US: Activist and poet John Sinclair among first to purchase legal recreational marijuana in Michigan, 50 years after his historic arrest - - PressFrom - US
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US Activist and poet John Sinclair among first to purchase legal recreational marijuana in Michigan, 50 years after his historic arrest

23:20  01 december  2019
23:20  01 december  2019 Source:   mlive.com

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John Sinclair , “ Michigan ’s hippie king,” walked out of Jackson’s State Prison of Southern Michigan When white and college educated John Sinclair was first arrested for “sales and possession” of Three days later, John was free. His case convinced the Michigan Supreme Court that marijuana

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ANN ARBOR, MI -- Marijuana activist and poet John Sinclair, although older now at 78, is no less the rebel he was in 1969.

a group of people that are standing in the grass: People wait in line before the opening of Michigan's first recreational marijuana shop Exclusive Brands  in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS People wait in line before the opening of Michigan's first recreational marijuana shop Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

“I knew they were going to be after me, but you can’t let them determine your life,” he said of his 1971 release from prison for possession of two joints.

About 9:49 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Arbors Wellness in Ann Arbor with a happy line of hundreds wrapped around the block, Sinclair made what was likely the first-ever licensed recreational retail marijuana sale in Michigan.

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He paid $160.35 cash and grinned as he clutched a handful of pre-rolled joints with names like Gorilla Glue no. 9 and Forbidden Jelly.

“Things have come full circle, haven’t they, John,” longtime marijuana activist Rick Thompson asked Sinclair, a Detroit resident who resembles a jazz musician with his iconic goatee beard and now uses a wheelchair.

“It would be more full if they came and gave me back the weed that they took,” Sinclair responded.

Sinclair said he’s smoked marijuana every day since 1962, not including the nearly two years he spent in prison between 1969 and 1971 serving a 10-year sentences that was later overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Arbors Wellness is one of three dispensaries in Ann Arbor that received one of the state’s first recreational marijuana licenses and began selling marijuana to the general public Sunday, Dec. 1.

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Legalizing marijuana is expected to generate revenue in the coming budget year to help restore poverty- and crime-ridden communities Medical marijuana dispensaries and new retail stores will be licensed to sell it. Medical cannabis patients will be allowed to grow up to five plants each at home.

Poet and activist John Sinclair was arrested and jailed for giving marijuana to an undercover police officer. The controversy over his arrest led to Grand Rapids did it. And last November, voters in four other cities in Michigan approved local ordinances aimed at lessening the penalties for possession of

There’s a reason Sinclair was at the front of the line.

Nearly 15,000 people gathered at the University of Michigan’s Crisler Center in Ann Arbor to protest harsh marijuana laws in December 1971.

“They gave him ten for two, what else could Judge Colombo do?” sang John Lennon alongside Yoko Ono as a mass of people shouted, danced and openly smoked marijuana. They demanded the release of White Panther Party founder and activist John Sinclair.

Fifty years ago, Wayne County Judge Robert J. Colombo sentenced Sinclair, a then-27-year-old Flint native, to between 9 1/2 and 10 years in prison for possession of two marijuana joints he was accused of giving to an undercover Detroit cop.

a man standing in front of a building talking on a cell phone: Jacob Waters uses a heater to stay warm while waiting in line to purchase recreational marijuana at Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Jacob Waters uses a heater to stay warm while waiting in line to purchase recreational marijuana at Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

"He isn’t a criminal, he isn’t a criminal at all,” Sinclair’s attorney Chuck Ravitz told Colombo at sentencing. "The criminals with respect to this law are the doctors, the legislatures, the attorneys who know, who know because they have the knowledge, that these laws are unconstitutional, that these laws defy all knowledge of science.”

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Almost 50 years after those culturally heady and politically tumultuous days, when he found The words are delivered over a soundscape by his musical collaborator Steve Fly that deftly The following year, Sinclair was arrested after offering two marijuana joints to an undercover narcotics officer.

These penalties received national attention when poet and activist John Sinclair was sentenced to ten years in prison for possession of two joints, a sentence that sparked the landmark John Sinclair Freedom Rally at Ann Arbor's Crisler Arena in Legal history of marijuana in the United States.

A half century later, the same system that sentenced Sinclair to a decade behind bars is sanctioning commercial sale of the plant that put him there, thanks to a 2018 ballot initiative passed by 56% of Michigan voters. That vote has now come to its culmination. Marijuana prohibition, at least in Michigan and 10 other states, is over.

After 10 a.m. Sunday, anyone with a picture ID over the age of 21 became legally able to purchase marijuana from a growing number of licensed stores across the state. That includes four in Ann Arbor, mere miles from that historic 1971 concert that evolved into what’s now known as Hash Bash, an annual pro-marijuana rally on the University of Michigan campus.

a group of people in a park: People wait in line before the opening of Michigan's first recreational marijuana shop Exclusive Brands  in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS People wait in line before the opening of Michigan's first recreational marijuana shop Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

Licensed recreational marijuana businesses as of Wednesday, Nov. 27:

Arbors Wellness, 321 E. Liberty St. in Ann Arbor, 734-929-2602

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The decriminalization bill passed after a last-ditch effort to legalize recreational pot failed to win enough support A push to legalize marijuana failed to get enough support in the State Senate before the New York did not become the 12th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this year .

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Exclusive Brands at 3820 Varsity Dr. in Ann Arbor, 734-494-0772

Greenstone Provisions, 338 Ashley St. in Ann Arbor, 734-773-3075

Michigan Supply and Provisions, 1096 E. Main in Morenci, 517-458-3002

Lit Provisioning Centers, 600 W. Seventh in Evart, 231-515-1600

Skymint, 1958 S. Industrial Hwy. in Ann Arbor, 734-627-7360

A Map of qualified retail locations and those with applications pending:

a glass cup on a counter: Maggie Smith prepares the first purchase of  recreational marijuana at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Maggie Smith prepares the first purchase of recreational marijuana at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

Based on possession and transport limits set by the law, customers may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, including a maximum of 15 grams of marijuana concentrates.

a group of people that are standing in the grass: People wait in line before the opening of Michigan's first recreational marijuana shop Exclusive Brands  in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS People wait in line before the opening of Michigan's first recreational marijuana shop Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

The law also allows residents to keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants in their residence.

a group of people standing in front of a building: People wait in line during the first day of recreational marijuana sales at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS People wait in line during the first day of recreational marijuana sales at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

Products sold at most retailers include: flower, vaping products, oil, concentrates, edibles and more.

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Almost 50 years before Michigan voters passed recreational cannabis, the small college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan was the Recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan on December 6, 2018. Michigan cannabis laws currently prohibit medical marijuana minors to purchase marijuana .

After Robert Randall became the first person to successfully use a medical necessity defense when he was charged with illegal possession of cannabis to treat his glaucoma 2. 1971 rally and music festival in Michigan protesting the arrest for marijuana possession, and imprisonment of poet John Sinclair .

The state began accepting applications for recreational marijuana businesses on Nov. 1 and had issued 18 licenses as of Nov. 27, including six to retail businesses, one for lab testing, six for growing 1,500 plants each, three for processing, one to a secure transportation company and to an event organizer.

a group of people standing in front of a building: People wait in line to purchase recreational marijuana at Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS People wait in line to purchase recreational marijuana at Exclusive Brands in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

Marijuana Regulatory Agency Director Andrew Brisbo projected a dozen of the 30-plus businesses seeking retail licenses would be able begin sales by the new year.

I am proud of the hard work our team put in to implement the will of the voters ahead of the deadline," Marijuana Regulatory Agency Director Andrew Brisbo said Sunday morning.

a group of people standing on a sidewalk: People wait in line during the first day of recreational marijuana sales at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS People wait in line during the first day of recreational marijuana sales at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

Except for small-scale growers, micro-businesses, defined as self-contained operations able to grow, process and sell up to 150 plants, and marijuana event organizers, all recreational businesses -- growers, testing labs, processors, transporters and retailers -- must first receive medical marijuana license before being granted a recreational license. That requirement expires on Dec. 6, 2021.

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State budget officials expect the new recreational marijuana industry to begin generating nearly $1.5 billion in revenue annually by the second half of 2021.

Despite enticing tax revenue offered to communities that allow recreational marijuana businesses, nearly 80% of cities, townships and villages in Michigan, 1,411 of 1,733 as of the latest state count, have banned them.

Maggie Smith prepares the first purchase of  recreational marijuana at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.  Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.© Mary Lewandowski | MLive/Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com/mlive.com/TNS Maggie Smith prepares the first purchase of recreational marijuana at GreenStone Provisions medical marijuana shop in Ann Arbor on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. Dec. 1 is the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in Michigan.

Some, like Detroit, say their bans aren’t permanent, but are to allow officials time to structure the business rules.

“I’ve been somewhat surprised with municipal participation,” Brisbo said. “I think we always assumed there would be a lot of municipal opt-outs, based on the way the ballot initiative is written, but I think it’s been somewhat surprising that even municipalities that allow for medicinal use haven’t necessarily been allowing for the adult use side of things.”

“I think we’re starting to see municipalities get through those conversations and start to move ahead.”

Scott Greenlee, president of Healthy and Productive Michigan, spearheaded the losing battle against recreational marijuana legalization leading up to the 2018 election.

Greenlee remains a staunch opponent of legalization, calling it a “gateway drug” to worse vices, like heroin, opiates and cocaine. While he acknowledges some people use marijuana while contributing to society, he doesn’t believe it’s beneficial to their personal lives.

“People can be functional alcoholics,” he said last week before shops opened. “They can quote, unquote be visually be a productive member of society and have horrible issues going on inside the home, inside their body, etc.

78-year-old poet makes 1st purchase of legal recreational weed in Michigan

  78-year-old poet makes 1st purchase of legal recreational weed in Michigan People lined up at dispensaries in Michigan to buy recreational weed."It went swiftly. I got some weed over the counter," Sinclair told ABC News when reached by phone. "It's about time. I've been waiting for this for 50 years.

Marijuana legalization activist John Sinclair urged students to ignore material pursuits in favor of activism during a talk on Saturday. Three days later, Sinclair was released after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the state’s current laws regarding marijuana were unconstitutional.

" ... That’s one of the ways that alcohol and marijuana are actually somewhat comparable."

Greenlee said he and other members of Healthy and Productive Michigan continue to fight marijuana use by speaking at community meetings around the state “and providing the other side of the story.”

“Which is kind of tough to do in this day and age,” he said, “because there is so much acceptance and because people think, well, it’s not that big a deal.”

Sinclair, whose case galvanized the beginnings of a half-century push for marijuana legalization that slowly grew and overcame the will of prohibitionists like Greenlee, never served his full 10-year prison sentence.

Three days after that concert at Crisler Center, he was released.

The Michigan Supreme Court later deemed his sentence “cruel and unusual" punishment. The one-time manager of the Detroit Rock band MC5 went on to became a “jazz poet" and lifelong proponent of marijuana legalization.

Shortly after his release from Jackson State Prison, Sinclair went on a college campus speaking tour advocating for marijuana reform with Keith Stroup, who had just started the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and another released marijuana prisoner, Lee Otis Johnson.

“We went around trying to spread the gospel,” said Stroup, now 75. “ ... Marijuana smoking was considered a fringe activity and was too radical for most mainstream Americans to embrace.

“Americans at that point had been subject to 30, 40, 50 years of reefer madness propaganda ... and as a result it took us a long time to overcome that.”

Stroup continues to work with NORML as a legal adviser and still devotes much of his energy to marijuana legalization nationwide. He called the toppling of marijuana prohibition in Michigan “a major step forward for the legalization movement.”

“Here’s what I’ve always felt,”Stroup said last week. "The fight to legalize marijuana is only incidentally about marijuana. It’s really about personal freedom. Most Americans do not want the government coming into their homes to know what books they read, what music they listen to, how they conduct themselves in the privacy of the bedroom or whether they smoke marijuana or drink alcohol when they relax in the evening.

“It’s simply none of the government’s business.”

-- Gus Burns is the marijuana beat reporter for MLive. Contact him with questions, tips or comments at fburns@mlive.com or follow him on Twitter, @GusBurns. Read more from MLive about medical and recreational marijuana.

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78-year-old poet makes 1st purchase of legal recreational weed in Michigan .
People lined up at dispensaries in Michigan to buy recreational weed."It went swiftly. I got some weed over the counter," Sinclair told ABC News when reached by phone. "It's about time. I've been waiting for this for 50 years.

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