What a difference a change in status for marijuana makes.
Proposal 1's passage last fall brings lots of social, economic and political changes -- including a new affinity for weed among some Republicans who condemned it not ong ago.
They're not smoking or eating it, just hoping to profit now Michigan is the first Midwestern state where recreational marijuana is legal for anyone 21 and older. "Times have changed: There's money to be made now," Steve Neavling writes at Metro Times.
Some Republicans are scrambling to get in on the ground floor of Michigan's budding marijuana industry just a few years after resisting it.
Lured by the promise of big profits, Republicans are becoming lobbyists, consultants, attorneys and entrepreneurs in a new, emerging market.
In an 1,100-word roundup, the weekly's investigative reporter cites 10 examples, including "one of the most eyebrow-raising moves:"
Republican Shelly Edgerton, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, went from running the state agency that oversees and regulates the marijuana industry to a top lobbying firm working on behalf of clients in the industry.
Edgerton registered as a lobbyist and joined Dykema's prominent cannabis law team in Lansing, which pledges to help entrepreneurs and others in the pot industry with "administrative law and licensing," the key responsibilities of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, where she was the director.
These are among other Republicans mentioned:
- Mike Callton, a former representative for parts of Barry and Ionia counties is "cashing in on recreational marijuana just months after he opposed the November ballot initiative that legalized it." He's a pot-revenue consultant for local governments and businesses seeking permits to open dispensaries and grow operatrions.,
- Ex-legislator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge who served three House terms and then two in the Senate through 2018, "played a major role in advancing pro-cannabis legislation. Never mind that he led a failed effort in 2010 to ban 'marjuana clubs,' which were designed to make medical cannabis more readily available.
- Jones' chief of staff, Sandra McCormick, is executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Development Association, which advocates for businesses seeking licenses.
Metro Times can't resist presenting Neavling's comprehensive report with a bit of wordplay. "The GOP turns over a new leaf," says a headline.
-- Alan Stamm