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.
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