Story & Photos by Dan Skye
On September 7, Michigan’s medical marijuana community gathered on the steps of the state capitol in Lansing to protest the recent [link|http://hightimes.com/news/mike_hughes/7256|appellate court decision] which has forced hundreds of “legal” dispensaries to close down. The ruling has also forced thousands of legal Michigan medical marijuana users to acquire their medicine elsewhere, which means that patients have been forced to rely on black market sources.
In 2008, 63 percent of Michigan voters approved medical marijuana and the implementation of a program where cannabis could be accessed safely. However, Attorney General Bill Schuette, who took office last January, has fiercely opposed the program and has made it his mission to dismantle it.
A variety of speakers from Michigan’s medical cannabis community rallied the crowd including activists, patients, dispensary owners, and attorneys. In addition, two planes circled the crowd flying banners throughout the afternoon which read “Schuette: Keep Patients Off The Streets” and “Patients Deserve Safe Access.”
The three-hour rally was attended by over 2,000, making it the largest marijuana rally in state history. It was held on the day that Michigan legislators returned for the fall session. The Michigan Supreme Court has the power to overturn the decision and allow the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry to flourish again.
Cancer patient [link|http://hightimes.com/tags/joseph_casias|Joseph Casias], a legal medical marijuana patient who was fired from Walmart last year after failing a drug-screening, spoke powerfully to the crowd.
Two planes flew over the crowds trailing protest banners.
Marijuana attorney Thomas Lavigne exhorts the crowd.