Attorney Michael Komorn Speaks Out at the Hash Bash 2015 Rally!
Thank you, it is truly an honor to be here today. This is a special gathering… one that I look forward to every year.
It is an exciting time in the United States, it would appear that there is great momentum amongst us…for a more rational approach to marihuana policy.
As a lawyer, may I suggest…Do not believe everything you read or see!
The MMMA – In November of 2008, Michigan voters passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (mmma). A lot of people don’t realize that more Michiganders voted for the mmma than any other issue, candidate legislation or policy decision in the history of Michigan elections. 3.3 million people declared that the sick, the wounded, and the people that care for them should be taken off the battlefield of the biggest losing war in the history of the world…on the war on marihuana.
Yet, what we have seen instead is a calculated strategy to derail the voter’s intent from the institutions that are truly in control.
This has to stop!
For 6 years across the state of Michigan:
Narcotic drug task forces have become specialized investigative armies finding or creating loopholes in the protections from arrest and prosecution of patient, caregivers and even doctors.
Prosecutors across this state have strategically litigated and courts have supported denying medical marihuana patients the simple right to present a medical marihuana defense to charges alleging marihuana violations. The most clear and unambiguous paragraph in the voters initiative of 2008 specifically decreed that registered and unregistered patients shall have a medical defense to any charges involving marihuana. This decree has been ignored.
Persons have been forced to plead guilty to felonies regarding marihuana or go to trial without being able to mention medical use of marihuana.
This is wrong and has to stop!
No matter what kind of law is passed, no matter how evolved we have become, the institutions charged with enforcing and interpreting the law control the tables.
These intuitions are and should be clearly identified as the enemy of ours, and this a concern that we as a community must focus upon for change.
Specifically – The problem is that it is nearly impossible to maintain rational drug policy reform, or even medical marihuana reform, and honor the will of the people when there is no reform for the arcane and mid evil forfeiture laws that currently exists.
The prosecution of persons and the criminalization of marihuana is about big money.
And this must change!
In any courtroom throughout this great state of ours the business of the day remains marihuana cases.
At least 40 percent of the courts dockets are still making up marihuana cases. It may be felony or misdemeanor charges, or probation violations for having tested positive for cannabis.
It is difficult to view cannabis as medicine, or even recreational, when so much revenue is brought into the state from those persons who use marihuana.
This must change!
Forfeiture – In 2014, the state of Michigan reported a net earning of 20 million dollars from forfeiture proceedings.
2014 was the year the media started reporting sheriff departments and other specialized agencies throughout Michigan acquiring military equipment from the department of defense. Begging the question, why do we need military equipment to police our own citizens???
The answer is obvious. We are still at war with families, people and citizens when cannabis is perceived as contraband per se. If we accept the concept that those who use marihuana are the criminals, then it follows we can incarcerate them, charge them money, and fund the police and prison industrial complexes.
The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails — a 500% increase over the past thirty years!
Racial Disparities in Incarceration:
African-American and Hispanics comprised 58% of the prison population. This is a racist policy, it exists all over the the state of Michigan and it is time for our state to call ourselves out.
We can be better!
This must change!
In 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals in a case People v Cunningham link here. The way courts have been issuing costs and fines was unreasonable and dramatically reduced the way people can be charged fees and court costs.
Then the court lobby decreed that they would lose over $100 million dollars. Legislation was passed to override what the court of appeals had declared was unreasonable and reprehensible.
You may ask yourself… why does the court need to lobby?
You may ask yourself… this is not my beautiful home?
You may ask yourself… this is not my beautiful wife?
You may ask yourself… how did I get here??
This must change!
We gather here today, the first Saturday of April, to recognize the insanity of all of this.
We acknowledge the insanity that Prophet John Sinclair was sentenced to 10 years in prison for 2 stinky joints.
The Michigan Supreme Court ultimately conclude in this case,
“That there is no rational basis for cannabis to be scheduled as a schedule 1 control substance and for a short period of time cannabis was de-scheduled. “
Often overlooked in the magic of the mmma is the declaration of Michigan voters, in conjunction with the federally funded National Institute of Science, that cannabis has a number of medical benefits in the treatment of debilitating conditions. By virtue of vote, cannabis was removed from its classification of a schedule 1 drug.
The Michigan voters in 2008 echoed the Michigan Supreme Court ruling from 1972, declaring the same as in the People v John Sinclair, and de-scheduled marihuana in Michigan.
Unfortunately, every criminal statute in the Michigan public health code still criminalizes cannabis as a schedule 1 drug.
Let me say that again. Despite 3.3 million Michiganders (63 percent of the voters in Michigan) declaring cannabis is medicine, it remains classified and criminalized as a schedule 1 drug.
Currently, the way in which people are prosecuted for cannabis crimes in Michigan is premised upon the drug being a schedule 1, or having no accepted medical treatment.
This must change!
At the same time, the United States’ 37th president, Richard Millhouse Nixon, while running a burglary ring out of the White House, rejected his handpicked commission after 2 years of independent research (now known as the Schafer Report) concluding that cannabis should not remain as a schedule 1 drug. At that time, The Schafer Report was the most comprehensive study regarding cannabis. After 2 years of study, research concluded that cannabis should not remain as a schedule 1 drug, and to criminalize marihuana would be the equivalent of criminalizing single parent families.
Nixon of course looked at the authors of the report and said, “didn’t you get the memo…the Blacks, the Jews, the Vietnam protesters and the Hippies use cannabis, these are the political enemies. If we criminalize cannabis we can imprison them and remove our competition.”
This is the history of cannabis. It is a racist policy. It is a policy created by a President for political reasons based upon a lie.
This policy has caused more carnage and destruction to families, more pain and suffering, and casualties than anything else in our recent history, and so it remains today.
As a policy… it is immoral, illegal and a complete failure.
This must change!
It is time in America to declare that adult responsible use of marihuana is okay. It is time for America to have an American made industry of cannabis. Thousands of Americans can attest to this fact.
It is time to start treating cannabis as other goods and services.
It should be okay for cannabis users to demand the highest quality cannabis in whatever forms they should choose to ingest. And with as little effort as necessary to acquire it.
We rally for freedom today and I am proud to be a part of this.
I will leave you with a comment. A police officer friend of mine said to me the other day,
“If you put 5 people in a room and give them a case of beer they will start a fight.
If you put the same 5 people in a room and give them a joint they will start a band.”
It is time to stop fighting and time to play some music!