Published on September 3rd, 2015 | by News Feed
Tim Beck Makes Waves in Michigan and Demands Marijuana Reform
While the name Tim Beck might not mean a lot to you, in the state of Michigan it is a well-known name. Beck was the leader of a group that successfully had the laws surrounding medical marijuana changed in 2008. While his work then was very much appreciated and need, he has stated several times that the zeal of the DEA and the Bush administration was what led to the law. He has since said the law was a product of the times.
“The political climate was radically different,” Beck said Thursday. “The DEA was very aggressive going after medical marijuana patients in California. They were arresting patients. The Bush administration was very aggressive in that regard, but we needed to have a medical marijuana act.”
In 2008 the medical marijuana community was being harassed by the DEA and the organization was doing all it could to dismantle the process by which these users were getting their medication.
“That’s why we created this caregiver system where you have thousands of small-time growers all over the state,” Beck said. “It may not have been the most perfect method of distributing and providing medical marijuana to patients, but it was pretty much bullet proof in the sense that it would be impossible for the DEA to enforce federal law.”
Nearly 8 years have passed since then and a new administration has acted differently. By most accounts the Obama administration has allowed the marijuana laws to be respected and they have not used the DEA to cause panic and to wreck businesses.
It is important to point out that Beck is an avid supporter of the total legalization movement. This is the end goal according to Beck but he has decided that he will take a slower and more deliberate approach first. Paul Welday is the chairman of the MRC and he says this is a “walk before you run” scenario.
The MRC is asking all state legislators to pass a state wide referendum that would allow for a state sponsored growing, distributing, and sales center. They have also stated that if the state fails to follow through they will start a statewide petition.
“Any suggestion that there would be a monopoly or a cartel or some of these other things is really a misunderstanding of our approach,” Welday said, referencing comparisons between the MRC and a closely watched legalization effort in Ohio.
“We believe there’s room for large grows, but we certainly believe it makes sense to have smaller growers in the marketplace as well.”
Beck has been quick to point out that the new laws would not affect the current medical marijuana laws.
“Back then, if the climate was different, we would have wrote the law pretty much like what we’re proposing — where you have a solid, regulated system where it’s right out front” said Beck, a senior advisor for the MRC.
“(Patients) can go down to a regulated dispensary with quality assurance, that pays taxes and does all the normal things that any other normal business would do.”
Perhaps the major question is whether or not the state politicians have the political will to stand for such a topic. While there will always be people that stand in opposition to marijuana, there must come a time when the majority are no longer ruled by the minority.