Letter: Make medical pot safe in Michigan

I was saddened and disappointed to read The Detroit News report that Detroit police officers had raided a medical marijuana dispensary and arrested several apparent bad actors who were allegedly selling marijuana to eighth graders.

As a member of the Michigan Cannabis Development Association (MCDA), I was appalled and disgusted by these alleged actions, as were many of my colleagues, who are legitimate businessmen and businesswomen trying to provide medicine to patients with serious illnesses.

The MCDA believes that medical marijuana, which can be tremendously beneficial to legitimate patients with serious medical conditions, should be for the medical use of registered patients only.

That’s why our association is actively working to establish a comprehensive statewide regulatory system with strong safeguards and accountability measures to push out bad actors and fly-by-night operators and move this industry into the 21st Century.

The MCDA strongly believes that:

■ Michigan’s medical marijuana sector should make patient and product safety the number one priority by enforcing strong safeguards and strong accountability measures.

■ Marijuana should be for the medical use of registered patients only, through a regulatory framework that eliminates bad operators.

■ Done right and with strong safeguards, medical marijuana in Michigan can promote small business development, local job growth and generate much needed tax revenues for schools, police and fire services and roads.

Creating a strong and transparent system to regulate marijuana will help ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. To that end, we support safeguards like background checks, licensing and training. We also support inspections by law enforcement and regulators to protect Michigan residents from bad actors, and allow legitimate small businesses to thrive.

The irresponsible actions of a few individuals has all too often cast legitimate medical marijuana businesses in a bad light. It also shows the urgent need to lift medical marijuana out of the shadows and into the 21st century.

That’s why the MCDA will continue working with lawmakers, municipalities and the administration to establish a comprehensive regulatory system that will benefit all of Michigan.

Willie Rochon, Secretary,

Michigan Cannabis Development Association