Thanks to the efforts of a Massachusetts man, voters in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, Michigan, will have a chance to vote November 4 on an initiative that would allow only one outfit to distribute medical marijuana. The initiative would allow something called the National Organization for Positive Medicine to seek a court order to distribute and sell medical marijuana to qualified patients.
Medical marijuana is not currently recognized by the state of Michigan, although voters in several cities, including Detroit and Ferndale, have already voted to approve it at the municipal level. An initiative that would legalize medical marijuana statewide is on the November ballot.
The Ferndale distribution initiative is not linked to the statewide initiative, nor is it linked to local activists. According to the Detroit Free Press, the National Organization for Positive Medicine is headed by a Carl Swanson of South Boston, Massachusetts. Swanson's attorney told the Free Press Swanson was not available for comment.
"Swanson is looking ahead to when it's decriminalized statewide and he can distribute legally," Ferndale Mayor Craig Covey told the Free Press. "But it's just for him. We are just scratching our heads here."
The text of the initiative is not yet available on the City of Ferndale web site, but Covey said it allows only the National Organization for Positive Medicine to seek a court order to sell medical marijuana.
Councilman Scott Galloway told the Free Press the initiative was a publicity stunt by marijuana legalizers, but conceded that it could pass. "Like any movement, it has to start somewhere. My guess is that it passes, but has no real effect. You have to get a court order. That's never going to happen," he said.
But on the face of it, the initiative appears more likely to be an effort by an entrepreneurial spirit to position himself to profit from medical marijuana sales in the event that the statewide initiative passes. The profit motive is a powerful force, for medical marijuana distribution as for any other product that people want.