I have embarked upon a journey in recent months, through my organization, the Michigan Caregivers Association, fighting corruption in Lansing.
Sadly, there are members of both major political parties that are engaging in this illicit and unlawful process. Certain Republicans and Democrats are in on it and taking money from the bad guys to sell out the industry.
This is why House Bills 5300, 5301 and 5302 are moving at a lightning pace through the process. These monopoly bills have bipartisan support, with Democrats and Republicans down on their knees for reviled lobbyist Steven “Dr. Evil” Linder, the Chamber of Commerce, and other villains out to steal the marijuana industry from the caregivers, medical patients, small businesses, and other entities that have built it into an economic powerhouse.
This is a takeover by the interests that have opposed marijuana for decades. They fought for prohibition until they saw dollar signs after the marijuana industry started to take off. A great example of this phenomenon is former Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, a Republican who opposed marijuana until he realized he could enrich himself through the industry. Then he whored himself out to the highest bidder while probably breaking the law while doing so.
Meekhof appointed Rick Johnson as chairman of the Michigan medical marijuana licensing board. As part of what appears to be an evident quid pro quo, Johnson gave three licenses to medical marijuana concerns that had bought off Meekhof. He admitted in emails that were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that he was in communication with Johnson during the licensure process that ultimately favored Meekhof’s clients.
This seems to be in apparent violation of a 2016 law barring representatives of medical marijuana applicants from lobbying licensing board members. Meekhof’s clients, Chesaning Elite, Lapeer Infused and Power Play Sports 2, benefited from paying off Meekhof and his lobbying associates. Their licenses went from being denied to being approved. This is part of the same money-driven agenda of unfairness that is driving support for HB5301, HB5302 and HB5303.
A Detroit News article noted that Meekhof aligned “with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on 93% of its top issues in 2017 and 2018.” It should come as no surprise that the Chamber, a crony-capitalist institution that lobbies for corporate dominance, was at most recent committee hearing lobbying for the Linder monopoly bills. It is such an incestuous network and they all work together in concert to preserve the corrupt system because they know it benefits them at our expense at the end of the day.
Keep in mind that this is not anything new. These revelations did not come out yesterday. This has been open knowledge for years. It has been widely reported since 2019 that one of the most prominent Republican leaders was involved in an apparent pay-to-play scheme to abuse the rules, in a possibly illegal but certainly immoral act, in order to create a marijuana monopoly. There has been no accountability from the attorney general on this issue as well.
It appears that the powers that be are looking the other way, even though these are Republicans acting in an obvious conflict of interest, in a blatantly corrupt manner, and not even attempting to hide it. Everyone is seemingly lined up at the same trough for the corporate special interests that want to dominate the marijuana industry. This whole incestuous system is incredibly immoral and disgusting, but that is only a reason to fight harder.
There are certainly a handful of Republicans and Democrats who stand for the caregivers against corruption, and God bless them. But there are far too few. This is why the Michigan Caregivers Association does not lobby our lawmakers based on their consciences or their good faith. It usually does not exist. We instead prefer to lobby the people, inform them on what their lawmakers are doing, and then force the legislators to deal with the fallout if they refuse to do what is right.
The Michigan Caregivers Association has set up a web portal making it very easy to oppose monopoly bills HB5301, HB5302 and HB5303 in Lansing. That portal can be accessed at mi-caregivers.com. For additional information, visit our main website where you can make donations to this noble cause and check out our Facebook page where there are daily updates about the fight to prevent a corporate monopoly and stop the Uniparty system from strangling our freedoms and suffocating our livelihoods.