michigan lobbyists in 2016, with Callton receiving $4,047 in food and drink and Kesto getting $3,266, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. The biggest provider of those freebies was GCSI, records show.

                        In addition to most of the lobbying firms in Lansing being involved in lobbying on the issue on behalf of a myriad business interests and patient groups, Mauger said groups like the state sheriffs' and prosecutors' associations also tried to influence the end product.

                        “And the public has no idea, which is extremely problematic,” he said.

                        Receiving medical marijuana campaign funds since 2015 were: Kesto, whose campaign fund and PAC received at least $15,175; Jones, whose state funds received at least $15,000 and who told Fox 2 he also received $5,000 in marijuana funds in a federal nonprofit fund that does not report its donors; marijuana bill sponsor Callton, whose state campaign fund received at least $4,250, and Mike Kowall, whose state funds received at least $2,800. State funds connected to Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, received at least $1,750.

                        Kesto, Jones and Meekhof said the campaign donations were above board and properly reported.

                        "Everything I did was within the law and within the campaign finance rules. We didn’t do any quid pro quo," Kesto said. "Over the past three election cycles, I raised maybe a million dollars, so that amount was a drop in the bucket."
                        Big operators

                        Despite the infusion of cash, legislators resisted suggestions to limit the industry to the biggest businesses.

                        "There were moves to monopolize all the testing and distribution, moves to monopolize the growing," said Callton, who sponsored the primary bill in each of his three sessions in the Legislature. "Even now you see some big out-of-state operations that want to come in and grow hundreds of thousands of plants."

                        There are fears the big operators in the industry will squeeze out current caregivers and that patients will be left with an unaffordable product.

                        Robin Schneider, who became a medical marijuana patient after suffering a stroke in 2013, is now the executive director of the National Patients Rights Association. She started trying to get a bill passed even before her stroke when a cancer-stricken friend was desperate for a non-smokable form of marijuana that could be put in his feeding tube.

                        Four years later, after multiple hearings, work group sessions and fights over the final legislation, she just wants to make sure that patients' needs don't get lost in the rush for licenses and the quest for profits.

                        "Our concern is that regulations are reasonable enough that licenses aren’t impossible to get and at the same time avoid a monopoly in the business," she said.

                        The group didn't get everything it wanted, she said. Schneider would have liked a better opportunity for current caregivers to transition to the new system and a requirement that anyone applying for their first license be a caregiver with at least two years of experience.

                        "But we accomplished our goal of mandatory testing and access. We’re not unhappy with the result," she said. "We just hope that the regulation will allow small business and affordable products."

                        That was Callton's goal, too, when he first introduced the bills.

                        "There were people who tried to figure out how to corner the entire industry by leveraging the Legislature," he said. "But I would rather see 1,000 millionaires than one billionaire created from this act."
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                          #13
                          .
                          Last edited by earthwyrms; 03-28-2017, 11:02.

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                            #14
                            Michisippi = North Florida. PURE CORRUPTION. We will be written out, it has already been said by Klesto.. The goal is 100% control, and profits go to the most corrupt ones (most likely who stood against us for decades.)

                            A legal clusterfuck that we cannot win.
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                              #15
                              Originally posted by mittensmitten View Post
                              Michisippi = North Florida. PURE CORRUPTION. We will be written out, it has already been said by Klesto.. The goal is 100% control, and profits go to the most corrupt ones (most likely who stood against us for decades.)

                              A legal clusterfuck that we cannot win.

                              Yea it's all just a conspiracy though.

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