Med­i­cal pot board stiff-arms Calvin Johnson

Ex-Lions to ap­peal de­nial of ap­pli­ca­tions over ‘in­tegrity’ is­sues

The Detroit News - - Metro - BY BETH LEBLANC Detroit News Lans­ing Bureau

Lans­ing — Two for­mer Detroit Lions play­ers plan to ap­peal a de­ci­sion of the Michi­gan med­i­cal mar­i­juana li­cens­ing board af­ter the group de­nied four ap­pli­ca­tions for pre-qual­i­fi­ca­tion based on “in­tegrity” is­sues.

Calvin Johnson Jr. and Robert An­der­son Sims Jr. had ap­plied for pre­lim­i­nary ap­provals for planned Birm­ing­ham fa­cil­i­ties for grow­ing, pro­cess­ing, and sell­ing med­i­cal mar­i­juana.

Re­fer­ring to Johnson by his ini­tials, board mem­ber Don Bai­ley said the for­mer Pro Bowl wide re­ceiver had mi­nor traf­fic vi­o­la­tions from nine and four years ago for which war­rants had been is­sued. He also cited “con­cern­ing” is­sues for Sims and a po­ten­tial vi­o­la­tion of the 2008 law for an­other per­son listed on the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Bai­ley said Johnson’s re­sponse to the traf­fic ci­ta­tion is­sue was prob­lem­atic.

“When con­fronted with those is­sues, the re­sponse was that they might take steps in the fu­ture to take care of those is­sues,” he said.

Johnson and Sims main­tain the problems have been re­solved and the board was pro­vided proof of that res­o­lu­tion, said their spokesman, John Tr­us­cott, who also took is­sue with Bai­ley’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Johnson’s re­sponse.

“We don’t know where that came from but that ap­pears to be fab­ri­cated,” Tr­us­cott said, not­ing that Johnson re­solved the tick­ets in early Oc­to­ber. Sims, he said, had is­sues with prop­erty he was flip­ping in Dear­born that have since been re­solved.

The pair in­tend to ap­peal the board’s de­ci­sion, Tr­us­cott said.

“This ap­pears to be a de­ci­sion that was ar­bi­trary and not based on the facts of what was pro­vided to them,” Tr­us­cott said.

Johnson and Sims’ ap­pli­ca­tions were among dozens con­sid­ered by the board Thurs­day for li­censes in the emerg­ing mar­ket, a day af­ter Michi­gan’s new recre­ational mar­i­juana law took ef­fect.

As of Fri­day, 91 fa­cil­i­ties had been li­censed and dozens more are still op­er­at­ing while seek­ing a state li­cense. The state has agreed not to shut down those un­li­censed op­er­at­ing fa­cil­i­ties prior to Dec. 31.

The board on Fri­day also ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion that would al­low li­censed med­i­cal mar­i­juana busi­nesses to ob­tain weed from reg­is­tered pri­mary care­givers tem­po­rar­ily to sup­ple­ment the sup­ply from newly minted med­i­cal mar­i­juana grow­ers.

Un­der the adopted res­o­lu­tion, the li­cens­ing board couldn’t take dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against li­censed pro­vi­sion­ing cen­ters, grow­ers and pro­ces­sors who buy mar­i­juana from care­givers while the new prod­uct from li­censed grow­ers en­ters the reg­u­lated mar­ket through li­cens­ing.

Bai­ley op­posed the res­o­lu­tion, not­ing there are peo­ple who were in­car­cer­ated and con­victed for the same is­sue. “This goes against what’s al­lowed un­der the 2008 law,” he said.

The board’s other three mem­bers sup­ported the res­o­lu­tion, though they noted it wasn’t ideal.

“It doesn’t fix ev­ery­thing I’d like to see fixed, but it goes in the di­rec­tion of try­ing to pro­vide prod­uct to pa­tients who dearly need it,” said board Chair­man Rick Johnson.

The res­o­lu­tion ap­proved Fri­day will al­low li­censed pro­vi­sion­ing cen­ters, grow­ers and pro­ces­sors to ob­tain mar­i­juana from a care­giver if they ob­tain signed pa­tient con­sent and en­ter in­ven­tory and sales into the statewide mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem.

The res­o­lu­tion al­lows pro­vi­sion­ing cen­ters to buy from care­givers through Dec. 31 and sell that prod­uct through Jan. 31. How­ever, any prod­uct sold from Jan. 1-31 must also be tested.

Grow­ers and pro­ces­sors are able to pur­chase and sell prod­ucts from care­givers through Feb. 28, 2019, en­sur­ing a steady sup­ply for pa­tients and cre­at­ing di­ver­si­fied strains within the mar­ket. The busi­nesses would need to test the prod­ucts be­fore trans­fer­ring them again.

The board will hold one ad­di­tional meet­ing Dec. 21 in an ef­fort to li­cense as many busi­nesses as are qual­i­fied.

Daniel Mears / The Detroit News

Old traf­fic ci­ta­tions of Calvin Johnson be­came a board is­sue.

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